Image: Montgomery County website (www.mctx.org) which shows the telephone number showing up on called ID from which Metts and his campaign are using County government telephones to make campaign telephone calls.
New Caney and Conroe, May 5 – James Metts’ campaign, running out of campaign resources and desperate for help, has begun using Montgomery County government telephone lines to make campaign telephone calls during the day. The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has confirmed that the Metts campaign has made at least several dozen telephone calls during the past three days, Wednesday (May 2) through Friday (May 4), to prospective voters in the May 22 Republican Runoff Election in which they’ve solicited votes from the Montgomery County government telephone system.
Specifically, the caller ID, which shows up on the receiving telephone, is 936.521.8970, which is one of the two official telephone numbers of the Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Court located at 22354 Justice Drive, New Caney, Texas 77357. Metts rarely works or appears at the court office, since he operates a full-time logging company and is a full-time partner in Sweetie Pies flower shop and restaurant with his Juvenile Case Manager Diane Rogers, who receives a full-time County government salary for part-time work. Since Metts rarely holds court and does not move his case docket presently, it is clear that several of his employees in the court office are using the County telephone system to make campaign solicitation telephone calls for Metts during the County business day.
Use of the County telephone system to make telephone calls is a violation of several provisions of the Texas Election Code as well as prohibitions within the Texas Penal Code. This newspaper confirmed with Montgomery County law enforcement officials late Friday that use of the County telephone system for campaign purposes is a violation of Sections 3.5 and 3.7 of the Montgomery County Employee Policy Manual, which strictly prohibits use of County property or County time for political purposes.
This newspaper began our investigation of the calls received by many dozens of voters, who voted in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, after we received numerous anonymous complaints on The Golden Hammer‘s tip line. On Friday, May 4, 2018, The Golden Hammer confirmed several telephone calls made from the County telephone system in Metts’ County office to private telephone numbers in Commissioners Precinct 4 where Metts is attempting to challenge Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark in the Republican Runoff Election.
The individuals, all of whom requested anonymity for fear of reprisal from Metts and his supporters, spoke with this newspaper and confirmed that a live (as opposed to recorded) female asked them to vote for James Metts in the May 22 Republican Runoff Election and told them the dates and times of Early Voting. Those individuals who have caller ID on their telephones all received the calls from 936.521.8970.
Metts’ live-in girlfriend, Rogers, receives a paycheck for working in the JP 4 office as Metts’ direct report Juvenile Court Coordinator. Rogers usually only works approximately four hours each day, although she receives full-time compensation and benefits from the County taxpayers. Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden’s mother, Jerry Sue Hayden, is also an employee of Metts in the Court office. The Haydens are close political allies of Metts.
Metts also hired his first cousin, Jane Metts Landis, to work in the JP court office. Additionally, Metts has arranged for Jamie Nash to receive compensation from the taxpayers as Metts’ communications director, an odd position for any court to have. Nash publishes the Montgomery County Police Reporter, a private blog, and assists Metts with political activities from Metts’ court office.
As a result, there are a number of people working in Metts’ court office who could be the individuals making the telephone calls illegally for Metts’ campaign. Most of those aforementioned individuals are largely idle due to the failure of Metts’ JP court to take care of its court docket.
Metts has faces substantial legal troubles in the recent past. Metts caused County taxpayers to suffer payment of a $45,000 settlement to a former County employee Metts terminated after she refused to have sex with him. That employee sued the County government for Metts’ sexual harassment, obtained a favorable finding from the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commissioner that made written findings against Metts, and eventually settled. Metts recently settled a lawsuit in Montgomery County for his trespass onto private property where he illegally clear-cut over 540 pine trees without permission or authority from the property owner.
Metts has at least one major unpaid judgment against him. Metts owes approximately $173,167.26 to Mustang Tractor & Equipment, which obtained a Final Judgment against the beleaguered JP on October 20, 1999, in the 281st District Court of Harris County, Texas. The original judgment was for $61,845.45, but accumulated post judgment interest of approximately $111,321.81, yields the full judgment amount of $173,167.26.
Metts also owes a substantial amount of money to the United States Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, on a federal tax lien that has existed for almost 20 years. In 2002, Metts was in a terrible accident that he caused when he pulled his logging truck out onto a major road without looking for oncoming traffic. A gentleman in another vehicle died as a result of the accidence. Metts settled the wrongful death lawsuit out of court several years later.
Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley lost the possibility of an endorsement of the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Association after several members of the esteemed association observed that Riley referred to his County government email address as his contact information in his re-election campaign literature. Metts has a “Judge James Metts” social media page in which he lists his court office address and telephone number as his contacts while having campaign propaganda filling most of the rest of the page.
Metts did not return telephone calls to his court office or to his private mobile telephone seeking comment.
After initial publication of this article, reader Connie McClellan-Dyess publicly confirmed she received three of the calls.