You can look all the way back to the Bible and find stories of brother versus brother, but more recently sibling rivalries end up getting hashed out in sports, or courtrooms.
This week the brothers Hotze will square off in front of Harris County Judge Fredericka Phillips for control of their father’s company.
Mark, Richard and Steve Hotze are accused of trying to oust their brothers Bruce and David to gain control of Compressor Engineering Corporation, the company their dad Ernest Hotze founded back in 1964.
Court documents accuse Mark, Richard and Steve of breach of fiduciary duties and several types of fraud.
Representing the three brothers is John Zavitsanos, a Democrat whose law firm was the top contributor to Judge Phillips’ 2016 campaign. That doesn’t jive with Steve Hotze’s rhetoric of conservative and republican Christian values.
“If family values mean gypping your brothers out of the family company, I guess Steve Hotze could be called a family man,” said Wayne Dolcefino, president of Dolcefino Consulting. “Steve Hotze carries a lot of weight in Texas conservative circles. I guess they don’t know him like his own family knows him. I think it’s time Texans shined a bright light on him to see if he practices what he preaches.”
Thursday’s hearing starts at 9am in Harris County District Court.
Make sure to pick up a copy of the Houston Chronicle or read it online to see columnist Ken Hoffman’s great profile on Wayne Dolcefino:
He left the station in 2012, after nearly three decades, winning literally dozens of local Emmy Awards for rooting out corruption and exposing wasteful spending. And making loyal fans and powerful enemies along the way. It’s part of the deal.
“I am president of a thriving communications firm called Dolcefino Consulting. We are a war time company doing investigations, media and political work,” he said.
Does he miss being on TV news?
“I miss it a lot, but it is pretty clear that the days of real investigative reporting on Houston TV are over, not because of the journalists, but because the TV stations that used to pride themselves on exposing corruption got plain chicken,” he said.
“My company isn’t chicken, because I’m the boss.” READ THE REST
Two weeks ago, members of the Waller County Commissioners Court sent a message to the embattled Sheriff Glenn Smith.
The Sheriff said no.
One of the reasons was the theft of a machine gun and 7 other weapons from the Sheriff’s car.
An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting found lots of discrepancies in the gun inventory. Two Commissioners demanded an audit, and then got fighting mad when the auditor waited almost a
year to even start it.
Now that audit is public.
In our view, it is shocking for the abject failure to track how many weapons are missing and why?
The Waller County Auditor’s spent three days counting the weapons that were presented to them. Finding where and when the weapons were bought were not even considered.
In other words, let’s just start over.
The Sheriff agreed to an inventory once a year, and the auditor will do an inventory too. The Auditor and Sheriff exchanged congratulations for how well they all got along.
“This is a joke, and I am glad I read it before I ate dinner”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of the Investigative Communications Firm that exposed gun troubles 14 months ago.
“The public had a right to know whether the receipts for guns, and the trades for cooler more expensive guns all match up to the inventory. They should have tracked the weapons purchases
for years because they have the receipts. The public also deserves a full accounting of the status of the big Sheriff gun theft. How hard is he looking for that machine gun?”
The audit results come out as Waller County prepares for a possible lawsuit over the sex acts performed when a male inmate was allowed to wander among the female inmate cells. Up to
six jail employees have reportedly been fired or have resigned in the wake of jail scandals, including the Sandra Bland case.
Waller County taxpayers should read what they got for themselves.sheriff audit
Remember being a kid and thinking the moon was made of green cheese?
Of course, it wasn’t.
It’s just a fantasy – like the list of hundreds of supporters on JR Moon’s campaign website in his race to be Mayor of Pasadena.
Last week, Dolcefino Consulting busted Mr. Moon. We discovered a number of folks on the list were dead, some of them for several years.
The candidate suggested we stumbled upon clerical errors – an honest mistake. He would not share the contact information for the rest of his list.
Now we know why!
Outside of the deceased on Moon’s list, we have found at least a dozen names of totally alive people who say they don’t support him either. And this number continues to rise.
What’s worse? Some of these Pasadena voters say they called Moon, telling him personally to take their names off his list. They are still waiting.
“If Mr. Moon knowingly inflated his level of support on his website, this is no longer an oops moment. It’s intentional and raises an ethics problem Moon should address immediately,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
Pasadena voters have a right to know. Truth matters.
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?