Rodeo goes after rape victim to give charity records secret…What a proud moment for the Livestock Show. Really?
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has filed legal action against Dolcefino Consulting and a trail ride rape victim to keep charity records secret.
“The Livestock Show wants to drag a young rape victim into a Houston court because they are mad at me for asking questions,” says Dolcefino Consulting president Wayne Dolcefino. “Shame on them. They have exposed their true character.”
Harris County State District Judge Steve Kirkland has soundly rejected attempts by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to hide financial records from the public.
The Rodeo had gone to court to try to block requests from Dolcefino Consulting for security records and any records of settlements for sexual assault or harassment, arguing a current rape lawsuit involving the rodeo protected it from state charity laws.
“Judge Kirkland delivered a clear message Friday morning that the rodeo isn’t the sacred cow it pretends to be, and that charity laws require them to follow the law”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
Dolcefino’s Investigative communications firm has already questioned the small ten percent of Rodeo donations going to student scholarships. Questions about payments to law enforcement personnel became an issue after both Houston Police and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office claimed they couldn’t find a single incident report of alleged crime at the rodeo for the entire two-week event.
“Given that the rodeo solicits donations and volunteers all throughout the Houston community and doesn’t want to open up its financial records, I find it concerning”, says Houston Attorney Ben Roberts of the Pinkerton law firm.
The Pinkerton law firm has sued the Rodeo in the rape case of Brie Ana Williams, the young women brutally assaulted during a warm up trail ride event put on by the Los Vaqueros trail ride group.
Los Vaqueros was not allowed to participate in this year’s rodeo parade, but the rape happened in 2012, and the Rodeo only pulled the plug after the lawsuit was filed and became headline news.
The rape lawsuit is probing what the Rodeo knew and when they knew it.
“Imagine that every year when March rolls around, all you hear about is the rodeo, and you hear about the trail ride and the parade coming through town…and one of the men that raped her is continuing to ride in this parade, smiling and waving to children as if nothing ever happened. It is a slap in the face and constantly reopening very deep wounds”, says Roberts.
Dolcefino Consulting has already filed a criminal complaint against the Rodeo and has also asked for records detailing lobbying expenses and details of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Caribbean and Central American Investments.
“Hopefully our District Attorney will take a message from the judge too and give the Rodeo an ultimatum, cough up the records or get charged with a crime,” says Dolcefino. “The legislature made this a crime for a very good reason. It is time for Ms. Ogg to act.”
Even a sacred cow like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo can’t two-step around the law.
Dolcefino Consulting has filed a sworn criminal complaint Wednesday afternoon against the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, accusing the charity of illegally withholding public information.
“The rodeo only gives 10 percent of the tens of millions of dollars they get every year to help kids, and they think they can bull their way through our legal requests for charity information,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Sorry, that dog won’t hunt.”
The stonewalling began when Dolcefino Consulting sought financial records to find which big-wig Houston law enforcement officers are on the charity’s payroll. HPD and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department says they can’t find a single crime report during the entire rodeo event, even though more than two million folks go to the concerts each year. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo also wants to keep secret any payments made in the wake of sexual assaults or sexual harassment allegations.
Lawyers for HLSR have even gone to court trying to hide their charity records, worried our questions could hurt them in a case involving the brutal rape of a woman at a Los Vaqueros trail ride warm up event. There’s evidence Rodeo officials let one of the suspects keep riding in the parade even after learning about the criminal case.
Dolcefino Consulting expanded our investigation in recent days, asking for financial records that will expose the millions the Houston based charity is investing in foreign countries, instead of Texas.
Our new requests for charity information include a closer look at the $1 million dollars the Houston rodeo spends every year on lobbying politicians.
The rodeo doesn’t dispute that only a dime out of every dollar really goes to help get Texas schoolkids scholarships. In a recent interview with the Texas Monitor, a Livestock Show spokesmen admitted their core mission really isn’t scholarships but promoting agriculture.
“I’m a Texan and I have cows living right next to my subdivision in Katy, so I am a huge fan of agriculture, says Dolcefino, “But tax returns tell me the Rodeo is worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars, so perhaps they could squeeze out a few more scholarships for needy kids next year instead of investing all that money in the Caribbean, don’t you think?”
