Bids range from about $1,000 to $87,500 for DMR boats for sale in Biloxi

Offers range from just over $1,000 to $87,500

jphampton@sunherald.comJuly 16, 2013 

BILOXI -- When William Moseley of Moss Point bid $1,015 each for the California and Topaz, he was just hoping for a little luck.

"I kept hearing on the radio they weren't getting any bids, so I thought, 'Hey, I might get lucky,'" he said.

He didn't.

The highest bids on the boats were considerably more -- $87,500 for the Californian and $38,614.05 for the Topaz. It remains to be seen if the Department of Marine Resources will accept any of the bids. The agency, which received the boats from former Executive Director Bill Walker's Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation, has considerably more tied up in them -- at least $1.4 million, including some electronics gear that has been removed for use on other boats.

The high bidder on the Topaz, Anthony Fournier of D'Iberville, seemed surprised.

"Never thought I'd get it at that price," he said. "I've got three in my yard. I guess me and my sons could start a harbor."

Fournier, who said he's 73 but feels 45, said his main problem is there aren't nine days in a week and 27 hours in a day.

There were 15 bids for the 36-foot Topaz, and 11 for the 42-foot Californian.

"I'm probably going to keep it for myself," said Michael O'Dwyer of Pass Christian, the high bidder on the Californian. "After seeing what the DMR spent on it, and I've been looking for a boat, I figured it would be a long-term boat."

The bids were opened Tuesday at the Commission on Marine Resources meeting at the Bolton Building in Biloxi. The commission formed a committee to review the bids but it hasn't decided whether to sell the boats.

Walker was fired in January in the midst of an investigation into millions of dollars of DMR spending, including the money spent on the boats.

Walker has said repeatedly he did nothing wrong.

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