2013 has been a prosperous year for some, and bad news for others. Four term Sheriff, Mike Byrd, resigned from his post as Jackson County's top law enforcement officer in December after pleading guilty to one state and federal charge. Back in August, Byrd was indicted on 31 state criminal charges that accused the former sheriff of abusing his office for personal gain, retaliating against people he perceived as enemies, and concealing a shooting in the narcotics division.
The former Director of the Department of Marine Resources, along with other top ranking employees, was indicted on federal fraud charges. Bill Walker is accused of using his position at the bureau to use federal money for his own personal gain and to benefit his son, Scott Walker. D.M.R. employees, Joe Ziegler and Tina Shumate, were also indicted on charges connected to the case. Former D'Iberville City Manager, Michael Janus, and Scott Walker faced separate charges over a 180 thousand dollar consulting fee awarded to Walker by the city. Also, after a nearly yearlong legal battle, 60 boxes of D.M.R. records were turned over to Harrison County Judge, Jennifer Schloegel, and the Sun Herald for review.
America's favorite past time is expected to take root in Biloxi soon. The Biloxi City Council approved a 36 million dollar stadium to be built just north of the Beau Rivage Casino. The stadium is slated to be home to a minor league baseball team. Some locals have voiced their objections to the project because of the live oak trees on the site.
It has also been a big year for coast casinos. Casinos across south Mississippi are betting on themselves, bank rolling major projects like the hotel expansion at Biloxi's Hard Rock Casino, and Margaritaville has something else to sing about. The Back Bay Casino just announced plans to build a new hotel. These likely won't be the only games in town in 2014. The green light has been given to build a new casino in D'Iberville, as well as an additional casino in downtown Gulfport. As we close out 2013, we look forward to being there for you in 2014.