Magnolia and Conroe, November 3 – Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley issued a statement today on social media in which he has intentionally misled voters, claiming he is not under a criminal investigation when he, in fact, knows that he is. Sadly, it’s another example of Riley parsing words to lie to the public in Clintonesque fashion.
On November 1, 2018, The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, reported that an ongoing criminal investigation has begun in the Public Integrity Division of Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon’s Office into numerous allegations against Riley. The investigation began when two Sheriff’s Deputies reported the circumstances to the District Attorney’s Office and also reported their direct observations of some of the circumstances. At least two certified peace officers who are employees of the District Attorney’s Office and three Assistant District Attorneys are involved in the investigation which will begin to present evidence to a Montgomery County Grand Jury next week. Please see “Riley’s Precinct 2 Commissioner’s Office In Disarray, As He Seeks Retribution Against Employees, Faces New Montgomery County Grand Jury Investigation,” The Golden Hammer, November 1, 2018.
Earlier today, this newspaper interviewed Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson. Sheriff Henderson explained that “While my Office is not investigating Riley at this time, I can’t speak for any other law enforcement agency.” Henderson also explained that Public Integrity investigations involving an elected official usually proceed inside of the District Attorney’s Office, unless there is a possible conflict of interest or a shortage of personnel for a particular investigation.
The District Attorney’s Office has its own investigators who are certified peace officers licensed under the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement just as other law enforcement officers are.
Early this afternoon, in an attempt to provide Riley with a balanced presentation of the circumstances involving the criminal investigation pending against him, this newspaper contacted Riley by text message to his personal cellphone and asked, “Commish, I’m doing a story that MCSO is not investigating you but only the DA. Would you like to comment?” Riley did not respond.
Approximately 20 minutes later, Riley attempted to pre-empt this newspaper’s story by making the following post on social media where the already-criminally-indicted Riley intentionally misled the public:
In actuality, Riley called Henderson. But that’s not the point.
As Riley has done on previous occasions, he took a small kernel of truth to try to defeat a much larger point of reality. While it’s correct the Sheriff’s Office is not involved in the investigation of Riley formally, because the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division’s investigators and prosecutors are taking the lead on this occasion, Riley is in fact under investigation for alleged criminal conduct (other than the criminal indictment he already faces under the Texas Open Meetings Act.)
The DA, not the Sheriff, is proceeding with the investigation of Riley.
Sheriff Henderson did not tell Riley whether or not Riley “will soon face a Grand Jury investigation” because, as the Sheriff made clear, Sheriff Henderson was not speaking for other law enforcement agencies, including, of course, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office.
Riley’s Republican Runoff Election opponent, Gregory Parker, who has remained critical of the Commissioner, said, “Instead of just admitting these simple facts to his supporters and the community at large, Commissioner Riley would rather parse words, mislead, and outright lie to the constituents of Precinct Two. While I reserve judgment for the judicial system, I am appalled that Commissioner Riley is accused of such actions. Either he is too arrogant or too ignorant to do the right thing by the taxpayers.”
The current allegations against Riley include the following actions with respect to County government employees and property, which he allegedly took since he became a County Commissioner on January 1, 2015:
- Riley ordered his vehicle shop employees to work on a personal boat and camper to provide repairs and upgraded equipment on them;
- Riley had his shop crew replace the front end of his recreational vehicle after he had smashed it one weekend;
- Riley ordered his vehicle technicians to do work on his and his wife Deanne Riley’s personal vehicles;
- Don Dean, the Operations Manager, took County mowing equipment to Dean’s ranch to use there;
- Riley had County employees install brand new County government tires on Riley’s personal truck;
- Riley ordered his shop crew to put brakes and a water pump on Riley’s personal truck;
- Riley arranged for his employees to do work on the four-wheelers of his children;
- During one County business day, Riley ordered Shop Foreman Chris Decuir, shop employee Mason Ramsey, and Riley’s nephew, who works for the County government in Riley’s Precinct Office, to change a tire on a private individual’s horse trailer when her vehicle stopped off of Nichols Sawmill Road in the Heritage Point neighborhood;
- Riley’s nephew, Brady Copeland, whom many of the employees refer to as “Shady Brady,” took a County government tractor to his home for a week to do dirt work at Copeland’s property;
- Riley allowed Copeland to take a commercial recycling scale, used at the County’s Precinct 2 recycling facility, to Copeland’s home for several months to weigh his children’s pigs as they raised them for the local fair competitions;
- Riley permitted one of his supervisory employees, Allen Fleming, to take home chain saws and tires for Fleming’s boat and recreational vehicle;
- Riley ordered his County employees to install a stack on a barbecue cooker, which was either Riley’s or former Sheriff (and Riley’s best friend) Tommy Gage’s;
- Riley ordered his shop foreman to go to Riley’s home to remove an exercise machine from the house and put it outside so that some company could haul the machine away;
- Riley ordered his crew to work on his garage door at his house;
- Riley permitted Copeland, his nephew, to take street signs and copper to scrap dealers to sell so he could have the cash;
- Riley permitted Copeland to take an aluminum guardrail to sell for cash at a scrap yard in Magnolia for cash.
Testimony before a Grand Jury is secret under Texas law. Therefore, specific proceedings before the Grand Jury will not be the subject of articles in this newspaper.