Robertson County News endorses Booger County Mafia

I owe Robertson County News publisher Dennis Phillips a debt of gratitude. I wanted to blog about the upcoming elections in Hearne, but Dennis lit a fire under me yesterday, forcing me to hurry up and git ‘er done. So grab some Lysol, gather the wife and kids around the iPhone, and get ready for another excursion into small-town corruption and cronyism.

In this week’s edition of the News, Dennis endorsed Mayor Ruben “The Godfather” Gomez and Councilman Emmett “Mankiller” Aguirre for re-election, as well as challenger (and former Councilwoman) LaShunda White, a.k.a. “LaShunda Sellout.” In other words, Dennis endorsed the Booger County Mafia candidates.

Normally you would expect a journalist (or someone purporting to be one) to oppose corrupt politicians, and normally you would be right, but then Booger County isn’t exactly normal. For that matter, neither is Dennis.

Back in 2015, I reported that Dennis and his employer accepted $30,000 (or 30 pieces of silver, if your prefer) from city officials for the alleged purpose of remodeling the headquarters of the newspaper.  Ever since then, Dennis and the News have been dutifully supportive of the corrupt ruling class, i.e., the Booger County Mafia, and harshly critical of the reformers on the city council. Where I grew up, we would call that a payoff. In Booger County, it’s called business as usual.

According to Dennis, the Mafia candidates are the best choice for economic development and “progress” in Hearne. I suppose that’s true if you define “economic development” as giving taxpayer money to Dennis and his employer.

Seriously, what self-respecting editorialist would endorse Ruben Gomez for mayor? Gomez’s name is synonymous with corruption, and for good reason. Just Google “LawFlog” and “Gomez” and read for yourself.  On September 9, 2015, for example, I reported that the mayor’s sister, Sylvia Montelongo, had written nearly fifty thousand dollars worth of hot checks to the city for utilities, but her electricity had never been turned off. … Read more

CopSync CEO fired after revelation of possible bribery

CopSync CEO Ronald A. Woessner was fired last weekend, according to a March 28, 2017 press release, and I’m wondering if it had anything to do with my earlier posts about an alleged private stock sale to officials in Robertson County, Texas.

As I reported on January 6, 2017, a law enforcement source told me that Dallas-based CopSync made the private stock offering to county officials shortly before they voted on a contract with the company, which specializes in data sharing among law enforcement agencies. In response to a letter from me, Mr. Woessner did not expressly confirm the Robertson County incident, but he seemed to confirm the general practice of making private stock sales to government decision makers.

On January 30, 2017, I reported that CopSync’s outside directors hired a Florida law firm to investigate the allegations in my letter, and the following day I reported that my law enforcement source had been interviewed by the FBI. I’ve since asked CopSync officials for information about the internal investigation, but I never received a response. … Read more

An update on Hillary Clinton and her lawyers

This morning the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and the Office of Bar Counsel were served with copies of a lawsuit that could compel them to investigate three attorneys who represented Hillary Clinton during the investigation of her private email system.

In September, I filed grievances against attorneys David Kendall, Cheryl Mills, and Heather Samuelson (as well as Mrs. Clinton herself) based on public reports suggesting that they had destroyed evidence related to the email investigation.  Within six weeks (and as I predicted), the complaints were either being stonewalled or had already been dismissed.

In my October 19, 2016 post, I explained why Maryland law obligated the grievance commission and the bar counsel to investigate my complaints, but my arguments to bar prosecutors were ignored. This was not particularly surprising, because nowadays it usually requires a lawsuit to get bar prosecutors and attorney grievance commissions to follow the law.

The lawsuit served today asks the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to order the commission and bar prosecutors to investigate Mr. Kendall, Ms. Mills, and Ms. Samuelson, and lawyers for the commission and prosecutors have 30 days to respond in writing.  I’m anxious to see how they will try to defend the indefensible. … Read more

Auctioneer files suit over botched raid on car sale

Imagine you’re a contractor who shows up at a job site and on your first day of work you get arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime just because some dirty cops wanted to retaliate against the people who own the business. That’s pretty much what happened to Israel Curtis.

