Image: The barbecue trailers of Craig Doyal and Charlie Riley seen sitting behind the locked gate of the Commissioners Precinct 2 barnyard on August 23, 2017. The barnyard parking and storage area exceeds the quality and specification of most private storage facilities in the area.
Magnolia, August 24 – Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley have abused County government power by using the Commissioner Precinct 2 gated barnyard as a storage facility for their personal property including their barbecue trailers. A Precinct 2 County employee, who has requested anonymity, told The Golden Hammer that “Riley and Doyal have stored those trailers there as long as I can remember” and at least since 2013 (when Doyal was the Precinct 2 County Commissioner and Riley his Operations Manager).
Three employees within the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office have confirmed that Riley and Doyal do not reimburse Montgomery County for use of the gated, locked, and barb-wired storage area for the trailers and barbecue cookers and related equipment, which the two elected officials own personally. Riley and Doyal use the trailers and cookers during elections to drive to voting areas to feed voters and poll workers. Riley has used his trailer and barbecue cooker for other events as well.
Magnolia area Republican Precinct Chair, Ginger Russell said, “I have 3 trailers I would love to store there. How do I get on that program? I think it is wrong and an abuse of power for elected officials to use county property for their benefit and personal use. I am well aware of the cost of storing trailers.” This newspaper conducted a survey of storage lots within five miles of the Precinct 2 barnyard and learned that the cost of storage of such vehicles is approximately $40 to $50 per month.
Section 39.02 of the Texas Penal Code provides “A public servant commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit…he intentionally or knowingly misuses government property, services, personnel, or any thing of value belonging to the government that has come into the public servant’s custody or possession by virtue of the public servant’s office or employment.”
In addition to storage of the trailers and equipment, Doyal and Riley enjoy free maintenance services from Precinct 2 employees who maintain the trailers for the two elected officials. Additionally, three employees inside of Precinct 2 noted, under condition of anonymity, that Doyal’s daughter regularly receives automotive maintenance services on her motor vehicle inside of the Precinct 2 barn. Doyal’s daughter is an employee of Montgomery County whom County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport hired and sought, unsuccessfully, to promote to the position of Assistant County Treasurer earlier this year.
Use of government services in violation of the Penal Code constitutes an “abuse of official capacity” and “official misconduct” that would lead to removal from office if Doyal or Riley were convicted of such violations.
Doyal’s trailer is registered under his name, although the registration expired on January 31, 2015. Doyal, of course, would not seem to have much of a concern about keeping his vehicle’s registration up to date.
Neither Doyal nor Riley returned calls to their cellphones for comment.
After this newspaper published this story, Mr. Richard Gore, the former Precinct 2 employee, added the following information:
On April 25, 2017, Liberty County Commissioner Mike McCarty was convicted and removed from office for violating Section 39.02 of the Texas Penal Code after a three-day jury trial when the jury found that McCarty had used County employee services for personal use.
Liberty County is apparently one of the 253 counties in Texas – all outside of Montgomery County – where official misconduct constitutes prosecutable criminal activity.