Image: Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, the “People’s Judge.”
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, November 26 – Four days ago, on November 22, 2019, Montgomery County celebrated Montgomery County Adoption Day. The Montgomery County Commissioners Court unanimously passed a Proclamation declaring Montgomery County Adoption Day during the November 19 meeting.
The Proclamation properly recognized the important of adoptions and foster parents and families. It is a Proclamation about which all Montgomery County citizens should be proud.
The Proclamation marks a substantial change in the Montgomery County government, especially since County Judge Mark Keough took office on January 1, 2019. In this instance, the change seems to be that the County Judge, his staff, and others now actually read Proclamations and resolutions before they vote for them!
Two years ago, one of the ugliest political incidents in County history occurred when the Commissioners Court blindly adopted a resolution related to Adoption Day (sadly). The 2019 Proclamation follows.
Disgraced former Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal authored and sponsored a resolution supporting transgender adoptions in defiance of the Republican Party of Texas Platform at the November 14, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting. Incredibly, the four County Commissioners then blindly voted unanimously to adopt Doyal’s bizarre language in two resolutions supporting Montgomery County adoptions.
In support of “Montgomery County Adoption Day” and “Montgomery County Adoption Month,” Doyal authored and sponsored two resolutions both of which contained the following language:
“WHEREAS, there are no restrictions on who can adopt based on race, ethnicity, religious, sexual orientation or expression, gender identity or marital status; and…”
Many adoption organizations certainly do not permit adoptions for reasons of transgender behavior or gender identity. There is pending litigation in courts around the United States over whether transgender individuals have a right to adopt under the federal law. Only one federal appellate court has ruled on the issue.
Republican Party Platform
Doyal’s resolution defies several planks of the Republican Party Platform adopted at the 2016 Republican Party of Texas Convention.
The Republican Party Platform contains an anti-transgender plank: “We should prohibit entities and their affiliates that contradict our beliefs or teach alternate lifestyles including homosexuality, transgender and other non-traditional lifestyles as normal.” The Platform also contains a “Gender Identity” Plank which provides, “We urge the enactment of legislation addressing individuals’ use of bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that correspond with their biologically determined sex.”
The Platform also addresses Doyal’s transgender adoption issue head-on: “We oppose any government agency from forcing faith-based adoption or foster care organizations to place children with same-sex couples.”
B. Hussein Obama’s position on the issue
Former President B. Hussein Obama’s position on the transgender adoption issue is almost identical to Doyal’s. In April, 2015, President Obama, very much like County Judge Doyal, issued a presidential proclamation for National Foster Care Month, in which Obama proclaimed almost identically to Doyal:
“With so many children waiting for loving homes, it is important to ensure all qualified caregivers have the opportunity to serve as foster or adoptive parents, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.” (Emphasis added.)
Many experts disagree with the Doyal-Obama position on transgender adoption
Many experts disagree with the Doyal-Obama position on transgender adoption. Dr. James Dobson, President of Focus on the Family, a national conservative organization, wrote in a commentary in Time in 2006, “Love alone is not enough to guarantee healthy growth and development…The two most loving women in the world cannot provide a daddy for a little boy, any more than the two most loving men can be complete role models for a little girl.”
Bob Bagley, who has served on the Montgomery County Hospital District Board of Directors and is running for Precinct 4 County Commissioner, has been involved with social issues for several decades. Bagley told The Golden Hammer, “I’m a single man. My heart is with these children. I raised my three daughters mostly as a single dad. I think children need both a male and a female parent. God’s way is for a man and a woman to raise a child. Foster children especially need a sound family environment to help heal them and help them be able to grow.”
Bagley further explained that the majority of children who end up as the victims of sex trafficking, against which Bagley has fought for many years, have come from families where there is a missing father from the household to teach the children how men should treat women with respect.
Denise Schick of the Academic Council of the International Children’s Rights Institute wrote about her own experience as a child with a transgender father:
“I am one of those children. I was raised by a transgender father.
“I can testify to the emotional strain and confusion that my father’s life played in my sexual and gender identity. I sought out our neighbors for a foster father. Many times I pretended that one of my uncles or a friend’s father was my make-believe father.
“I was so hungry for my father; a transgender “mom” would not fit that need no matter how badly the adult wished it to.
“My father experimented with my make-up and clothes, and by 7th grade I had decided that alcohol was the easiest method to numb my own pain. By the beginning of high school, I wondered if life was worth living.
“There is nothing more painful for a daughter than to watch her dad put on a bra or have him wear your clothes. No daughter should have to place her clothes in her dresser drawers by a code so she can know if he had been pawing through her underclothes.
“It is not fair or healthy for a daughter to feel guilty about her developing body, or about becoming a woman. But in today’s world we encourage children to accept their parent’s sexual desires. We prioritize adult’s sexual preferences ahead of what is best for their children.
“As a culture we are very willing to address the emotional distress, isolation and other negative issues of people who come out as transgender adults. But we have not even begun to discuss the issues involved and the impact this has on their wives and children.
“I’m begging America to wake up to what is being done for the sake of society and for children worldwide! This cultural celebration of transgenderism, for me as a daughter of a transgender father, is misguided and insensitive.”
