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Walkers still owe close to $1 million in DMR scandal

Bill Walker, center, leaves U.S. District Court in Gulfport in 2013 with wife Sharon, attorney Bill Kirksey, left, and daughter-in-law Trinity Walker, right.
Bill Walker, center, leaves U.S. District Court in Gulfport in 2013 with wife Sharon, attorney Bill Kirksey, left, and daughter-in-law Trinity Walker, right. amccoy@sunherald.com

Almost two years after the former chief of the Department of Marine Resources and several others pleaded guilty, little of the money they obtained from the agency through fraud has been repaid.

According to state Auditor Stacey Pickering’s annual report, $2,475 of the more than $900,000 former DMR Executive Director Bill Walker was ordered to repay has been repaid. Although Walker doesn’t have to start repayment until he leaves federal prison, he has paid $225, according to Pickering.

His son, Scott Walker, who was ordered to repay part of the $572,689 owed in federal restitution, has paid $2,250. He was released from federal custody in March.

Bill Walker also was ordered to repay another $362,689 to the state. He is in federal prison in Texas with a scheduled release date of Nov. 26, 2017.

The father and son conspired to spend $210,000 in federal money on a lot Scott Walker owned in the Gulf Hills subdivision north of Ocean Springs. Bill Walker also funneled $262,689 from the DMR to a private foundation he controlled. The new DMR administration has since determined the lot is of no use to the department.

Walker’s chief of staff, Joe Ziegler, in the past fiscal year paid $12,000 of the $258,268 he was ordered to repay to the state. He owes $240,281. Ziegler also was sentenced to house arrest and probation.

The report said the Auditor’s Office recovered $1,934,798 in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

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