BILOXI, Miss. (AP) The head of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain says a board member employed by the state Department of Marine Resources asked the trust if it would buy land from her boss's son, if the department provided some money.
Judy Steckler tells the Sun Herald that the proposal came from Tina Shumate, who resigned early in February as director of the DMR's Coastal Management and Planning Office.
Shumate's attorney, Tim Holleman of Gulfport, says he cannot discuss her role in the land transaction because of continuing state and federal investigations of department spending under fired director Bill Walker. He did say, "This did not originate with Tina."
The land was owned by Walker's son, Scott Walker, and bought with $220,000 provided by the Department of Marine Resources.