Since 2015, I’ve blogged about how officers of the Montgomery County Auto Theft Task Force botched a televised raid on an automobile auction in Anderson, Texas.  Mr. Curtis, a professional auctioneer, was hired to conduct the auction, and today he filed a federal lawsuit against Grimes County Sheriff Donald Sowell, Grimes County DA Tuck McLain, and former Montgomery County Sheriff Tommy Gage, among others.

As I reported back in October, all criminal charges were dismissed against Mr. Curtis. According to Mr. Curtis, Lt. Sclider admitted that Mr. Curtis got “caught up” in the arrests because they needed at least three people to bring organized crime charges against business partners Les Shipman and Jerry Williams, but even the felony charges against Mr. Shipman and Mr. Williams were reduced to a single Class C misdemeanor each, i.e., the equivalent of a traffic ticket.

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Former Dallas DA sued for burglarizing home of oil heir

Shortly before midnight last night, I filed a federal lawsuit against former Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins for sending an assistant DA and four armed investigators to burglarize the home of my client, Albert G. Hill, III, in 2013. According to the lawsuit, Mr. Watkins was worried about a March 7, 2013 state court hearing where Mr. Hill’s attorneys planned to question Mr. Watkins about prosecutorial misconduct, so he sent his goons into Mr. Hill’s home to try to find dirt / leverage before that hearing.

It didn’t work. As most people in Dallas already know, the March 7, 2013 hearing went very badly for Mr. Watkins, and Judge Lena Levario dismissed all criminal charges against Mr. Hill after hearing evidence of retaliation, bribery, and widespread corruption in Mr. Watkins’s office.  In September, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a blistering opinion that outlined the efforts of Mr. Watkins and his staff to frame Mr. Hill and his wife, Erin, on the trumped-up charges of mortgage fraud.

Unfortunately, the burglary and the trumped-up criminal charges were only a small part of a scorched-earth campaign against Mr. Hill by members of his own family, particularly his father, Albert G. Hill, Jr. (a.k.a. “Junior”). My client is the first-born great-grandson of H.L. Hunt, Jr., the founder of Hunt Petroleum, and his family is one of the wealthiest in America.  In 2009, at the age of 39, Mr. Hill learned that his great-grandfather bequeathed most of his assets to Mr. Hill in a trust that he created shortly after Mr. Hill was born in 1970.

The lawsuit explains that Mr. Hill’s father and other relatives hid the trust from Mr. Hill and acted like it never existed, instead parceling up H.L. Hunt, Jr.’s assets among themselves.  When Mr. Hill started questioning other family trusts in 2007, the family panicked and declared war.  According to the lawsuit, family members and their allies ultimately bribed Mr. Watkins to bring the bogus criminal charges against Mr. Hill, hoping to shut down the civil litigation.

Now if that sounds like a tall tale, just consider the fact that the FBI caught Mr. Watkins’s chief investigator, Anthony L. Robinson, accepting a $200,000 bribe in an unrelated case, and Robinson pleaded guilty in June.  Robinson cooperated with the FBI, and my sources tell me that Robinson wore a wire and recorded Mr. Watkins discussing bribes. I do not yet know whether Robinson participated in the burglary of the Hill’s home, but I do know that four of the five alleged burglars worked for Robinson. … Read more

FBI questions witness about sale of CopSync stock to Robertson County officials, and Hearne audit to be released this evening

Yesterday one of my sources informed me that an FBI agent interviewed him on January 19, 2017 about allegations that CopSync, Inc. offered an insider stock deal to Robertson County commissioners shortly before those commissioners voted on a contract with the company. My source, a local law enforcement officer who previously worked in Robertson County, is the same person who brought the CopSync transaction to my attention.

I emailed CopSync officials yesterday evening to ask whether they were aware of an FBI investigation, but thus far no one from the company has responded. As I reported yesterday, the non-employee directors of CopSync hired an outside law firm to investigate the same transaction.

In other Booger County news, a forensic audit of the City of Hearne’s finances is scheduled to be released at a city council meeting this evening.  Hearne citizens originally circulated an initiative petition to force an audit of city finances after learning that city officials used taxpayer funds to purchase football tickets and flat-screen televisions.

