Shumate has declined previous requests to speak with the Sun Herald, referring calls to her attorney, Tim Holleman of Gulfport. Holleman is representing her during ongoing state and federal investigations of DMR spending under Bill Walker, whom the agency’s governing board fired in January.
Because of the investigations, Holleman said he could not discuss Shumate’s role in the land transaction, other than to say, “This did not originate with Tina.”
Shumate first talked to Steckler about the Walker property in mid-March or early April 2011, Steckler said. The Land Trust bought the property in July 2011.
“I cannot think of another transaction that’s gone that fast,” Allen said. “It’s not unusual for transactions to take a year. It might take a few months, but I can’t think of another one that went through this quickly.”
Timing of purchase
The land deal closed 12 days before Scott Walker’s final, lump-sum payment was due on a loan at Merchants & Marine Bank, Jackson County land records show.
Walker had used the property in July 2008 as collateral on a $310,590 loan, which called for monthly payments of $2,775. The balance and all interest payments were due July 25, 2011, although the terms did allow for loan extension or modification.
The Sun Herald first reported in November that the Land Trust bought Scott Walker’s property.