Image: Conroe City Councilman Duane Ham, May 30, 2017.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: This story is the second part of our “redux” series running on Monday, August 28, 2017. The story, which we published on May 31, 2017, is the fourth most popular story in the history of this newspaper and began the celebrated series exposing the corruption and vicious political methods of County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport and her husband local political boss Marc Davenport. The series on the Davenports now involves more than twenty parts. If reform of the Montgomery County government is to occur, the Davenports should be no where near our County government.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: THIS STORY CONTAINS SOME UGLY PROFANITY IN IT. PARENTS SHOULD TAKE CARE TO READ THIS STORY ALONG WITH THEIR CHILDREN, AS SOME PARTS OF THE LANGUAGE ARE UNSUITABLE FOR MINORS.
Conroe, May 31 – In a series of threats against his and his wife’s perceived political enemies, local political consultant Marc Davenport threatened Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal during a telephone call on the morning of Friday, May 26, 2017, that Doyal couldn’t continue to be the friend of Conroe City Councilman Duane Ham, or Davenport would order Davenport’s political consultant clients not to support Doyal in Doyal’s re-election bid for County Judge in 2018. Doyal informed Ham, his long time political ally who formed the Texas Conservative Tea Party Coalition in 2014 which was instrumental in Doyal’s electoral victory, that Doyal could not attend Ham’s upcoming political fundraiser on Thursday, June 1, for fear of reprisal from the Davenports and Marc Davenport’s political consulting clients, several of whom are law enforcement leaders.
The communications from both Stephanne Davenport, who is the elected Montgomery County Treasurer, and Marc Davenport, her husband and a political consultant, to Ham are childish. They reflect attempts at intimidation of Ham, a city councilman, and Doyal, the County Judge.
Ham told The Golden Hammer, “The Davenports’ threats against County Judge Craig Doyal are an insult to the law enforcement community and the citizens.” That the Davenports believe they, in response to petty personal feuds with others, can dictate the actions of Davenport’s political consulting clients, who include Sheriff Rand Henderson, Precinct 4 Constable Kenneth “Rowdy” Hayden, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack, Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts, and Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace candidate Jason Dunn (who is running to fill Metts’ seat which Metts is vacating), is certainly troubling.
The Davenports not only seem to mix their childish personal vendettas with local politics, but they also seem to mix their local politics with the behavior they demand of leaders of the local law enforcement community. On both counts, the behavior is unacceptable to a government that should be responsive to the citizens rather than petulant power-grabbers.
This type of behavior may explain a lot about why Montgomery County is well known across the State of Texas for terrible County government and a complete absence of ethics in the County’s operations at the top levels.
The “junior high school-ish” trouble brews
Trouble began to brew last Thursday, May 25, at a Grand Opening Event for Lone Star Radio in Conroe. Ham, along with many other political people, attended the afternoon event in downtown Conroe. Doyal, his wife Amy Doyal, local photographer Nathan Arrazate, political consultant Melanie Schoettle, Conroe City Councilman Duke Coon, Kristin Leggett (who previously worked at KSTAR Radio), and several others attended the party. Doyal, sporting his facial scars, briefly spoke on the radio station to congratulate the station managers.County Judge Craig Doyal speaking on Lone Star Radio on May 25, 2017, during a party at the radio station where the trouble continued…
Ham arrived at the Conroe event, and people there observed him speaking with Schoettle and another lady with whom Marc Davenport had some sort of relationship with a few years back. Stephanne Davenport heard that Ham walked into a local Conroe bar around the time of the radio station event with Schoettle and another lady, whom The Golden Hammer will call “Mrs. X.”
