Should police be able to hide body camera footage from the public? Apparently, the Friendswood Police Department thinks they can.
Dolcefino Consulting has now taken legal action against the Friendswood Police Department as part of an investigation into possible civil rights violations against a 78-year-old grandfather.
On July 31, 2018, four Friendswood police officers raided a home, handcuffed the elderly grandfather and seized two children caught up in a nasty Galveston County divorce case.
The father who directed the police action is Houston police officer Allan Comstock who lives in Friendswood. Just minutes after his call to dispatch, police stormed the house. Comstock was driving his Houston police car at the scene.
Was this preferential treatment? Did Friendswood Police even have a court order to get the kids?
“You have a Houston Police Department officer who, it looks like, was using the Friendswood Police Department for his own personal gain and instructing them what he wanted to do,” says Jeff Diamant, the attorney for Dolcefino Consulting.
In August, Dolcefino Consulting filed a request under the Texas Public Information Act to see the body camera video and dispatch audio from the incident. Friendswood Police said no, even though the video is not confidential under state law. The reason: no one was arrested that night.
“The Police Department does not get to engage in possible unlawful conduct, then use the Texas Public Information Act as a shield from providing certain pieces of information by saying we didn’t arrest anybody,” says Diamant.
“In order to properly investigate this incident for possible civil rights violations and other civil or criminal acts and to highlight this secrecy, Dolcefino Consulting is now asking the 55th State District Court to let us examine the evidence,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
The Comstock divorce case has been playing out in Galveston Courts. The judge in the divorce case had ordered Mindy Comstock in contempt for not turning over the kids for their allotted time with dad, but there was no court order to send police to get them. Friendswood Police did it anyway.
During the raid at the Comstock home, the officers handcuffed a very confused Joseph Manley, a 78-year-old grandfather with a heart condition, vision and hearing problems and detained him while they went upstairs with flashlights at nearly 11:00 PM to get the sleeping teenagers out of bed.
Manley claims he was falsely detained and manhandled by the officers but was never charged with any crime.
The legal action by Dolcefino Consulting questions whether officers of the Friendswood Police Department aided and abetted Allan Comstock in unlawfully taking his kids away from his wife.
The real goal of the petition is to find all the evidence of what really happened that night.
“We have asked for the body camera footage from that night multiple times, and each time the Friendswood police have refused,” says Wayne Dolcefino. “If they wanted transparency, they would have simply turned it over. The body cameras are paid for by Friendswood taxpayers. Period.”
Dolcefino Consulting will update the legal action on dolcefino.com and Dolcefino Consulting’s page on Facebook.
A Houston federal Judge has handed down a staggering punishment to a Houston Real Estate Developer.
The lesson for Houston’s real estate community. Don’t rip off ideas.
Houston Real Estate Developer Vinod Ramani and his company Urban Living were found liable for ripping off a competitor’s copyrighted material thousands of times.
Ramani and his company, Urban Living, were given a stunning court judgment of $28,790,000 today by Judge David Hittner.
Ramani and his company have to pay all of that huge punishment to Preston Wood and Associates, the Houston residential design firm he stole from. And they have to pay 2.67 percent interest too.
The jury in the case found that Ramani had violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a complex law that keeps people from taking your ideas and making money with them.
Ramani and Urban Living broke this law more than 11,500 times, and the real estate community has been waiting to see how much money he would have to hand over.
The punishment for each violation ranged from $2,500 to $25,000.
Maybe Ramani got off easy.
Ramani could have been smacked with damages as high as $280 million. It will still be devastating for Ramani’s future.
Ramani tried to claim that he should only be fined in the thousands. The court didn’t agree to that slap on the wrist and held him fully accountable.
Urban Living had claimed they owned the rights to many architectural works used in projects around Houston. The court decided otherwise. The rights belonged to Preston Wood and Associates.
