The “dog ate my homework” sometimes works for kids in school, but high-priced lawyers in the Harris County Family Courthouse certainly can’t use that as a reason for not showing up for an important
So, let’s ask Woodland’s attorney Mary Van Orman what she does.
Van Orman now wants a redo for her client Marek Menger, even though his wife got her divorce granted in February. Four months ago. Finally, an ugly, expensive fight that had lasted two years.
Now Van Orman wants a new trial, in part because she claims she couldn’t show up in Judge Millard’s court in Houston on February 27 th , because she was in a trial in Conroe in Judge Gilbert’s court. She even produced a signed protective order from the Judge in Montgomery County.
What is a lawyer to do?
But here is the problem. The final judgement in the Menger divorce had long been scheduled for that very day in February. You know what time the Judge in Conroe gave Mary Van Orman her get out of
court free card? 10:30 in the morning, on the very same day.
Mary Van Orman had only notified the Houston judge in the Menger case of a possible conflict at the very last minute, even though she had agreed to the court date to end the Menger divorce earlier that month. A court transcript shows Van Orman tried to convince the Judge that these things just happen, saying “I have tried everything to accommodate.”
Really? Except admitting to Judge Millard in Houston that she knew about the court date in Conroe for a very long time.
We have court records from that other case in Conroe showing Mary Van Orman knew about the trial date since October 2017, five months earlier.
Guess who was on the phone during the Menger hearing, asking Judge Millard to let her off the hook because she had a protective order and just can’t get out of it? If you guessed Mary Van Orman, you may win a prize in our continuing Family Injustice Investigation.
Judge Millard said too bad. Good for her.
But Mary Van Orman was still allowed to say anything she wanted to. She was on the phone during the
So, don’t you think it’s a stretch to now claim you would have said different stuff if you had been there in person, instead of on the phone?
Is that really a reason to start a long nasty divorce case all over again?
We know it means more money for lawyers, like Mary Van Orman.
Is that what Family Court should really be all about?
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.
Texas Tech has decided to ignore an order from State District Judge Bill Sowder just one day after the Lubbock judge ruled a lawsuit filed by Dolcefino Consulting could move forward.
The appeal by Texas Tech and the Texas Attorney General will stall the fight to finally give Texans their fundamental right to see public records the University has been hiding for nine years, records detailing the investigation used to cheat former Tech Football Coach Mike Leach out of 2.5 million dollars he is still owed.
Judge Sowder had already criticized the University in court for playing word games to justify the withholding of key records. Dolcefino Consulting has also accused the University General Counsel Ronny Wall of ongoing attempts to impose illegal charges to intentionally withheld public records.
Judge Sowder included this message to the lawyers in his court order Monday.
“Issues of what to produce and how much to charge for production are not difficult matters and the Court expects reasonableness as opposed to nitpicking to control the ins and outs of this case.”
Today, Attorney General Ken Paxton filed notice of appeal a notice of appeal to the 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo.
“Apparently Texas Tech would rather waste more time and money rather than try a new tactic, the truth,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “This conspiracy to keep
secrets and cover up the fraud perpetrated against Mike Leach has stained the reputation of a great University. Apparently protecting the big-wigs is more important.”
Texas Tech has used the legal fight over the Leach records to also conceal any history of sexual assaults on campus, and payments to vendors of the Red Raider football team.
“Ken Paxton is the Texas State Official who is supposed to safeguard the public right to know, but here he is helping Texas Tech try to keep secrets from students, parents, donors and
taxpayers, says Dolcefino. “ What a great campaign slogan for the fall.”
You got to love HCC. A swamp that keeps giving.
Read on… Continue reading
Judge Bill Sowder has sent a message to Texas Tech that Dolcefino Consulting’s lawsuit will move forward in his court.
In his message Judge Sowder writes, “In addition, it appears to the Court that the issues of what to produce and how much to charge for production are not difficult matters and the Court expects reasonableness as opposed to nitpicking to control the ins and outs of this case.”
Earlier this month, attorneys for Texas Tech and the Texas Attorney General’s Office tried to claim the request for the completed investigation into the firing of Coach Mike Leach wasn’t provided because the investigation was interrupted. Judge Sowder called that wordsmithing.
“Finally we have a real chance to finally expose Texas Tech’s scheme to cheat Mike Leach, and then show Red Raiders the sham investigation used to get rid of the Coach,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Tech is also hiding reports of sexual incidents on campus, payments to companies from the football team, and trying play games to keep us from seeing phone records and e-mails of Regents.”
Tech has tried all kinds of ways to keep public records secret including bogus and illegal charges for production.
