Former MEMA head’s claim he was unaware questioned

Questions surround Robert Latham’s claims he knew little as state emergency management director about problems with a program to fortify Coast homes that could leave taxpayers on the hook for $30 million.

Those questions threaten to tarnish the legacy of the man who saw the state through Hurricane Katrina and its initial recovery.

Lee Smithson, the new director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency director, said he “absolutely” questions Latham’s claim that he didn’t know of major problems with the Coastal Retrofit Program.

“Robert Latham is my friend and he was a mentor to me, but I’ve just got to question that,” Smithson said. “I don’t believe there is any way the executive director was clueless that all that was going on.”

Clarion Ledger