Fighting for Transparency & Fiscal Responsibility in Local Government

What Happened to Victoria Neave?

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Back in June State Representative Victoria Neave – Democrat from Dallas’ District 107 – was arrested on a DWI charge. At the time of her arrest she seemed contrite and apologetic. In her official statement She promised, “I will accept the consequences of my actions and will work to make this right.”
Well, where is she now? Court records show that Ms. Neave is doing everything she can to delay those consequences and obfuscate from justice. So far Ms. Neave has postponed her day in court three times, most recently pushing it off to October.  This is a far cry from accepting responsibility and making things right.

The good news for voters is that Ms. Neave has a very viable opponent. Mrs. Deanna Maria Metzger has been campaigning hard in the district to oust Neave. This contest is heating up and observers from around the state are keeping an eye on this race. It is, after all, one of the few swing districts in Texas and if Mrs. Metzger is successful she will swing this seat back to Republican control.

Meanwhile – will Ms. Neave ever face the music and take responsibility for her DWI? Will she continue to use her position as State Rep. to delay and obfuscate? Let us hope justice, or rehab, visit her soon.

UPDATE – Pictures – Grand Jury Hearing in the Gary Ritchie Case

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This morning Justice of the Peace Gary Ritchie appeared before a grand jury in a hearing regarding his court!

In July, DAT broke a story about JP Gary Ritchie and his court having an abysmal audit that documented multiple violations. Just one of those violations was the discovery that at least $19,000 in cash was missing. At least $16,000 of that cash was later found in a box at his court administrator’s home.

Today, Judge Ritchie appeared before a grand jury at the Tim Curry Justice Center. It remains to be seen whether the grand jury is hearing a case against Judge Ritchie or his court administrator Shelley Ables. In previous statements it appeared Judge Ritchie was ready to cast all the blame on his court administrator. That is a challenging position for Judge Ritchie to take. All the deposits and reconciliations DAT reviewed were signed by Ritchie himself. Regardless, state law holds the Judge liable for all activities in his court. Being a poor manager is not a defense of prosecution.

Whether the grand jury is hearing a case against Judge Ritchie or his court administrator is yet to be seen, but as we head into the March Primaries, this does not bode well for Judge Ritchie.

Interestingly enough, Judge Ritchie won’t be the only Judge in Tarrant County going into the primaries with ethical challenges. More on that soon…

Kaufman’s Costly and Illegal Scandal- Part 3

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For Part 1, click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE.

Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood, along with District Attorney Erleigh Wiley, have gone unchecked for years and have cost the county dearly.  The ticketing scandal we’ve previously reported on is even worse than it appears on the surface.

In 2014, Kaufman County entered into a contract with American Traffic Solutions that caused the county to act outside its legal authority – issuing illegal traffic citations to its citizens – and imposed a significant cost to county taxpayers. The unlawful contract also resulted in illegal financial transactions and a lack of transparency.

By championing the ATS contract, Wood violated the public trust. By failing to blow the whistle on the entire scandal, or investigate any wrongdoing by those involved, Wiley is derelict in her duty to Kaufman taxpayers.

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New Active Voter Fraud Investigation – Nueces County

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The Office of the Attorney General of Texas announced a third investigation in Nueces County. The Nueces County Clerk, Kara Sands, filed a complaint with the AG’s office regarding various election irregularities in the local municipal elections. Interestingly enough, similar to Tarrant County, the election which triggered the complaints was a water board election. That complaint has now resulted in three active criminal investigations.

I was honored to work alongside Nueces County Clerk Kara Sands during both the regular and special sessions on election reform bills. Kara was a pivotal stakeholder in getting SB5 and other bills through the Texas House and ultimately to be signed by the governor. She was instrumental in getting county clerks and election administrators on board for various aspects of the reforms, including the controversial repeal of the nursing home bill. She has seen first hand the results of these policies on the ground and knows how we need to secure our elections.

A news report of the most recent investigation in Nueces County can be seen HERE.

The OAG’s active investigations in Nueces County include both in person fraud as well as mail in ballot fraud.

With the passage of SB5, the addition of organized election fraud to the State RICO statute and other reforms passed this session, we are hopeful that over the next few years we can finally put an end to these types of activities.

Kaufman’s Costly and Illegal Scandal – Part 2

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For Part 1, click HERE.

County Judge Bruce Wood led Kaufman County into a costly contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) for traffic cameras. The contract resulted in illegal overreaches of authority in addition to costs over $180,000.

Traffic Cameras Were Unnecessary

Kaufman, like most other rural counties, has five law enforcement agencies to patrol its roads and enforce traffic laws. Each school zone is protected by local school police, city police, constables, deputy sheriffs, and the highway patrol. Not only was the ticketing contract with ATS unlawful, it would have added a redundant sixth layer of law enforcement.

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