When politicians want to keep stuff secret from the home folks, they often put required public notices in another town’s newspaper.
It’s sneaky. It’s also an old trick.
That’s why Hempstead Mayor Michael Wolfe has some explaining to do.
Why in the world is the City of Hempstead trying to change their landfill ordinance when they know Green Group will use that as an opening to finally get the 17-story tall tower of trash they want on Highway 6.
That’s right. The City of Hempstead has put a notice of their intent to change the ordinance they passed to fight the landfill. No press release. No word to the citizens of Hempstead. Just a public notice in the government section of the Brookshire paper.
Lawyers for the Citizens Against the Landfill and Waller County are reportedly scratching their heads too.
Right now, Green Group is fighting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in an Austin courtroom, in part because they want to prove the Hempstead ordinance won’t stand up.
Mayor Michael Wolfe promised locals he would fight the landfill, but the town is in money trouble, and that is a recipe for trouble. Wolfe needs to explain this proposed landfill change today, and the community needs to send a clear message.
State Rep. Ryan Guillen lost his Chairmanship of the Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee this year, but he’s sure still interested in commercial oyster fishing.
Curious, since none of District 31 is in oyster harvesting territory.
Last week, the plot thickened.
Chambers County Justice of the Peace, Tracy Woody, was called to testify to Guillen’s old committee as a representative of the oyster industry to proclaim a crisis.
There’s no doubt the oyster crop is in trouble, but I wonder if Guillen has shared some salient facts with his fellow lawmakers about his bill’s supporter Judge Woody.
Woody and his oyster company S.T.O.R.M is right now being sued by the State of Texas for trying to illegally monopolize the Galveston Bay oyster crop with a backroom lease deal involving his home town friends on the Chambers Liberty County Navigation District.
Documents Woody provided to the legislative committee claimed members of the oyster advisory committee of Parks and Wildlife are controlled by one oyster company, coincidentally the very one leading a lawsuit to expose the smelly oyster lease S.T.O.R.M is trying to use to take over 23,000 acres of prime oyster territory.
When State Representative Dennis Bonnen pressed Woody for evidence the companies are connected, Woody stated he didn’t know…
And he’s a Judge?
We already know the Chambers Liberty County Navigation District has been hiding documents on the deal with Woody that every taxpayer has a right to see.
That’s why Texas lawmakers should let the courts deal with Mr. Woody.
Texas Courts are unanimous so far that Woody’s lease deal with the home town bureaucrats is illegal, but I bet you didn’t know who has agreed to be a fact witness for Woody in his scheme to take over the oyster biz!
State Rep. Ryan Guillen.
Wonder what this Rio Grande Valley politician knows about a lease deal in Chambers County?
Wonder if his constituents in South Texas know he’s agreed to help Woody and S.T.O.R.M in their legal case?
The potential for a conflict of interest is hard to ignore. While Guillen is trying to help Woody pull off his oyster play in court, he’s also the author of legislation that competitors say could make the lease deal legal.
The oyster bill will be heard in Committee Tuesday, March 28th. in Austin.
Maybe Rep. Guillen should explain his relationship to S.T.O.R.M and Judge Woody and his special interest in who gets to fish in Galveston Bay!
Maybe he should explain how that helps anyone who voted for Rep. Guillen!
Those are the famous words from the movie “The Sixth Sense.”
Now Dolcefino Consulting sees dead people too…and what we see is embarrassing for a candidate in the upcoming Pasadena Mayor’s election.
John Moon boasts several hundred names of supporters on his campaign website. It looks impressive, if it were true.
“After learning some of the people on the list who don’t even support the guy had actually complained to Moon, Dolcefino Consulting took a closer look,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Researching the list of supporters with unique surnames, we easily identified 7 people were likely dead.”
Moon had a bunch of excuses when we busted his campaign, including “clerical errors,” and the candidate told us it was possible some of the folks had recently died since the campaign supposedly began canvassing for support way back in July 2015.
But what about Mr. Carl Couchman? His name is on the list and Couchman died in 2014.