The Booger County Mafia representatives on the city council, including Mayor Ruben Gomez and Councilman Emmett Aguirre, voted to sue their own constituents in order to keep the referendum off the ballot, and then-City Attorney Bryan F. “Rusty” Russ, Jr. even hid some of the petition signatures in an effort to keep it off the ballot.  Fortunately, the voters tossed some of the Mafia representatives from the council last May, and the new council members approved the audit.

Last April, I filed suit against Mr. Russ on behalf of former mayor Milton Johnson for tampering with the petition signatures. On January 10, 2017, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman denied Mr. Russ’s motion to dismiss the case, and I am planning to take Mr. Russ’s deposition in late February. I wonder how many times he will plead the Fifth.

Special counsel investigating alleged stock deal with Robertson County officials

Earlier this month, I reported allegations that CopSync, Inc. offered an insider stock deal to Robertson County officials shortly before commissioners voted on doing business with the company, and this afternoon I learned that the Dallas-based company hired a Florida law firm to investigate those allegations.

Michael D. Harris, a former lawyer for the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, wrote in an email this afternoon that his firm would be investigating on behalf of the non-employee directors of the company. Mr. Harris wrote that his investigation likely would be completed late next week “unless we find other areas of inquiry.” CopSync has contracts with hundreds of local law enforcement agencies around the U.S., and as I noted in my earlier post, a December 23, 2016 letter from the CopSync CEO infers that the private offerings may have been common practice.

After my last post, Robertson County Judge Charles Ellis indicated that he was unaware of a private stock offering, but other county officials have remained silent (DA Coty Siegert previously indicated that he was unaware of the private stock sale). Meanwhile, one of the non-employee directors of CopSync, Joel Hochberg, resigned from the board on January 16, 2016, i.e., ten days after my blog post about the suspicious stock offerings to government officials.

Mr. Hochberg was a business partner with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and both men are major investors in CopSync. Their relationship appears to have soured, however, because Mr. Hochberg is one of the two victims in the criminal fraud case pending against Mr. Paxton in Collin County.

The CopSync board appointed Larry Schafran to fill the vacancy created by Mr. Hochberg’s resignation, according to a January 20, 2017 report that the company filed with the SEC. The report noted that Mr. Schafran, a New York investor, was also being appointed to the company’s audit committee. Mr. Schafran has served on numerous boards and appears to have a lot of investing experience, so I have to wonder if Mr. Hochberg resigned in order to bring Mr. Schafran on board and protect his investment.


Were Robertson County Commissioners bribed by a company with ties to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton?

It looks like two of my story lines have crossed. According to one of my law enforcement sources, county commissioners in Robertson County, Texas (a.k.a. “Booger County”) were allowed to purchase stock in CopSync, Inc. at a private sale shortly before they voted on a contract with the company. And one of the major investors in that company is none other than Texas Attorney General Kenneth “Righteous Ken” Paxton.

Righteous Ken, meet the Booger County Mafia.

On its website, CopSync claims that it contracts with more than 500 local law enforcement agencies to help them integrate information among themselves and outside agencies. A letter that I received from the company suggests that private stock offerings to government decision makers may have been a common practice. If so, a lot of people could be in a lot of trouble.

Here’s the original email that I received from my source, a former law enforcement officer in Robertson County:

I’m not sure if you heard this before but I was told today by an elected official (buddy) that there were several elected officials in the basement of the Robertson County Courthouse for a meeting just prior to Robertson County purchasing the Copsync equipment. The meeting included all Commissioners, Constables, and the Treasurer and her husband (maybe more elected but I didn’t pry). All were offered stock in the company in which all did purchase (including Constable Angele and his mother in law (she was not present)). I was told Jan Roe had her own private meeting later to purchase at a different time in private. The stock was offered for $.10 a share. (my source stated it was worth more at the time). I’m not familiar with the stock market or any rules however it sounds pretty fishy to me?

Let me know if this helps or if I need to dig further for information.