Former CPS Board President Terri Jaggers, who also ran a nonprofit adoption organization, apologized to the community, to Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, and to the entire Montgomery County Commissioners Court for the wording of the Montgomery County Adoption Day and Montgomery County Adoption Month resolutions which she had submitted to Doyal for consideration during the Tuesday, November 14, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting. The two resolutions both contained language that condoned adoptions with “no restrictions” including those by transgender parents.
Jaggers acknowledged that Montgomery County is a “conservative place” and that this community does not condone transgender adoptions. For full coverage of the Commissioners Court resolutions, which the Court passed unanimously twice, please see “Doyal Defies GOP Platform, Supports Transgender Adoptions, Tricks Commissioners Court to Follow,” The Golden Hammer, November 16, 2017. Jaggers had been a close political supporter of Doyal for many years. She actively campaigned for Doyal during the 2014 Republican Primary Election and Republican Runoff Election when Doyal ran against Mark Bosma for the open seat from which former County Judge Alan B. Sadler retired.
Jaggers explained that she drafted the two proposed proclamations and borrowed the language from similar proclamations adopted in other states. Her apology was very kindhearted and seemed utterly sincere. Jaggers does good work to promote adoptions in Montgomery County. Adoptions are certainly critical to fostering and rearing children with the unconditional love which they all deserve.
Jaggers also explained that she had submitted the two proposed proclamations to the County Judge’s Office near the deadline, which was Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at 10 a.m.
The failure of Doyal and the four members of the Commissioners Court, however, to catch the problem raised very serious concerns. There were no less than sixteen (16) steps along the way where the five public servants or their staffs should have caught the serious problem in the two proposed proclamations.
PROBLEM STEPS #1 and #2: When Jaggers submitted the two proclamations, Doyal’s two secretaries, Sylvia Olszowy and Patti Werner, should have caught the obvious problem that the proposed resolutions contained language that clearly violated the values of this community and also violated several Planks of the Republican Party Platform. Those two failures (one for each proclamation) clearly emanate from Doyal’s own disregard for the Republican Party Platform.
PROBLEM STEPS #3 and #4: Doyal has a “chief of staff,” jim fredricks, who receives $118,000 per year in annual salary, plus County benefits of approximately $47,554, for total annual compensation of approximately $165,554. For that hefty compensation, fredricks ought to have reviewed the two proclamations. fredricks’ wife is a former Vice Chair of the Republican Party of Texas and serves on the State Republican Executive Committee. Therefore, both fredricks and his wife, who claim they are Republicans, should have a thorough knowledge of the Republican Party Platform. fredricks is rarely in the office, however, due to his heavy napping schedule and outside employment. Without question, fredricks should have reviewed the proposed resolutions and caught the language offensive to Republican principles before the Commissioners Court Agenda became official.
PROBLEM STEPS #5 and #6: Doyal happens to be the County Judge. He’s attempted to do that job now for almost three years, despite his extensive golf obligations which keep him away most of the work week. Doyal takes “credit” for the Commissioners Court Agenda and specifically sponsored the two resolutions on the agenda. Doyal should also have read the resolutions and caught the problem. It would have been quite easy to remove a few words from the one recital so that it merely read, “WHEREAS, there are no restrictions on who can adopt based on race, ethnicity, religion, or marital status; and”.
PROBLEM STEPS #7 and #8: After Olszowy posted the Agenda and put it online, there are five individuals who should have read the proposed proclamations prior to the November 14 Commissioners Court meeting. Olszowy posted the Agenda one day early, on November 9, 2017. Therefore, all five of the public servants had five full days, including a weekend, to read the items on the agenda, including the backup material, which Olszowy had provided in an easy-to-use link.
PROBLEM STEPS #9 and #10: When the Commissioners Court reached the Agenda items during the meeting at approximately 9:43 a.m., Tuesday, November 14, 2017, a young lawyer Stephen Bane (sp. ?) actually read the two proposed proclamations out loud. During the reading of the first proclamation – for Montgomery County Adoption Day – the Publisher of The Golden Hammer most certainly noticed the bizarre language supporting transgender adoptions and also noticed that the five members of the Commissioners Court appeared semi-comatose during the meeting. When Bane read the almost identical wording in the second proclamation – for Montgomery County Adoption Month – the Publisher of The Golden Hammer has to admit he almost fell out of his seat. Of course, Doyal does not permit citizen input during the Commissioners Court, because he seems to fear public discussion. Therefore, the Commissioners Court and County Judge received no help. Of course, there were also about three dozen County employees sitting in the room during the reading of the two proclamations.
PROBLEM STEPS #11, #12, #13 and #14: Immediately after the reading of the two proclamations, one County Commissioner made the motion to pass the Montgomery County Adoption Day Proclamation, which another County Commissioner then seconded. Doyal asked if there was any discussion, a process which would have required the five of them to awaken. There was none. Instead, a quick vote led to unanimous adoption of the first of the two Proclamations. Then a Commissioner moved to pass the second Proclamation also with the transgender wording in it. That time, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador showed his support for transgender adoptions by seconding the motion. Doyal asked again if there was any discussion, and, without any discussion, the Commissioners Court voted again to adopt the bizarre Proclamations.