Moon refused to provide us a contact list for all the hundreds of other people he put on the website, but since we chatted, he’s taken the names of the dead folks off.
Guess he saw dead people too?
While he’s searching, he might want to take off the folks he knows don’t support him, and the names that appear more than once.
Early voting for Pasadena’s Mayoral Election begins in one month.
In January, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner bowed to questions from City Council Members and promised a 30-day “deep dive” investigation into the economic deal City Hall made with developers of the White Oak Music Hall.
Two months later, Mayor Turner now wants to keep the investigation a secret. The City of Houston is asking the Attorney General to block the release of the report because it was done by
the City Attorney and is protected by attorney-client privilege.
Tuesday at City Hall we will find out which city council members will call the secretive Turner administrative on his continued lack of transparency.
“The Mayor owes it to the hundreds of families who have to live with the blaring noise of White Music Hall to tell them the truth”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino
Consulting and a spokesman for the White Oak families. “The tax money the City promised to kick back to the investors of the White Oak deal belong to the people of Houston, not the Mr.
That’s not the only news. Campaign reports reviewed by Dolcefino Consulting show Mayor Turner accepted campaign money from a key White Oak Music Hall developer and their lobbyist while mothers of autistic children were asking City Hall to stop the noise in November.
How much more campaign cash is involved? Inquiring minds want to know Mr. Turner.
“We would know if the City bothered to produce a list of investors. Who promises a million dollars in tax money to a bunch of guys without knowing whose backing this project”, says
White Oak Music Hall has refused to release a list of their investors, and the City has refused to provide evidence they are bidding their contracts publicly or providing affirmative action
contracts. The City has also refused a request to hold a hearing on the permit that let’s White Oak invade hundreds of homes late on school nights.
“Mayor Turner needs to release this investigative report Tuesday,” says Dolcefino. “He needs to demand White Oak detail who all the investors are. What is the Mayor hiding? Let’s see who
else is an investor, and see if they gave campaign money to this Mayor too.”
Dolcefino and other White Oak residents will appear at City Council Tuesday afternoon.
White Oak residents are preparing for trial scheduled in July where they will seek a million dollars from White Oak investors for the damages to the quality of lives of families.
In early December of 2015, Dolcefino Consulting and others received allegations that weapons that were bought by the Waller County Sheriff’s department had been lost or given away. Because the information came from a candidate in the upcoming race, we began to prepare a formal request to review the Sheriff’s gun inventory records. It was a Thursday. We scheduled to submit the request on the following Monday morning.
Guess what happened that weekend?
Sheriff Glenn Smith reported 8 weapons, including a machine gun, had been stolen from his marked patrol unit during dinner at a Salt Grass steakhouse in Harris County. Smith didn’t tell anyone there, or call Harris County Deputies to warn them their officers might be in danger if they stop a suspicious car. Instead the sheriff drove back to Hempstead to make the report in his home county.
That is just one of the reasons why a lot of people thought the timing was troubling, very troubling.
In early 2016, Dolcefino Consulting told the Waller County District Attorney and the Auditor we had found many discrepancies in the receipts and the Sheriff’s inventory. We offered to help Waller County figure it out, even made the offer in a news release.
So, when Waller County Auditor claims no one offered to provide him information, it’s just not true.
Why is Alan Younts mad at Commissioner Russell Klecka who is just frustrated with the delays in auditing the records, since he wanted an outside audit more than a year ago? Younts isn’t hired by Commissioners, but he did promise to finish the audit last June, and it’s eight months late. He told Dolcefino Consulting he got all the Sheriff’s records in March of 2016, but didn’t double check the gun inventory until December, nine months later. And three months later, he still hasn’t finalized the audit.
The auditor can whine, but he agreed to do the audit, and the delays have made the whole thing moot.
Younts says some Commissioners just wanted to use the audit to damage the Sheriff politically. County Judge Trey Duhon proclaims voters knew about the gun theft incident.
What we have here is politics all right, the politics of protecting the Sheriff for reelection, and that’s not right.
