Former State Senator and D'Iberville City Manager, Michael Janus, will soon be heading to prison to serve a 21 month sentence after pleading guilty to charges of defrauding the government. Janus has been making headlines for the last 16 months with his involvement in a federal case against him and the former executives of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.
Now that Janus knows his fate, he decided to sit down with News 25 to talk about the case and what will happen next. Janus has about 45 days before he will start his federal prison sentence in either a Pensacola or Montgomery penitentiary. Janus says he accepts his fate, but plans to take D'Iberville to court over the termination of his employment contract, and hopes it goes to trial so the real truth can come out. Janus says, "I think that the citizens of the Gulf Coast and certainly of D'Iberville deserve to know the whole truth, not just represented by one media outlet or another or one individual or one entity or what not. I'm all for getting the truth out there."
According to Janus the D'Iberville city officials knew about the $180,000 dollar "finder’s fee" with Scott Walker's company, Maxwell Walker, and that they agreed to the terms. However, when the federal government started investigating Walker, Janus says they looked the other way and he had no evidence to protect himself. Janus also says, "So if I had any advice to my predecessor, Mr. Bobby, you better start taking minutes and getting some documentation when you have those executive sessions."
In hindsight, Janus wishes he would've done more to check the legality of Walker's actions with the $90,000 of the $180,000 that ended up in an account Walker and Janus shared. Janus says, "The local attorney said if you do it as a loan from Maxwell Walker over to Jawa. He drafted up a predicory note. Scott paid him and I felt at that point that everything was okay." Clearly it was that move that landed Janus in hot water and fueled the federal case against Bill and Scott Walker. Janus says the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (M.D.E.Q.) is next on the federal chopping block for mishandling government funds.
He says, "They do not have the particular audits and control, and our particular grant, that one I ultimately got in trouble over. I mean, as I mentioned to you, they pretty much gave us the money and asked me to fill in the blanks and say what we're gonna’ spend it on. Really, that’s backwards. It should be entities submitting applications and requesting money and be held firm.”
As Janus prepares for prison, he says he's in good spirits and will rely on his wife's strength and faith in God. News 25 contacted D'Iberville Mayor, Rusty Quave, and current City Manager, Bobby Eleuterius, about this story and Janus' plans to sue the city. Eleuterius did not want to comment because of possible litigation, and Quave only said they will face Janus in court if it comes to that.