Monday morning District Attorney Brett Ligon addressed Commissioner’s Court on the investigation by both the FBI and the Montgomery County Grand Jury. Although by law he could not got into detail on what was discussed in the Grand Jury he did give Commissioner’s some advise on how to handle things in the future.
Ligon stated that he learned the FBI had started and investigation and contacted them to see if the District Attorney’s Office needed to assist. Once the FBI completed their investigation with no charges they informed Ligon it might be beneficial for his office to look into the allegations also. When the District Attorney’s Office requested copies of documents that the Federal Government had used to reach their decision Ligon was met with resistance. Due to it being a Federal investigation the Federal Government would not release the documents. Ligon appealed to higher ups within the Justice Department with the same resistance. The next step would have been Attorney General Eric Holder, a step Ligon didn’t take.
Most of the investigation dealt with the use of taxpayer money for the Joe Corley Detention Facility and it’s construction. In addition was the Montgomery County Mental Health Unit. Not just how it was built but the checks and balances that were skirted around to get it going.
Two of the twelve Grand Jurors then read a letter to Commissioners on how they felt about what they discovered. Even though there was nothing illegal found by either the FBI or the Grand Jury several procedures were side stepped.
“We expect more from our elected county officials,” said the grand juror.
“It has become apparent that although there were no actionable criminal charges, ethical violations, mismanagement and lack of financial oversight were present,” the grand juror said.
The grand juror said, “The lack of ethics in decision making, failure to disclose personal relationships, and pure disregard for best practices and above board dealing was very upsetting to each of us.”
Director of Infrastructure Mark Bosma told Commissioners it was impossible for a full set of drawings to be complete within just a few days after signing a contract. He also questioned the reason for needing the developer at over $6 million dollars.
BELOW IS THE LETTER FROM THE GRAND JURY
GRAND JURY LETTER
March 28, 2013
To the Commissioners Court and fellow Montgomery County citizens:
This Grand Jury of Montgomery County, Texas, having completed its term would like to relay the following information:
Over the last several months, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office presented volumes of testimony, numerous witnesses, thousands of documents and evidence concerning potential criminal conduct in the development, construction and financing of the Joe Corley facility and the Mental Health facility. Our sole job as the Grand Jury was to review this evidence and determine whether probable cause existed to indict for criminal conduct. After reviewing the evidence and applicable law, it has become apparent that although there were no actionable criminal charges, ethical violations, mismanagement and lack of financial oversight was present.
As 12 citizens of Montgomery County, Texas, the best way for us to express our sincere disappointment in the conduct of the Commissioners Court and to try to change your dealings was to author this letter to you to be presented in a public forum so that our community would know that this matter was given every attention. The lack of ethics in decision making, failure to disclose personal relationships, and pure disregard for best practices and above board dealing was very upsetting to each of us. We expect more from our elected county officials and hope that major changes in how the court functions and how individual commissioners handle personal relationships are made immediately. The County Judge and Commissioners Court should continuously train in ethics and best practices to ensure that these violations do not reoccur.
We strongly challenge our Commissioners Court to immediately consider and adopt ethical guidelines that prohibit members of this Court and other county employees from conducting personal business with vendors, developers, architects and engineers currently engaged in the pursuit of county business. This simple ethical practice avoids the appearance of impropriety and the easy lure of inappropriate financial dealings.
Our county officials should not profit on the backs of their constituents.
Grand Jury of the 410th District Court
BRETT LIGON AND COMMISSIONER NOACK RESPOND TO THE INVESTIGATION
BRETT LIGON ADDRESSES COMMISSIONERS
DIRECTOR OF INFRASTRUCTURE MARK BOSMA EXPLAINS WHAT HE DISCOVERED AFTER LOOKING INTO THE CONTRACTS AND DEALINGS WITH THE JOE CORLEY DETENTION CENTER AND THE MENTAL HEALTH UNIT
GRAND JUROR READS THE LETTER TO COMMISSIONERS DRAFTED BY THE 12-MEMBER GRAND JURY.