Harrison County

How can the Walkers afford prime Biloxi Shuckers seats while owing thousands to government?

‘There will be no more Shuckers’ games in our future,’ Scott Walker says

Scott Walker explains that he and his father, former DMR head Bill Walker, will no longer hold season tickets to Biloxi Shuckers baseball games. Both Walkers owe substantial restitution for fraud against the government.
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Scott Walker explains that he and his father, former DMR head Bill Walker, will no longer hold season tickets to Biloxi Shuckers baseball games. Both Walkers owe substantial restitution for fraud against the government.

Scott Walker wanted to do something special for his father and ex-Department of Marine Resources Director William “Bill” Walker after he returned home from prison, so he paid $5,200 for four season tickets to the Biloxi Shuckers’ baseball games.

“Well, I meet my restitution every month, so I was able to do that as a Christmas gift,” Scott Walker said Tuesday. “You know, I believe it is very good to support our local minor-league baseball team. I wish the seats were full for every game.”

But he said he probably won’t renew the tickets now that people have started asking who’s footing the bill for the four prime seats behind the batter’s box at MGM Park in Biloxi.

Both father and son are convicted felons who owe restitution and fines to the government, and outraged residents have contacted the Sun Herald asking how they can afford to pay top dollar for season tickets.

Last week, the Sun Herald reported how federal prosecutors had obtained a warrant to arrest Bill Walker in mid-August because he had not been paying the $5,000-a-month restitution he was ordered to pay.

Terms of release

In 2014, a judge sentenced Bill Walker to five years for his role in a conspiracy to defraud the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by using government money to buy a lot that his son, Scott Walker, owned.

Scott Walker also pleaded guilty in that case as well as another involving former D’Iberville City Manager Michael Janus. Both Scott Walker and Janus were released from prison in 2017.

Bill Walker returned to his home in Ocean Springs after he was released from prison and placed on post-release supervision in November 2017.

He is now allowed to leave his home, but the conditions of his release require him to make the monthly payments. He is not allowed to travel out of state, carry a firearm or use drugs or consume alcohol.

Federal authorities now want a judge to send him back to prison because he has not been paying the $5,000 a month he was ordered to pay beginning 30 days after his release.

A revocation hearing is set Wednesday in U.S. District Court, after the judge on Tuesday denied a delay requested by Walker’s attorney.

Bill Walker plans to ask the judge to reduce his monthly payments to $2,500.

‘Cut in half what we owe’

Scott Walker said he hopes a federal judge will take into account how he and his father combined have paid about $200,000 in restitution and fines since their prison release.

Scott Walker said he was able to make bulk payments for fines and restitution in both of his cases, including the one involving his father, after the sale of his home on East Beach in Ocean Springs. From that sale, he said, he was able to make a $70,000 payment on he and his father’s behalf.

“We have been able to cut in half what we owe in the short time we have been out,” Scott Walker said, “and we are continuing to make payments every month.”

In August and September, he said, his father was able to up his monthly payments to $1,800.

He said the family is hoping the judge will allow his mother and father to refinance the Ocean Springs home they have lived in for 40 years, which would save his parents about $700 in monthly expenses, thus paving the way for his father to pay more of what he owes each month.

‘Dad is a simple man’

Scott Walker said those who complain about anything his father does, including going to a ball game, don’t really know him.

“Dad is a simple man,” he said. “He doesn’t live a luxurious life at all. He takes care of my mom and he takes care of my three sons in the afternoons. Well he and mom together, primarily.”

Scott Walker said his mother, Sharon Walker, suffered a massive heart attack earlier this year and Bill is now her sole caretaker. If he were to be sent back to prison, “my mom wouldn’t be able to live alone,” Scott said.

“He doesn’t really leave Ocean Springs except to go to those Shuckers games,” he said. “I just know how much he loves baseball games.”

Howie Morgan, who went to college at Ole Miss with Scott Walker, said he enjoyed seeing Scott Walker and his entire family at the games.

“Not gonna lie,” Morgan said, “I am jealous he has the best seats in the house.”

Margaret Baker 228-896-0538, margar45

The Sun Herald uncovered questionable spending practices at DMR as state and federal authorities investigated agency practices under former director Bill Walker.

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