For the record, my source did purchase stock that day and is a Constable.Read more

While Dallas cops were being murdered in the streets, state liquor agents were told to stand down and go home

According to heavily redacted text messages, a regional commander ordered state liquor agents to stand down and go home on July 7, 2016 while five Dallas cops were being murdered on the streets.

A little more than an hour after learning that Micah Xavier Johnson was randomly targeting white police officers at a Black Lives Matter protest, and while Johnson was still at large, Major Victor Kuykendoll of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage ordered his agents to avoid the area of the shootings and go home.

The following day, after Johnson was killed by a Dallas PD tactical robot, TABC brass nonetheless canceled operations and ordered agents to stay in their offices and avoid areas where “anti-police” activities might be going on. You can read all the text messages by clicking here.

Nearly two weeks after the shootings, on July 20, 2016, the major sent a long CYA email to various agents defending the stand-down order. Here’s an excerpt:

…I did not convey this out to everyone at the time, but we did reach out to Dallas Police Chief Brown following the attack on his officers to offer our assistance with whatever he or his officers needed and offered our condolences for the officers injured and killed along with their families and co-workers. I understand that times were very busy for him and his staff and we did not receive a response to our offer. Had we been requested, I would have expected each of you to perform whatever task(s) that they needed with the pride and professionalism you show every day. In the future, I would rather us send a delegate, preferably a supervisor, to whatever command post exists at the time and offer our assistance in person with the folks that are coordinating these efforts on the ground.

It sounds to me as if nobody from TABC offered to help until Johnson was dead and the bullets had stopped flying. And what’s this about “Had we been requested…”? As an ex-cop, I find it hard to fathom that any cop would think that he needed to wait for a request for help. No instinct or duty should be more fundamental to a cop than protecting the innocent, even when it puts the cop’s life in danger. So when a heavily-armed murderer is roaming the streets and a massive manhunt is under way, you don’t wait for someone to ask you to intervene, you just do it. … Read more

Hearne City Attorney resigns abruptly. Good riddance.

Hearne City Attorney George Hyde and his assistant, Sarah Griffin, abruptly resigned this afternoon just hours after I sent them an email asking inconvenient questions about a recall petition for my client, Councilman Rodrick Jackson.

george-hydeMr. Hyde also serves as the managing partner for Denton Navarro Rocha Bernal Hyde & Zech, P.C., a law firm headquartered in Austin, and in his resignation letter he suggested that his firm was withdrawing because of all the discord and dysfunction in the city. What he failed to mention was his firm’s outsized role in creating the discord and dysfunction.

For months, Mr. Jackson and my other clients, Councilwomen Shirley Harris and Martha Castilleja, have accused Mr. Hyde and Ms. Griffin of representing the interests of the Booger County Mafia, particularly Interim City Manager John “Boy Wonder” Naron, over the interests of the city council.  In my November 2, 2016 blog post, I suggested that Mr. Hyde and his firm may have formed an unholy alliance with Boy Wonder wherein the firm received outrageous fees in exchange for representing the interests of Boy Wonder against the council. Consider this excerpt:

In a two-month period, the city’s new law firm billed more than $29,000.00 in legal fees.  That’s far more than the outrageous fees that Rusty Russ charged when he was city attorney. The city council was not provided an itemized bill for the charges, so Mr. Jackson, Ms. Harris, and Ms. Castilleja tried to block the expenditure until details were provided.  According to Mr. Jackson, however, Asst. City Attorney Sarah Griffin informed them that the bill had already been paid by Mr. Naron, and she said the city charter gave him the authority to make the payment without council approval.

If Ms. Griffin’s firm was deeply involved in major litigation on behalf of the city, I might be able to understand a $29,000.00 bill.  But Mr. Jackson said he is not aware of the firm’s involvement in any civil litigation.  So what were the charges for? I suspect Boy Wonder has been running up legal bills for his own projects.

In the November 2 post, I included a link to a November 1, 2016 letter that I sent to Mr. Hyde and Ms. Griffin regarding their suspicious behavior, and you can read that letter by clicking here.  On the following day, they sent me a snarky response, implying that only they had the right to represent Mr. Jackson, Ms. Harris, and Ms. Castilleja. In other words, they suggested that my clients had no right to use another attorney besides them. … Read more