Conroe, June 20 – Montgomery County’s Judge, Craig Doyal, and Commissioners have provided conflict of interest disclosures which are woefully inadequate. The disclosures, which appear under the “Transparency” tab on the County’s beleaguered website, raise more questions than provide any answers, especially with respect to Doyal.
State law of conflict of interest disclosures
Chapter 176 of the Texas Local Government Code is a weak statutory provision that requires limited disclosures of conflicts of interest. It’s hardly any sort of “aspirational” mandate but rather a greatly-weakened law that the 79th Legislature (2005) passed after fierce lobbying and negotiations from the Texas Association of Counties and Texas Municipal League.
Section 176.003 of the Texas Local Government Code mandates that a County officer must file a conflicts disclosure with respect to a vendor if:
- the vendor enters into a contract with the local government entity or is considering doing so, and
- the vendor (includes its agents, officers, or employees) has an employment or business relationship with the local government officer or a family member thereof where the local government officer or family member receives more than $2,500 in a year, or has given that the local government officer or a family member gifts of a value of $100 or more, or has a family relationship with the local government officer.
Doyal is a 50%-50% business partner with Bobby Adams in a company named WS&G, L.L.C. Doyal filed a written disclosure of that relationship. Doyal also disclosed that he and Adams together, through WS&G, own a company named Superall Environmental.
Adams, however, is the Regional Vice President of Halff Associates, Inc., an engineering firm that has received over $2 million in County contracts and payments for the project management of the Tx-249 Taxway, the $73 million 3.6-mile Tx-249 extension, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway. Halff has other contracts and vendor relationships with Montgomery County.
Since Doyal has disclosed his ownership in WS&G, as of December 12, 2016, when Doyal finally filed the long-awaited disclosure, Doyal’s failure to disclose his business relationship with Halff Associates, Inc., is quite stark. Doyal clearly has a “business relationship” with adams who is an officer, employee, and agent of Halff. Nevertheless, there is no disclosure. One might question if Doyal’s refusal to file that disclosure, even after he has disclosed his WS&G relationship, is simply so that Doyal can continue to be one of the three votes to vote in favor of the Tx-249 Taxway and the $73 million Doyal is funneling to his favored political and legal defense fund contributors.
Doyal interestingly also disclosed a stock ownership in MHM Assurance, which, however, appears in no County records as having any sort of vendor relationship with Montgomery County. There may be some hidden relationship there as well, which Doyal, of course, is keeping secret from any sort of “transparency” disclosure.
Meador and Noack
Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador disclosed that his brother-in-law is the owner of Frontier Trees, which has previously bid on removal of trees from County rights of way.
Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack disclosed that is brother Brett Noack is a salesman for UTC-Carrier and that his uncle, Charles Hearn, is a part-time employee of Entech Civil Engineers. UTC has no County contracts. Entech has some County contracts before Noack became a County Commissioner on January 1, 2013.
Clark and Riley
Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley filed no disclosures.
Candidates: Keough and Bagley
The Golden Hammer asked each of the two candidates for positions on County Commissioners Court whether they have any business relationship with any County vendor or any business relationship with the County.
State Representative Mark Keough, who is running for Montgomery County Judge against Doyal, answered, “No I have none nor do I intend to.”
Montgomery County Hospital District Board member Bob Bagley, who is running for Precinct 4 County Commissioner against Clark, answered, “To the best of my knowledge, I have no relative employed by our county or receiving any money through contracts with the county. I personally have no business dealings with the County or any of its vendors. My position on the MoCo Hospital Board is a non paying position and no benefits are provided. I have no business partners dealing with the County government or any of its vendors.”