While under investigation for sexual misconduct, federal judge breaks the law again

A special investigation of two federal judges in Texas is nearing completion, but one of those judges recently violated the law again by concealing his attorney-client relationship with a lawyer who regularly appears in his courtroom. Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appears to be stonewalling my complaint against U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle (more on that below, plus the latest news about the Booger County Mafia).

Judge-SmithOn Saturday, I supplemented my judicial complaint against U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith, Jr. of Waco after learning that Judge Smith had an undisclosed attorney-client relationship with local attorney Greg White. Ironically, Judge Smith hired Mr. White to represent him in the judicial misconduct proceedings that resulted from my original complaint, a fact that both of them concealed from the attorneys and parties who were appearing opposite from Mr. White in Judge Smith’s court.

As reported on this blog and at DirtyRottenJudges.com, my original complaint arose from a female deputy clerk’s testimony that Judge Smith sexually harassed and groped her while he was drunk in the federal courthouse. According to that former clerk, she reported the misconduct through her chain of command, but then-Chief District Judge Harry Lee Hudspeth covered up the incident. I filed complaints against Judge Hudspeth as well as Judge Smith, and the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals appointed a special committee to investigate both of them.

I recently heard rumors that a report was targeted for release in mid-November, and a letter dated October 20, 2015 seems to confirm that timeline. In the letter, a deputy clerk informed me that the committee’s report for “Case No. 05-14-90120” had been submitted to the judicial council. That’s the case number assigned to Judge Smith (Case No. 05-14-90121 was assigned to Judge Hudspeth).

In addition to the supplemental grievance against Judge Smith, I filed a bar grievance against Mr. White, who also serves as an adjunct professor at Baylor Law School. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled 35 years ago that judges should disqualify themselves from cases when they have an attorney-client relationship with one of the attorneys in a case, and state bar rules prohibit a lawyer from assisting a judge in violating the rules against judicial misconduct. Purely as a matter of common sense, Judge Smith and Mr. White should have known better. Would you want your case tried by a judge who was secretly being represented by your opponent’s lawyer? … Read more

Asbestos whistleblower sues Kilgore College

In a federal lawsuit filed yesterday, Kilgore College’s former maintenance director alleged that he was fired for reporting the school’s mishandling of asbestos on campus.

Bill HoldaDalton Smith publicly disclosed the illegal asbestos disposal — as well as secret audio recordings of his conversations with college administrators — in the Longview News-Journal on April 6, 2014.  Seventeen months later, the college terminated Mr. Smith and outsourced the entire maintenance department.

According to the lawsuit, prior to Mr. Smith’s termination he was stripped of his supervisory role on the main campus, placed on a satellate campus by himself, and told not to drive onto the main campus without first notifying the campus police.  The lawsuit further alleges that other employees were directed not to speak with him or assist him.

None of this should come as a surprise. As I reported back on July 27, 2015, the college’s attorney tried to bully a couple of my clients because they dared to ask inconvenient questions about the corruption and incompetence at Kilgore College, and I warned the college then that lawsuits were coming.

KC President Bill Holda thought he was headed toward a quiet retirement in the Northeast, but the next few years of his life likely will be consumed by litigation, particularly since he is named as an individual defendant in Mr. Smith’s lawsuit. And you can bet other lawsuits are on the way, particularly now that some of the school’s former employees are showing symptoms of asbestos exposure. … Read more

Collin County needs another special prosecutor, this time to investigate the local DA as well as Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton

Sometime today the Collin County grand jury should receive a letter requesting the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the purchase and sale of the Collin Central Appraisal District headquarters site, a deal that netted six or seven figures for District Attorney Greg Willis, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and their business partners. Let’s hope that shady transaction finally gets the attention that it deserves.

Gail Falco LeykoI originally blogged about the CCAD site on March 23, 2015. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the Lone Star Project later sent a letter to the grand jury on May 12, 2015 after it uncovered new details about the transaction. The letter was sent in care of Assistant DA Gail Falco Leyko. On June 25, 2015, after I learned about the Lone Start Project letter, I sent an email to Ms. Leyko asking whether the letter had been delivered. On the same day, Judge Chris Oldner signed an order sealing the names of grand jurors.

I later learned that Ms. Leyko had not delivered the letter to grand jurors, and as I explained in my July 13, 2015 and July 14, 2015 posts, it appeared that the DA’s office was trying to block access to the grand jury by getting Judge Oldner and Judge John Roach, Jr. to seal the names of grand jurors. In other words, it appeared that Ms. Leyko was trying to protect her boss from a grand jury investigation, and for good reason.

You will recall that I started writing letters to grand jurors back in March when it became obvious that Mr. Willis and/or his staff were trying to block any investigation of Mr. Paxton, who was not only Mr. Willis’s business partner but a personal friend since college. The grand jury ultimately went rogue, forcing Mr. Willis to step aside and ultimately leading to the indictment of Mr. Paxton on securities charges. … Read more