DMR accepts high bids for fishing boats

SUN HERALDJuly 19, 2013 

BILOXI -- The state Department of Marine Resources said Friday in a news release it has accepted the high bids for two recreational fishing boats.

The highest bid on the 42-foot Californian was $87,500 by Michael P. O'Dwyer of Pass Christian. Anthony Fournier of D'Iberville offered the high bid of $38,614.05 for the 36-foot Topaz.

The DMR received 26 bids, which a committee reviewed.

The state Department of Finance and Administration has been asked to confirm the bid process and awards.

The DMR leased the boats from the Mississippi Marine Resources Foundation, which was set up by former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker. The DMR's governing board fired Walker for cause in January, after federal and state investigations began into the agency's management under his direction.

The foundation had obtained the boats from the Mississippi Gulf Coast YMCA and leased them to the DMR, which spent more than $1.46 million on electronics and other upgrades, maintenance and insurance. Ownership of the boats was transferred to the DMR in June.

"We will recover over $150,000 of taxpayer dollars by selling the two vessels and retaining the electronics for agency vessels actually used for marine research and law enforcement," DMR Executive Director Jamie Miller said in a news release. "It is time to move forward and stop spending time and resources maintaining these vessels."

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