“It is sad the Regents have not seen the value of restoring the school’s tarnished reputation,” says Dolcefino, “Paying the Coach what they owe him to erase the stain of dishonesty and remove the curse that many believe plagued the Tech football team. I stand ready to help them close this chapter. I also stand ready to expose all the secrets at Tech. Their choice.”
— Wayne Dolcefino (@WayneDolcefino) May 24, 2018
The new leadership at Houston First promised us more transparency. There should be. After all, Houston’s tourism office has become one of the biggest bureaucracies in town.
Unfortunately, Bobby Singh didn’t get the memo. Too bad.
Monday, May 14th, Dolcefino Consulting filed a criminal complaint against Singh for illegally withholding public records. We want him prosecuted.
In March, Dolcefino Consulting asked for detailed phone records of Trustee Bobby Singh as part of a widening investigation into spending and conflicts of interest at Houston First
Houston First claimed they didn’t have any Singh phone records and they had asked him to produce what he had. Singh ignored it. He also ignored a direct request to him
“It’s time to shine a light on the dealings of Houston First,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, “The leadership is accountable to the residents of the City of Houston. And if Mr. Singh doesn’t want to follow the law, perhaps he should resign and let someone who does believe in transparency get the job instead.”
Singh is a founding member of Isani Consultants, a Houston based firm that provides the engineering design, construction management and inspection services for public and private sector projects.
According to statute, the District Attorney’s office has 30 days to respond to our criminal complaint.
“Based on her past conduct I have little faith the District Attorney is serious about enforcing transparency laws, but Mr. Singh must follow the law. The public has a right to know who he talks to about public business. Period,” says Dolcefino. “Houston First needs a good dose of sunshine. It is coming.”
The Texas Tech Board of Regents are scheduled to meet next week, and Dolcefino Consulting has requested they consider beginning negotiations to pay Mike Leach.
In a letter to Chairman L. Frederick Francis dated May 9, 2018, Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, urged the Regents to “write the last chapter of this unfortunate football divorce.”
“We have in recent weeks, learned a lot about the failings of the process used by Texas Tech in the Coach Leach matter,” wrote Dolcefino, “Every major university in the state has made decisions, right or wrong, to change football coaches. In all, but one case, the schools have worked out a financial settlement.”
Earlier this week the Texas Attorney General’s Office filed an Advisory to the Court on behalf of Texas Tech. It tries to clean up the bad court day Tech had when the Judge told them their arguments in a public records lawsuit filed by Dolcefino Consulting, were wordsmithing and did not the pass the smell test.
“Supporters of Mike Leach talk about a curse on Texas Tech,” wrote Dolcefino, “They say the University is teaching kids a horrible lesson in the way the University has cheated Coach Leach… all that should matter, is ending this horrible chapter and the damage it has done to the legacy of the Red Raider Nation.”
Dolcefino Consulting urges Texas Tech to lift the curse of the pirate, and pay coach Leach.
Fans and alumni can raise their voice by signing the petition at paycoachleach.com.
The Texas Tech Board of Regents is scheduled to meet in Lubbock on Thursday, May 17, and Friday, May 18, 2018.
We promised to keep you updated on Dolcefino Consulting’s public records court fight with Texas Tech.
Dolcefino filed suit in January after Texas Tech failed to produce documents related to several requests for open records, including documents never released in the Coach Mike Leach Investigation.
The winningest coach in school history was fired in December 2009, kept from leading his team in a bowl game, and the University refused to pay him $2.5 million dollars they owed.
Embedded below is an Advisory to the Court filed by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of Texas Tech. It tries to clean up the bad court day Tech had when the Judge told them their arguments were wordsmithing and did not the pass the smell test.
If Pinocchio had continued on like this, he would have stayed a donkey, instead of becoming a real boy.
Texas Tech’s Board of Regents are meeting next Thursday and Friday, May 17th and 18th. We will release the letter we sent to the Chairman of the Board of Regents, calling on them to put the Coach Leach payment on the agenda.
Fans and alumni can raise their voice by signing the petition here.
For over a year, The Colorado Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome has been hiding the truth.
Enough is Enough.
Dolcefino Consulting has filed a lawsuit in Denver accusing Commissioner Rome of breaking Colorado open records laws and providing false information about his true success in protecting victims of fraud. We have been investigating the Rome record for over a year. In 2014, Rome bragged to taxpayers about how successful he was in collecting monies owed to taxpayers and victims by some of Colorado’s biggest fraudsters.
Talk is cheap. The truth is a lot uglier.
Since 2011, official records of the Colorado Securities Division show a truly dismal collection rate from fraud cases. 122 million dollars owed to the people of Colorado. A little more than 3 million dollars collected. What’s worse, our investigation has uncovered a bureaucratic nightmare, a systematic failure to properly collect from the crooks.
Rome now claims his office has never even communicated with the Colorado Collections Services – the state’s private collections agency – on any of the cases he prosecuted. Not one.