If the auditor had all the Sheriff’s records by March of 2016, he should have immediately reported discrepancies to the Waller County District Attorney. In fact, Waller County District Attorney should have done something too. He should have launched an investigation into the theft of all those weapons. The sworn report was filed in Waller County.
Voters had a right to a prompt and full investigation. The Sheriff has never publicly updated the voters once in fifteen months about the status of the missing guns. The Republican primary occurred 6 months after the gun theft, four months after the auditor knew there were discrepancies, ‘CUZ we told them. The Fall election happened 11 months later. Younts had promised to complete the audit in June of 2016. Maybe he’s so busy, and maybe the status of weapons and the frenzied buying and guns by the Sheriff wasn’t important to him, but taxpayers had a right to have the information before they voted. Regardless of politics.
Last week the auditor called County Commissioner Russell Klecka ignorant, and took pot shots at Commissioner John Amsler too.
That’s not the auditor’s job.
Alan Younts may be appointed by the District Judge to keep him “independent,” but his delays made it look like he was the one playing politics. Whining now is unprofessional. Suggesting Dolcefino Consulting is playing politics is an insult to voters who deserve a prompt review of this gun fiasco. It looks like voters have a lot more work to do in replacing politicians, who worry more about protecting their buddies than the public.
The Waller County District Attorney is asking the Texas Attorney General to keep secret the documents used to finalize the audit.
We can’t wait to see if receipts missing last February turned up for Younts report. If they did, that’s something else that should be reviewed, along with evidence the Sheriff used funds earmarked for fighting drugs to buy and trade guns.
Last week, one county official suggested the Sheriff needed machine guns because of all the threats that emerged in the Sandra Bland mess. One problem, the machine guns were on the inventory for more than a year before anyone in Waller County ever heard of Sandra Bland.
County Commissioner John Amsler says he will likely not be satisfied with the audit, calling the Sheriff’s actions the day of the big gun theft irrational and dangerous.
More shots will be fired.
The gunfight has been developing for a long time.
The inventory of Sheriff Glenn Smith’s weapons become a campaign issue during the last election.
Just days after the issue emerged, Sheriff Smith reported a bunch of weapons were stolen from his marked truck, including a machine gun. No one has talked about what happened to the weapons since.
Then a Dolcefino Consulting investigation of the Sheriff’s gun inventory and invoices raised lots of new questions. They didn’t match. The record keeping was sloppy at best.
In February of 2016, County Commissioner Russell Klecka called for an outside audit. Instead the County Auditor agreed to get it done in a few months.
It’s been more than a year, and Klecka has had enough.
Wednesday, Klecka will call for a new independent audit, done by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
If the auditor has finished the audit, then the county should let folks have a look. We’ve asked to see all the documents again.
It won’t be the OK Corral, but expect a fight.
A new candidate for public office may not be an expert on the Texas law requiring campaign finance reports.
However, it is a crime to not file on time.
Hoppy Haden is the new Commissioner in Caldwell County. He’s leading the move to cut a deal with Green Group Holdings for a host agreement for a big tower of trash outside of town, even though the TCEQ is a long way from granting them the final permit.
Of course, the smell, the traffic, and possible environmental threat to the flood plain won’t be in Haden’s district, it will be in Lytton Springs, in Commissioner Joe Roland’s Precinct. Roland is vexed that political courtesy is being thrown out the door. Even in Harris County, hardly a bastion of political ethics, you would never see a Commissioner ignored like this. The same thing happened in Waller County when Green Group was involved.
We went to the Caldwell County Elections Office to look up Mr. Haden’s campaign finance reports. We know his campaign treasurer knows to file, because there are reports through October 20, 2016.
The final report, the one with the money raised and spent by Haden during those final critical days, it is not filed. It is about two months late.
That’s against the law, but we are sure the local District Attorney Fred Weber is way ahead of us. Right?
Do you have a special anniversary this month?
Waller County did, and it is evidence they just don’t care about who’s keeping track of guns at the Sheriff’s Office.
Ah…how time flies.
It was Christmas 2015 when Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith claimed a bunch of weapons were stolen from his marked truck outside a restaurant, including a nasty machine gun.
