Mayor & Developer Buy Plane at Same Time Developer Begs Millions from City

Back when Scott Walker suffered severe back injuries in a plane crash, the Mississippi Press called up one of the plane’s other owners for a status report. That other owner was late Pascagoula mayor Robbie Maxwell.  Maxwell told the paper that he and Walker owned the plane along with attorney Roy Williams and that they had only bought the plane two weeks prior to the accident.

That accident occurred on March 19, 2011. Let’s take a look at the timeline:

  • March 1, 2011 – Plane is purchased by Maxwell, Walker, Williams (on or about)
  • March 15, 2011 – Pascagoula city council agrees to apply for $3.3 million in grants for Hilton site; also agrees to hire bond consultant to review issuing $1.36 million in TIF bonds for Hilton site
  • March 19, 2011 – Plane crash
  • March 23, 2011 – Demolition of LaFont Inn begins

So at the same time Williams and his son have their hands out for $4.6 million from the city of Pascagoula, they just happen to buy a plane together with the mayor, and the mayor’s consulting partner.  Very coincidental timing.

There is an interesting facet of that plane’s registration: it was listed as an individual owner, not as having co-owners. Though, this could have been a hiccup in the processing. The plane was registered to Maxwell-Walker Consulting Group’s office in Pascagoula.

FAA registration information.

3 thoughts on “Mayor & Developer Buy Plane at Same Time Developer Begs Millions from City”

  1. The dates tell a lot I think. Maxwell was mayor when the city of Pascagoula applied for the CDBG funds that were used to begin the development of the old La Font site by the Roy Williams and others.I would wager he pushed that grant right to the top of the list.What exactly was the $3.3million in grants used for? I feel certain this must have been a requirement and is in writing somewhere.What is the source of the other loans? What does NMTC stand for? Who originated the SSC Pascagoula bridge loan? Who in the hell buys a 40+ year old plane? This reminds me of Bill Walker spending all of that money on 30+ year old boats using DMR money. So maybe that is why they bought the plane because they were using money from some source like the CDBG funds. Even better I wonder if the plane may have been donated to one of the various nonprofits and worked into the joint ownership of Walker,Maxwell and Williams? Can the service records be accessed to see if the plane was retrofitted either right before or right after the so called “purchase”. SRHS Watch,you are right to think something is suspicious in the timeline of the plane purchase. Please keep up the investigation

    1. The $3.4 million was the original application for the city – it was eventually lowered to $2.5 million. The city then bid out the infrastructure for the project, roads, drainage, moving utilities, and they even built a fountain. The developers promised to create 77 full-time equivalent jobs. Supposedly there are claw-back provisions and they are personally guaranteed. Hopefully will have some time to look over those documents this weekend. SSC is Stonehill Strategic Capital, a hospitality lender based in Atlanta.

      NMTC is New Markets Tax Credit – these loans were originated by Whitney Bank in conjunction with their Community Development Entity. (Whitney New Markets CDE 15, LLC)

      Not an area of expertise, but 40 year old airframes are not uncommon. It’s the hours on the engine you have to worry about. Sounds like the proper inspections and maintenance precautions weren’t being followed as evidenced by two catastrophic engine failures within six months with the same ownership group. Since the plane crashed just weeks after purchase, it sounds as if the due diligence was lacking. It seems implausible that a pre-purchase inspection and review of the logs wouldn’t reveal some deficiency pointing to potential engine problems.

      As for CDBG money being used to overhaul engines or avionics: doubtful. The purchase of the plane was contemporaneous with the application for the CDBG funds. The plane crashed before the application ever got off the ground. That plane was a total loss. Someone who knows more about general aviation can weigh in and provide much better insight than this.

      Maxwell appears to have recused himself from the March 2011 discussion of CDBG application and TIF bonds. He did participate in later votes on TIF bonds.

  2. And not a penny in TIF funds should be given to this group for this project by the city without a satisfactory full accounting has been completed and made public.For one they have not met the job/employment numbers agreed to so why change this requirement? Obviously Morris Strickland has been proven to be a liar in many matters pertaining to the hospital system and his involvement with others. I would not doubt the foreign investors in the Hilton Garden Inn have already been relieved of there money because of negative equity and next up will be the various lenders. I would also bet these men are not personally liable for any of the money involved and have no money out of pocket invested.That is the way these type of deals are structured to work.The original group probably was paid very handsomely for the old La Font and this may be were a lot of the extra money was spent.

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