PROBLEM STEPS #15 and #16: Incredibly, there was one more step for each Proclamation where the entire Commissioners Court obviously could have stopped the approval process for two Proclamations that contained language abhorrent to the values of the Montgomery County community. Each and every member of the Commissioners Court signed each of the two Proclamations obviously in a process which did not include reading what they were signing!
The Jaggers mess
Jaggers, the former President of the Montgomery County Child Welfare Board/Montgomery County CPS Board, left a complete mess behind her in the wake of her felony conviction for stealing over $110,000 from orphans. Jaggers pled guilty to a Third Degree Felony of Misapplication of Fiduciary Funds and a Class A Misdemeanor of Theft on June 25, 2019.
On June 28, 2019, Montgomery County Attorney B.D. Griffin announced that his office intended to sue Jaggers, her husband attorney Pat Jaggers (an adoption attorney who received many referrals from Jaggers’ “nonprofit” organizations), and possibly other entities to recover government funds and possibly other funds as well which were the subject of Jaggers’ defalcations.
On Tuesday, July 9, 2019, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court addressed two major problems Jaggers left behind her.
First, this newspaper has confirmed that the entire Montgomery County Child Welfare/CPS Board has resigned. At least three of the Board members directly involved themselves with Jaggers’ fundraising activities. The Golden Hammer has confirmed, with one individual in the County Attorney’s Office and one individual among the former Child Welfare Board members, that two of those three Board members are potential targets for civil lawsuits to recover stolen or misapplied funds.
As a result, the Commissioners Court, under Keough’s strong leadership, appointed a sound Child Welfare/CPS Board which actually seems to have a concern for children rather than for the flow of money.
At least two current members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court – Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley and Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador – involved themselves in Jaggers’ fundraising activities.
Jaggers developed close political ties to disgraced former Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Riley, and Meador. As President and Chair of the Child Welfare Board, she oversaw a County Department the current annual budget of which is $112,450. Jaggers also ran at least two nonprofit organizations and fed foster care children adoptions to her husband’s adoption law practice. Despite warnings from this newspaper and others, Doyal, Riley, and Meador continued to fund Jaggers and her organizations.
The Montgomery County Child Welfare and CPS Boards combined receive over $175,000.00 per year of Montgomery County taxpayer funds to support their missions. During the course of the criminal investigation, criminal investigators discovered that over $100,000.00 of those Montgomery County dollars were given to Orphan Care Solutions, Jaggers’ organization, to disburse in its work. Consequently, Jaggers took County funds to make personal purchases.
Jaggers also served as the Executive Director and Board Member of Hope’s Path, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, that seeks to support underprivileged youth aging out of the foster care system by providing transitional living and individual personal development. Jaggers also served as the President of the Texas Foster Family Association and with an organization called Pay It Forward at Sam Houston State University. Jaggers is also employed as a professor at Sam Houston State University.
Jaggers’ guilty plea concluded the criminal case, but Griffin has made clear that he will file a lawsuit to assess civil liability and recover from Jaggers and others, including possibly her husband Patrick Jaggers, an attorney who has specialized in adoptions and received many referrals from Jaggers and her organizations. Griffin will ask the Montgomery County Commissioners Court at its July 9, 2019, meeting to authorize proceeding against Jaggers, her husband Patrick Jaggers, Orphan Care Solutions, and “other culpable parties,” as Griffin explained in a press release he issued.
County Attorney Griffin said, “It is unacceptable to prey on the most vulnerable citizens of Montgomery County. This office is dedicated to representing the interests of children that have been abused and neglected. It is unjust that persons entrusted with County resources and funds to support the children would intentionally misuse those funds for their own personal benefit.”
Griffin told The Golden Hammer in an interview on June 28 that Jaggers and her husband were likely civil lawsuit defendants and that his office is considering others as well. Hopefully, the members of the Commissioners Court, Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, who have maintained close social relationships with Jaggers, will recuse themselves from any vote on whether to authorize the County Attorney’s Office to proceed.
Jaggers and her husband enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, while attempting to portray themselves as individuals who worked for orphaned children, some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
The Jaggers loved to host lavish parties under the guise of raising money for orphaned children. The orphans did not attend the parties.
United States Congressman Kevin Brady endorsed Jaggers’ work and encouraged individuals to contribute money to her organizations, even after The Golden Hammer reported financial problems with Jaggers’ nonprofit organizations and raised questions about her sincerity.
Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador socialized with Jaggers and enjoyed her lavish parties where she claimed to raise money for children.
Conroe City Councilman Duane Ham said, “I was bamboozled like everyone. I would never take money from children. I would never authorize anyone to take money from children for their own personal gain. I was adopted myself and I deeply care for children in the foster system. My fundraiser every year is Angel Reach for children who have aged out of foster care. This situation deeply saddens and I’m am truly distraught over what has happened. It breaks my heart.”
Jaggers should get the last word. Here’s her description of herself at the Texas Foster Care Association website.