This court judgment is sure to rock the Houston real estate community. No word yet if Ramani plans to appeal.RAMANI FINAL JUDGMENT
We often ask our government to protect us from stuff. Take the Texas Radiation Control Board, they make sure we don’t get more radiation than we’re supposed to get when we go to the dentist.
But you now government, give them an inch and they take a mile.
Texas dentists have been sounding the alarm about the state x-ray inspectors. They used to make an appointment, but now they have started showing up unannounced. How would you like to be stuck in the dentist’s chair in the middle of a root canal when that happens?
When dentists complain they get fined. A Magnolia Doctor Eric Sanders told inspectors to come back when he wasn’t busy and got a $4,000 fine. Now the State is going after a supposed conspiracy to interfere with their work.
The Department of State Health Services claims a radiation equipment inspection company called RSI told dental clients not to admit inspectors into their clinics when the inspectors showed up unannounced. DSHS is trying to fine RSI with a $20,000 administrative fine!
On Wednesday, November 7 th , there will be a showdown in Austin, a formal hearing before a Texas Administrative law judge.
We expect a roomful of dentists will show up because they have had enough and are fighting back. They say they are fed up with inspectors showing up at their office anytime they feel like, regardless if the dentist has a waiting room full of patients or not. Why don’t these inspectors have rules and procedures they are supposed to be following when “scheduling” these inspections. Or do they and are just ignoring it?
And what’s all the fuss about dental x-ray machines?
Dolcefino Consulting can’t find a single case where any Texas dental patient has been exposed to more dental x-ray radiation than they are supposed to be.
“You get more radiation at the airport on a trip from Houston to New York,” says Dr. Eric Sanders.
“I thought this was Texas where we don’t like wasteful government regulation,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Is this about safety or is this about money.”
The Radiation Control Board budget was $9 million dollars this year. In the last year the State has collected over $600 thousand dollars in fines, virtually all of it for paperwork stuff.
We will be in Austin Wednesday to see what happens. If you must reschedule an appointment because your dentist got parlayed by unannounced inspections, can you send a bill to the State of Texas?
Didn’t think so.
A big hearing in Houston federal court Monday October 22nd for Houston real estate developer Vinod Ramani, the Chief Executive of Urban Living.
A jury found Ramani guilty of taking someone else’s ideas and making money off them. In the legal world, that’s called copyright infringement and violations of the digital millennium copyright act (DMCA).
It would be hard to call what happened an accident. The jury found Ramani had violated the “dmca” more than 11,500 times, and Monday’s hearing will determine how big of a check Ramani has to write.
The punishment for each violation ranges from $2,500 to $25,000. Do the math.
Ramani could be hit with damages that could be as high as $280 million.
Houston residential design firm Preston Woods and Associates sued Urban Living and Ramani.
Urban Living had claimed they owned the rights to many architectural works used in projects around Houston. Turns out they didn’t. The rights belonged to Preston Woods and Associates.
Stay tuned. The judgement could send shock waves through the Houston real estate world.
Taking other people’s stuff and claiming it’s your own is wrong.
Let’s see if the judge will stay true to what the jury wants and hold Ramani responsible for all the counts.
An angry mob shouted expletives, ripped up signs, and threatened a handful of students holding a rally in support of Judge Cavanaugh on the University of Texas campus. Videos of the event have gone viral on the internet.
It is time for the University of Texas administration to take action to protect the right of all students to peacefully assemble. If they don’t, the legislature should.
“This is not Berkeley. This is Texas. The University of Texas Regents are appointed by the Governor. Texas taxpayers pay for a lot of this. The University administration should follow one rule. Professors can think and say what they want, but they must teach these kids that we can debate our differences without acting like a bunch of idiots, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, a Houston based Investigative Communications Firm. “They call it the First Amendment for a Reason.”
Dolcefino’s son, Anthony, is Vice Chairman of the Young Conservatives Campus Organization, one of the students threatened by Tuesday’s mob.
“Like millions of other Americans, I watched the UT Police stand there while my son and others were threatened, simply for calmly speaking their mind and trying to inspire debate. That is what college campuses are for. Mob Rule is not,” says Dolcefino. “These are Universities owned by the People of Texas. We need to start running them like that.”
