Advocates are now calling for independent probes and forensic audits of Balch & Bingham, the goverment-made millionaires of Mississippi, whose alleged waste and inefficiency is rattling the Magnolia State.
At the end of August less than 11 percent of federal funds for rental assistance had been disbursed by the Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) which earlier this year gave a no-bid, behind closed doors, $3.8 million contract to Balch with Balch partners Chris Wadell and Lucien Smith present in the room (smoke-free).
Balch’s inefficiency is a stark contrast to a county in Mississippi which independently received money from the federal government and dispursed resources to those in need of rental assistance.
Harrison County, which includes Biloxi, is one of two in the state that received funds directly from the Treasury Department to start its own programs. The program in Harrison had distributed 89 percent of its funds by the end of August, according to Treasury data.
The county’s program is run by Open Doors Homeless Coalition, a local nonprofit that works to prevent homelessness in southern Mississippi. The group won the contract in a competitive bid process that attracted eight applications from local and out-of-state groups, said county administrator Pamela Ulrich.
“We’re real pleased with the program itself and how many people it’s assisted,” Ulrich said. “They just ran with it and they were out in the community and they knew where to go to get those people and get those applications.”
Are Balch and their staff truly qualified to be processing rental assistance at $135 an hour?
While Harrison County disbursed 89 percent, the rest of the state (including Balch’s large piece of the pie) appears to have hung on to 89 percent in their coffers.
Also known as the Pimps of Mississippi, Balch & Bingham has engaged in foreclosures, evicted tenants, and represented corporate landlords before landing this fat no-bid government contract to provide rental assistance.
The stench is so strong that we are reminded of former Balch & Bingham client Black Hall Aerospace whose ex-CEO Paul Daigle was indicted last November for
- Alleged false billing; and
- A fraud scheme using unqualified personnel.
Sound eerily familiar?