Former Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson filed criminal charges against the Cypress Creek EMS charity when it refused to turn over financial records. It will be interesting to see if Kim Ogg follows the law too.
New questions now about the way the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo spends charity money.
Why is the Houston Livestock show investing millions in foreign countries that they could be spending on Texas school kids?
And wait till you see just how little money the kids are really getting.
We all love a good party, and the rodeo is one good party, but they sell themselves as a charity raising money for school scholarships. If you look at their the most recent publicly available tax return, you quickly realize charity is just a fishhook for what may be the biggest concert promotion business in Texas.
The latest mystery at the rodeo
It might seem like a lot of giving– the rodeo gave $15 million in scholarships in 2016.
Dig a little deeper and you will realize the rodeo is good at putting lipstick on a blue-ribbon pig. That $15 million in scholarships is a drop in the rodeo’s cash cow bucket. In the same year, the rodeo made nearly 125 million dollars.
The kids get just pennies on the dollar.
“People are deluded if they think that by going to the rodeo and spending money there they have a lot of money going to the scholarships. It’s only like 10 cents on the dollar,” said Bob Martin, a prominent Houston accountant and tax specialist.
Did you know the rodeo is investing millions of dollars they make from the charity tickets you buy and putting that money in Central America and the Caribbean?
The rest of the rodeo’s money goes exactly where you’d expect a big company’s money to go – the bosses and their lavish office décor.
While the kids are getting pennies of a charity dollar, goodhearted Texans stumble over each other to donate their time to volunteer to work the rodeo. Tens of thousands of volunteers worked for nothing in 2015. Do it long enough and the rodeo might even grace you with a pin!
While charity-minded Texans are working for free, the rodeo pays its top employees millions of dollars a year for a three- week event, including more than $600,000 to president and CEO Joel Cowley.
We know the rodeo is a sacred cow in town, but you know us, we question power.
When Dolcefino Consulting President Wayne Dolcefino worked at Channel 13, General Manager Henry Florsheim spiked a TV station investigation into big spending by rodeo executives. Wayne Dolcefino dared to question the cost of stuff in the rodeo board’s private rooms, including a conference table which cost roughly the same as a new Lexus. Channel 13 didn’t have the guts to do that story, but the Houston Chronicle did. We all remember the headlines.
Did the Rodeo learn anything about real charity?
In that year, the rodeo made $66 million, and gave 17 percent of the money to charity scholarships for Texas kids.
Ten years later. The rodeo made twice as much money, but now only gives ten percent to the kids. The ticket prices sure have gone up too.
The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo sure isn’t hurting for money. In the last publicly available tax return, they claim to have total assets of 257 million dollars. That is a quarter of a billion dollars.
Think of how many more kids from poor Houston neighborhoods the Rodeo could help, if this is really about charity.
There is no crime at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. None. Nada.
Do you really believe that?
They say numbers don’t lie. But these numbers may be the latest mystery uncovered in a Dolcefino Consulting investigation into the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The Rodeo is now fighting a civil lawsuit stemming from a rape at a Los Vaqueros Trail Ride event. Houston lawyer Chad Pinkerton wants to know what the rodeo knew and when they knew it.
We were asked to investigate, and using the Texas Public Information Act, we wanted to see if any sex crimes unfolded at this year’s Rodeo…
We didn’t just ask for that. We asked the Houston Police, Harris County Sheriff and the Precinct One Constable to give us any reports, or any incident crime or arrests during the 23-day rodeo at NRG Stadium.
We expected hundreds of reports, after all people drink, sometimes they fight, and lots of cars make appetizing theft targets. Even a purse snatching. Anything.
Now for the mystery. You know how many law enforcement incident reports we got?
Zero. Not a single report of crime in the NRG complex.
“Guess it could be testimony to Texans holding their liquor, but 2.5 million people go to the Rodeo, and there’s nothing,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, “We’ve got a real mystery on our hands.”
We even looked for tickets written for misdemeanor crimes, and we got the records.
It is zero again. Not a single ticket shows up.
It’s why we asked the Rodeo under state charity laws for financial records to see if any top Houston law enforcement officials are on their payroll. After all, maybe they can talk about the web of security that allows 2.5 million people to go an event without a single incident of crime.
That’s a crime fighting strategy the rodeo should sell all over the nation.
But do you believe it’s true? The latest mystery of the rodeo…