Dolcefino called on Governor Abbott and Lt. Governor Patrick to speak out on the growing suppression on the Austin campus.
“Just last week I expressed concern that UT is allowing the dangerous Autonomous Student Network to meet on the campus of a State University. Organizations that threaten our kids, liberal or conservative, must be banned from public property,” says Dolcefino.
The cops are always telling us Houston is the human trafficking capitol of the country. So how do we explain this?
A Dolcefino Consulting Investigation shows the Houston Vice Division Human Trafficking Unit hasn’t made one single arrest for the crime of trafficking persons that stuck.
The shocking discovery raises all kinds of questions, including whether the Police Department is wisely using all those millions of extra dollars it is getting from the topless bars…
Five years ago, city and county officials formed a “treaty” with 16 sex clubs. The clubs pay $50K a year plus some of its liquor sales back to the city. In exchange, the cops assume the clubs are behaving and don’t show up as much. To make this deal sound less like a protection racket, the city said fees would go to fight sex trafficking in Houston.
We know the city has collected a whopping $5.4 million dollars! So, you figure the city has a plenty of cash to fight sex trafficking and to take those thugs off the street, right?
“In five years, the Human Trafficking cops arrested 192 people, nearly half were what we call “Johns”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
These are guys looking for sex, not human traffickers looking to enslave the local prostitutes.”
Here’s another question. Why do the topless bars have to pay in money to battle human trafficking? The Harris County District Attorney says none of the convictions for human trafficking had a thing to do with a topless bar.
Don’t you feel safer?
If you want to know if the lawyer trying to take away your kids in a custody case is a friend of the Judge you need to look at campaign contributions.
The newest reports are now available in our Family Injustice investigation.
We took a closer look at the campaign pay of Judge James Lombardino, under growing fire for family injustice cases.
Lombardino raised nearly $ 50,000 dollars in just six months, a lot of it coming from a fundraiser Dolcefino Consulting secretly filmed at the fancy steakhouse Mastros in Uptown.
The fundraiser was thrown by Jared Woodfill, the former Republican Party Chairman, who practices in Lombardino’s court. Woodfill’s clients have complained about Lombardino and may wonder why their lawyer is trying to get the controversial Judge re-elected anyway.
Lombardino stands apart from most of his peers in the amount of in-kind contributions he’s received, namely fundraisers by family lawyers practicing in his court.
Bobby King Newman has been one of Lombardino’s top donors over the years, giving him tens of thousands of dollars and appearing in many cases in the 308th family court. The relationship has prompted lots of complaints, even among lawyers.
Bobby Newman didn’t donate a single cent this period, but his partner did.
“The latest filings make it clear once again this system of electing Family Court Judges is inherently corrupt”, says Wayne Dolcefino President of Dolcefino Consulting.
“When you are fighting for your child, you shouldn’t have to worry if the Judge owes a favor to the lawyer on the other side, period.”
You should see who is paying the Judge in your divorce or child custody case. It shouldn’t matter, but our investigation shows it does. It might even explain why you are losing.
The new records can be viewed on our Harris County Judge page.
Prime Social has become Houston’s poker hot spot, and it looks like the folks at Post Oak Poker Club are jealous.
But is jealousy the basis of a lawsuit?
Post Oak wants State District Judge Michael Landrum to close Prime Social down, in part because they have hired “attractive women to convince players at Post Oak to switch their membership to Prime Social.”
Post Oak admits in their petition the facts are not fully developed.
How sinister. Post Oak claims they have lost 100 poker players and a lot of their kitchen staff too.
“If the allegation is that we hire attractive women and have better food and a great place for folks to enjoy their favorite game, then I confess,” says Prime Social founder Dean Maddox.
Post Oak also complains Prime Social doesn’t have a game room permit. That may because the City of Houston doesn’t require a permit for a private poker club, and a poker table is not an 8-liner machine.
