Saturday, January 05, 2008

Federal corruption investigation includes Harris County Jail contracts among targets

The local ABC station in Houston reports that an FBI corruption investigation "that could become public in a matter of weeks" has resulted in subpoenas in Harris County "looking for records of dealings with two companies and contractors with close ties to a slew of local politicians involved in the creation of city fire stations, county jails and even our football stadium."

There's no additional information in the story about possible connections to county jails beyond this one, tantalizing mention. But we've seen scandals take down Sheriffs in Dallas, Bexar and Potter Counties regarding allegedly improper or bribe-influenced commissary contracts, so it'll be interesting to see which contracts related to county jails wind up being wrapped into the investigation.

It wasn't that long ago that the Cameron County Sheriff was convicted of escorting drug smugglers through his county, and San Antonio city council members went to prison for bribe taking. With Harris County added to the list of ongoing federal corruption investigations in Dallas and El Paso, not to mention the Laredo police chief indicted for bribery and the Bexar Sheriff having resigned last year over alleged bribe taking, it seems like we're witnessing a rash of increasingly serioius corruption in Texas - often regarding government's criminal justice functions - that's becoming increasingly hard to ignore.

I generally hesitate to attribute policy positions I disagree with to "corruption," but taking that stance over the last couple of years has begun to make me feel rather naive.

h/t to BlogHouston

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The days of the "wild west" are over. It is about time public officials begin to adhere to the same standards of integrity as the rest of us are required to do.

These investigations, indictments and prison sentences should send a message that it is OK to put public service ahead of personal enrichment.

Anonymous said...

What took them so long?

Anonymous said...

This case would never have come to light if it wasn't for "snitchin".

Anonymous said...

Does it count as "snitchin" when the information supports society rather than the government?

Seems to me there is a difference between snitchin for personal gain and telling the truth for the benefit of one's fellow man.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Are you saying the feds gave someone leniency for testimony, 10:01? Who? Snitch is not the same thing as a "witness."

Anonymous said...

2 of Houston former mayor Lee Brown's staff got slam dunked by the Fed a year or so ago; and now suddenly all these subpoena's get served?
Do the math....they both got relatively light sentences.

Anonymous said...

"Brown's former chief of staff, Oliver Spellman, also pleaded guilty to bribery and received probation. Both Spellman and McGilbra cooperated with authorities and provided testimony in a trial that capped a yearslong federal public corruption probe of a politically connected businessman that began in Cleveland and spread to New Orleans and Houston."
If you see the crime and testify, you're a witness; if you're a part of the crime and testify, you's a Snitch.

Anonymous said...

In San Antonio several of the "higher ups" in jail administration were standing outside of the Grand Jury Room(one can only assume they were there to testify). So far there has been no indictments except that of the sheriff, and his wife (certianly used as leverage). If you knew SA you would know ... these folks were snitches not testifiers.

Anonymous said...

I for one am glad the Feds are looking at Harris Co. With the DA getting caught in an affair with his secretary; lets look at the Sheriff. Sheriff Tommy Thomas's son has committed several felonies and even shot a man, but the man did not die, therefore no charges were brought against him!!! How insane is this?

From what I gather from the "Chronicle" the Sheriff and DA are very close friends and always covered for each other. Boy what an ugly picture this paints for Harris County. The ADA should not be allowed to go into the Judges chamber before a trial is begun and then come with the Judge in conversation and laughter and delay the days court docket, but this also happens. Harris Co.needs a good house cleaning and maybe this will be the start of some reason to not consider that County as the most corrupt in Texas.

Anonymous said...

When are people going to start looking at Family Courts and the monies that are donated to their campaign funds and the attorneys that are still to this day arguing HUGE cases in front of.

People don't care children are just numbers as long as they get their cut who cares!

THey never get caught and they never will.

Harris County is the most corrupt county in TX.

Anonymous said...

When are people going to start looking at Family Courts and the monies that are donated to their campaign funds and the attorneys that are still to this day arguing HUGE cases in front of.

People don't care children are just numbers as long as they get their cut who cares!

THey never get caught and they never will.

Harris County is the most corrupt county in TX.

Anonymous said...

When are people going to start looking at Family Courts and the monies that are donated to their campaign funds and the attorneys that are still to this day arguing HUGE cases in front of.

People don't care children are just numbers as long as they get their cut who cares!

THey never get caught and they never will.

Harris County is the most corrupt county in TX.

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