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BILOXI, Miss.: DMR leases boats from director’s foundation | State | The Sun …

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

BILOXI, Miss.: DMR leases boats from director’s foundation | State | The Sun …
News from SunHerald.com:

— The Mississippi Department of Marine Resources has spent more than $ 1.4 million in public money on two recreational fishing boats leased from a foundation managed by the agency’s director.

The Sun Herald reports ( http://bit.ly/VspAbr) that the Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation supplies DMR with a 36-foot Topaz open fisherman and a 42-foot Californian convertible. Paid for with public money, the DMR leases, upgrades, repairs, maintains and stores the boats, which are valued at $ 350,000 and $ 284,000 for insurance purposes.

The newspaper reports that Bill Walker, the head of DMR, manages the foundation.

The revelation comes at a time when DMR is facing state and federal audits. The agency’s use of public money to buy and conserve coastal property also is under scrutiny.

Walker told the Sun Herald that DMR leased the boats for the Artificial Reef Program to take people out and educate them about marine resources.

Walker said the foundation gets money from private donations.

“No state money goes to the foundation other than reimbursements for insurance on the vessels and whatever they spend on maintenance and repairs, and all of that is covered under a lease agreement between the department and the foundation,” he said.

When asked if the two boats are necessary, Walker said…………… continues on SunHerald.com

… Read the full article

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