“The last time I checked this was America”, says Maddox. People have a right to spend their time at places they enjoy being at. Obviously, poker players have made the decision they like coming to Prime Social to play poker, eat great food, watch sports on TV. Sounds like Post Oak is just jealous.”
Prime Social is located at 7801 Westheimer.
The private club doesn’t take a penny from the poker games, just charges private club member of 10 dollars, a small admission fee, and then rents a seat at the poker game of your choice.
Prime Social is available for interviews.
Please call Dolcefino Consulting to arrange.
Secret government maps detail the scary result if an earthen dam in Caldwell County ever breaches.
The projected possible death toll – 318 people.
The maps were obtained by Dolcefino Consulting as part of our widening investigation of Site 21, and the warnings that putting a 17-storey garbage dump next to it has serious risks to life and property.
The TCEQ has approved a permit for the 130-dump operated by controversial trash firm Green Group, ignoring warnings from even the agency own public watchdog the dump next to the dam spells trouble.
The fear is that garbage will blow in and block a critical pipe which helps relieve pressure in flood events.
“In coming days, we will continue to expose what the politicians haven’t told the families at greatest risk”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, the Houston based investigative communications firm that helped defeat another proposed Green Group dump in Waller County near Hempstead. “You don’t have to be an engineer to understand the dumpsite creates a potential danger that voters in Caldwell County have just not been warned about.”
Site 21 is one of 1,364 high hazard dumps in Texas. We have learned TCEQ Commissioners never consulted its own Dam Safety Engineers before approving the Green Group permit.
There are increasing questions the agency set up to protect our environment failed to take Site 21 seriously enough. The last inspection by TCEQ dam safety engineers was in July 2014, three years before the dump was approved.
Also frightening, documents obtained by Dolcefino Consulting show the dam safety program waited a year to even send the results of the inspection to the folks who manage Site 21, the Plum Creek Conservation District. We also know Plum Creek never even responded to State Dam Safety Officials.
The secret government maps are considered a Homeland Security Secret, and we found residents along Alamo Drive who didn’t even know they lived closely downstream from the dam.
“I mean the trash is going to get infected with the water and it is just going to mess up everything for us out here,” said Felix Christian, who lives in the neighborhood south of the dam. “It is going to make us move from a property that we have built up and that we have paid for a minute now and you know we can’t afford that, we can’t afford to go somewhere else and to move on.”
Felix Christian says his neighbors are worried about the dump and what it will do to health and safety. His grandparents built the home he now shares with them.
“Whoever is trying to run the trash, whoever it is, it is not a healthy choice for anybody out there,” said Christian.
Opponents of the dump say the maps show the deadly consequences of the warnings they have been making.
“I was really disappointed in them not even discussing the high hazard dam,” said Frank Shugrue, a longtime opponent of Green Group’s plan. “I mean you heard it there. If it fails, there are lives at stake. And they are going to allow a permit that puts in a landfill upstream of this high hazard dam Site 21 is now being renovated just to come up to the high hazard standards.”
“It is not too late for the TCEQ to rethink this,” says Dolcefino. “The proposed 130 dump is next to a floodplain, virtually on top of an aquifer, and next door to the dam that if breached will inundate thousands of people. Why would the state be willing to take that chance. If something goes wrong, there will be outrage and serous financial consequences.”
Plum Creek Conservation District has the power to block the dump but took a neutral position in the permit fight. The members are appointed by the Caldwell County Commissioners Court, which has voted to stop the legal fight, and offer concessions to Green Group without getting any more environmental protections in return
Stay tuned. We follow the e-mail trail. What we found raises serious questions about Plum Creek’s maintainer of the dam
We have seen troubling e-mails that What we have discovered raises serious questions about Plum Creeks maintenance of the dam.
“The public has been kept in the dark for months by Commissioners Court about the Green Group dump”, says Dolcefino. “It is time for a public hearing to tell people the truth about the potential danger. Anything else is unacceptable. Caldwell County voters elect a new court in November.”