Stephanne Davenport didn’t like what she saw and she also didn’t like some other comments which she attributed to Ham, who dared to criticize the Davenports. At 7:17 p.m., Stephanne Davenport sent a text message to Ham in which she drew a line in the sand in order to express her hatred towards Schoettle and Mrs. X:
“So Duane, Melanie and…[Mrs. X] walk into a bar. Dead. To. Me. Steph”
“Ok Steph I’m taking it your mad at me! You call with a problem I try to fix the problem and your pissed at me? Duane”
Montgomery County Treasurer Davenport finally replied,
“Not mad. Done. You can call Marc if you need. Our team doesn’t roll with those who roll with the haters. Steph”
Later that evening, Thursday, May 25, Marc Davenport spoke with Ham by telephone. The conversation did not progress too well. During the telephone conversation, Davenport began screaming at Ham and accused Ham of colluding with Marc and Stephanne Davenport’s political enemies. Ham responded, “Well, you talk to Yollick.” Ham accused Davenport of “blackmail.” At that point in time Marc Davenport screamed a phrase described below and hung up. Davenport text messaged Ham and described the entire conversation,
“You [Ham] accused me [Marc Davenport] of collusion with yollick. I told you to go f–k your self and hung up. If you don’t take pictures of you f–king yourself and send them to me there will be nothing to blackmail you with. Melanie [Schoettle], Nathan [Arrazate], Margie [Taylor, a public relations consultant], Gary [Henson, a GOP activist and friend of Ham’s], Kristin [Leggett] are a constant source of undermining. You feeding these people and empowering them to continue to try to weaken is the issue. If you act like one of them you will be treated like one of them. Mark”
Marc Davenport issues a threat to County Judge Craig Doyal
Marc Davenport has a close relationship with County Judge Doyal. Doyal hired Davenport to represent Doyal to negotiate a November 2015 road bond referendum. As a result, Doyal and Davenport are co-defendants in the Texas Open Meetings Act prosecution by the State of Texas pending before the Beaumont Court of Appeals. Doyal constantly reminds the public how much he supports Stephanne Davenport’s work as County Treasurer. That makes a lot of sense, because Stephanne Davenport employs Doyal’s daughter as the payroll coordinator in the Treasurer’s Office. Doyal contributes substantial funds to Stephanne Davenport’s campaign.
Marc Davenport often brags about his control of Montgomery County’s local law enforcement community. He has told several people that he has access to criminal investigation files. Marc Davenport demands strict loyalty from his political consultant clients and will not tolerate the slightest deviation from that fealty.
Therefore, when Marc Davenport called Craig Doyal on Friday, May 26, 2017, in order to threaten Doyal, Doyal took the threat quite seriously.
Marc Davenport told Doyal that the County Judge could no longer be friends with Ham regardless of how instrumental Ham was in Doyal’s 2014 election to the position of County Judge. Davenport told Doyal that Constable Hayden, Sheriff Henderson, Judge Metts, and Judge Mack would not continue to support Doyal if Doyal continued his personal and political friendship with Ham. Marc Davenport told Doyal, and Doyal repeated the comments to Ham, that Davenport would order Hayden, Henderson, Metts, and Mack, all four individuals who are law enforcement leaders, that they could not attend Ham’s political fundraiser on Thursday, June 1.
Ham said to The Golden Hammer, “Davenport is running me down quietly, trying to blackmail me to kiss his a–. That’s not going to happen. Are we in elementary school again?”
Doyal tells Ham
Doyal apologized to Ham on Friday, May 26, and told Ham that he couldn’t attend Ham’s June 1 fundraiser as a result of Marc Davenport’s threat. Doyal expressed his concern primarily that he needs the support of Precinct 4 Constable Hayden, who is a very popular law enforcement officer and politician in East Montgomery County, in order to win re-election.
Ham expressed his deep disappointment that Doyal did not plan to attend the June 1 fundraiser. Ham continues to consider Doyal a close friend and political ally despite Doyal’s reaction, as Ham told The Golden Hammer.
Are the Davenports thugs?
Ham commented in an exclusive interview with The Golden Hammer, “The Davenports’ threats against County Judge Craig Doyal are an insult to the law enforcement community and the citizens.”
In March, 2016, a local politician, Will Metcalf, who serves in the Texas Legislature as a representative from Conroe, hired a lady away from another local radio station to become his district director. That lady was Mrs. X. When the Davenports heard that Metcalf intended to hire Mrs. X, they contacted Metcalf and threatened him with political payback. Even though Mrs. X had already resigned from her other job to work for Metcalf, Metcalf informed Mrs. X that he wouldn’t permit her to begin work. Mrs. X never got to begin her employment and had to find another job instead.
When the citizens elected Hayden, Henderson, Mack, Metts, and Stephanne Davenport, they elected them to serve the citizens of Montgomery County. It’s frightening that they seemingly bow to the will of a local political consultant whom they pay for his services.
In the serious efforts to reform the Montgomery County government to reduce government spending drastically, to bring ethics reform, to bring purchasing reform, and to bring transparency, it’s very possible that the actions of Marc Davenport and Stephanne Davenport, their childish behavior, and their seemingly improper influence on local law enforcement officials are issues that voters must address in order to achieve real reform.
On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at approximately 4 p.m., Eric Yollick, Publisher of The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, called the office of Doyal to ask for a comment about this story. jim fredricks, Doyal’s “chief of staff,” answered the telephone. Yollick spoke with fredricks and asked if he would please ask Doyal to return the call and left the telephone number. fredricks asked what the call was about and Yollick responded that he’d need to discuss this matter with Doyal directly. Doyal never returned the telephone call.