Former D'Iberville City Manager, Michael Janus, spoke to News 25’s media partners at the Sun Herald before Monday's sentencing. Janus received 21 months in federal prison for his role in the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources (M.D.M.R.) corruption scandal.
Janus pled guilty in February, admitting that while serving as D'Iberville's City Manager, he fraudulently accepted a $180,000 "finder’s fee" in connection with a $3 million grant from the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (M.D.E.Q.), money that was intended to fund a community aquarium called Ocean Expo. Now, Janus is ready to speak out and met with the Sun Herald to share his perspective of the story.
Janus says, "Now that the federal aspect is over with, I can and I am free to talk more freely about it and to expose some of the wrongs that have occurred in this incident." Janus was not shy when it came to how much this high profile case has cost him financially and personally. He says, "This could end up costing me close to a million dollars, let alone my reputation and my character. This is a community I still want to continue to live in, raise a family, and so it’s been extremely difficult."
Janus also says, "Yes, I am guilty. I plead guilty, but I’m guilty in the sense that if some folks would have been truthful, I don’t think it would've come to this." According to Janus, D'Iberville was a wonderful place to work and credits himself for its expansion. He says, "I enjoyed public service, and I used to tell people that the best job I ever had was the City of D'Iberville. You know, a lot of the things that you see happening here are things I was able to work on or bring about."
Janus says he's considering taking legal action against the city for not honoring his contract, stating they still owe him seven weeks’ worth of pay. Janus closes, "They should've honestly stood there and stood by me, because anything and everything I did was under the advice council with the city attorney or under the purview of the Mayor and the council." Janus believes the Ocean Expo project will never see the light of day, but that a Bass Pro Shop could still be in the works.