Rome doesn’t even count what the separate county collections agencies are doing. In fact, based on the few records we have seen, he doesn’t even keep up with their efforts. During review of courthouse records in early May, we asked Jefferson, Boulder, and Denver counties for the balances on several high-dollar fraud cases. We have learned the few documents Rome’s office provided are wrong, but there is one constant. Court collection officers say they aren’t receiving information from the Securities Division that could help find where the money is buried.
In Denver District Court alone, we examined the high-dollar fraud cases of Michael Marshall, Gregory Russell, Sean Michael Mueller, and Michael Mendenhall. Together those four defendants alone owe Colorado taxpayers $90 Million Dollars.
You know how much money has been collected of that ninety million dollars? Ten thousand dollars. Two cases in Boulder revealed the same pattern. Millions owed, pennies collected, in part because no one seems to be sharing information with anyone else.
“The taxpayers of Colorado deserve to know about this systematic failure to get the people the money they were promised,” says Dolcefino. “What makes this worse is that Rome refuses to provide evidence he even bothered to look for the records he now claims he doesn’t have.”
Dolcefino Consulting filed a request in February 2018 asking for documents showing any attempts the division made to communicate with the Colorado Collections Agency. It took the division five hours to respond and say they had nothing to show us, not a single e-mail. What kind of government agency-wide research can YOU get done in five hours? Exactly.
In response to a similar request last August, the division denied us public records unless Dolcefino Consulting identified who we were asking for. We believe that is a violation of the public right to know. It just doesn’t cut the legal mustard to tell a citizen “who wants to know?” You’d think Commissioner Gerald Rome, who used to be First Assistant Attorney General, would know that.
“We look forward to our day in court,” says Dolcefino. “The Colorado legislature should be asking some tough questions too. What’s the point of spending millions of dollars chasing fraudsters, bragging that you won all this money, and then never caring if a dime is collected?Colorado Complaint
The Harris County District Attorney has filed a sealed court motion to recuse her office from further investigation into a Dolcefino Consulting criminal complaint filed against Mayor Turner for hiding e-mails.
Judge David Mendoza, the ethics counsel for Kim Ogg informed us of the decision Thursday.
The reason: Dolcefino Consulting served as Communications Advisors to Ogg in her campaign for District Attorney.
“One of the reasons I wanted to help Ms. Ogg become District Attorney was because of her promise to me to be aggressive on issues of public integrity. If I had known then she would seek to recuse herself from investigations involving my firm I would have told her no,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “I find it odd that when my office complained on a powerful Democratic politician our Democratic DA got a sudden case of conflict of interest.”
Dolcefino Consulting accused Turner of hiding e-mails with Maya Ford, a virtual goddaughter to Turner, and the beneficiary of consulting contracts since Turner took office. Ogg’s office has been sitting on the complaint for 5 months, and there is no evidence they’ve even asked City Hall to show them the e-mails.
“In my view, the District Attorney is already in violation of the law too, since it required them to respond within a month to our complaint,” says Dolcefino. “Houstonians should be asking some tough questions about public integrity in this town.”
Judge Mendoza says the Turner case also became intertwined with the prosecution of Cypress Creek EMS for violating state charity laws. The Northwest Harris County Ambulance company faces criminal charges stemming from a complaint from Dolcefino Consulting after refusing to turn over payroll records for 911 employees. Ogg has now asked for a special prosecutor to take over that case, even though it has been ongoing since she became District Attorney fifteen months ago.
The FBI is probing possible fraud in the 911 service in ESD #11 and employees of CCEMS recently testified in front of a grand jury.
“It is no secret my office has been highly critical of Ms. Ogg’s alleged office of Public Integrity,” says Dolcefino. “Kim Ogg has now been District Attorney for fifteen months.”
Records obtained by Dolcefino Consulting show Ogg’s office waited five months to tell the Houston Independent School District after we formally complained some Democratic school board members were hiding phone records. By the time HISD turned over the records, the phone records we wanted had been discarded. The DA let them get away with it.
Early this year Ogg’s office falsely claimed our complaint about Democratic HCC Board Member Adriana Tamez was unfounded. Dolcefino Consulting turned over hours of video surveillance and utility records proving Tamez did not live in the District she was elected to represent. The Public Integrity Unit claimed they did a thorough investigation, but refused to turn over records showing the public what they did or didn’t do.
“Our District Attorney has the authority to initiate investigations without a formal complaint, but those are their rules. Now, when my Investigative Communications Firm complains, they play games, and now want to hand off the hot potatoes,” says Dolcefino. “In this town, a growing number of people are hiring us to help get them justice. Ms. Ogg could have chosen to help us clean up the town, but she isn’t.”