- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - The Laura C, a 51-foot aluminum vessel intended for former Mississippi Department of Marine Resources Executive Director Bill Walker’s private foundation, will be auctioned June 20.

Competition Marine Inc. of Gulfport was never paid for the work it did on the boat - an estimated $100,000. It will sell the boat to recover some of the money.

The auction is 10 a.m. on June 20 at Competition Marine in Gulfport.

Richard C. Smith, an attorney for Competition, told the Sun Herald (https://bit.ly/SFPxKh ) that David and Melba Harris’ Ocean Springs charity, YADA, is technically the owner of the boat. They agreed to sell it to satisfy the unpaid work by Competition.

“We won’t come anywhere close to paying off what Competition has done,” Smith said.

The boat is partially dismantled and work is 40 percent complete. It includes an “extensive package of new electronics” planned for it that had been stored in a warehouse, according to a notice for the auction.

Smith said Competition ordered the electronics believing the state Department of Marine Resources had ordered them for the boat. The state agency has disclaimed any interest in the vessel and Competition dropped a lawsuit against it.

Walker was fired from the MDMR early last year and, after a federal investigation, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government and agreed to repay several hundred thousand funneled from the DMR to his foundation. He is awaiting sentencing.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

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