The Sheriff must have been ready for a fight when he went to the Salt Grass Steakhouse.
Looks like those guns went poof, unless there is an update the Sheriff hasn’t shared.
But back to the anniversary.
It was February 2016 when Commissioner Russell Klecka demanded an audit of the Sheriff’s weapons, after Dolcefino Consulting found lots of discrepancies in the records. The commissioners wanted an outside investigation, but agreed to let County Auditor Alan Younts do it.
Just a reminder. It’s been a year guys! Still no report. Now that’s action.
Glad the public didn’t hold their breath.
You got to love Waller County.
Dolcefino Consulting has confirmed a new round of grand jury subpoenas have been issued in a widening federal investigation of possible fraud by the 911 ambulance service Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services.
The news comes as CCEMS is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees in the last few years, much of it in lawsuits against Dolcefino Consulting for seeking records from the tax supported ambulance service. The money is likely coming from medical bill money that could be used to buy medical supplies.
You wouldn’t know there was all this trouble if you have been to a recent meeting of the ESD #11 Commissioners, elected to watchdog the CCEMS 911 contract. There is disturbing new evidence that could explain why.
New e-mails obtained by Dolcefino Consulting detail the efforts of CCEMS employees to help orchestrate the defeat of ESD Commissioners who were asking lots of question about money. The e-mails details efforts to get 3 new Commissioners elected.
The election in 2016 was an ugly one. Two ESD # 11 Commissioners, Robert Berleth and Kevin Brost were demanding explanations for questionable spending, including the big entertainment bills of CCEMS Ambulance Boss Brad England. CCEMS was also being sued by a former medical billing company for alleged bid rigging.
The new e-mails expose efforts by CCEMS employees to create a dossier of possible dirty information on one of the incumbent commissioners, providing material to favored candidates for use in the campaign.
In one e-mail, CCEMS PR guy Norm Uhl prepared a cliff notes version of the dirt for candidates, writing folks may be too lazy to read it all.
In another, the CCEMS IT guy boasts about deleting negative social media posts.
Under federal law, a 501c3 charitable organization like CCEMS is directly prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign.
The three candidates favored by CCEMS in the e-mails won the election. Only about 4,000 of 400,000 registered voters showed up at the polls.
Another ESD #11 Commissioner, Fred Grundemeyer claimed he didn’t have any e-mails when we asked under state law. Turns out he must have deleted at least one, where he congratulates the election winners, calling the vote a devastating defeat for Wayne Dolcefino and the candidates he supported.
“It is pretty simple. Dolcefino Consulting supports any political candidates who fights for transparency,” says President Wayne Dolcefino. “Don’t worry Fred, I am doing just fine. It’s the taxpayers that got played.”
Karen Plummer got the most votes for re-election, despite records showing CCEMS Ambulance money that could have been used to buy were used to entertain her instead.
A few weeks ago, Plummer got an e-mail from CCEMS Boss Brad England. The message was simple, Miss ya!
Justice for the poor folks in Uniontown, Alabama.
The garbage giant Green Group has dismissed its libel lawsuit against the Black Belt Citizens, the group that has been outspoken on Facebook about the garbage company and what coal ash has done to their town.
The Citizens claim the Arrowhead landfill in Uniontown is causing major health problems to residents. They fought against even allowing the landfill to be built, and in 2008 when it began accepting coal ash, they took their fight to court, and took those concerns to the media.
In July of last year, they got punished by Green Group with a lawsuit accusing the Citizens of libel and slander and demanded $30 million dollars in damages. That’s when the ACLU stepped in to represent the Citizens in their fight against Green Group’s lawsuit.
Guess Green Group doesn’t like bad pub.
Texans should watch what happened in Uniontown. Green Group is now suing the State of Texas, still trying to put a tower of trash near Hempstead.
The company has been criticized for having secret meetings with politician, and getting rid of records on the soil they tested.
That’s why attention is on Lockhart, where the politicians are thinking about doing a deal with Green Group, after spending tens of thousands of dollars fighting them, and the release of public records.