Image: Retired Precinct 1 Constable’s Captain Rusty Fincher.
Willis, June 9 – Precinct 1 Constable’s Captain Rusty Fincher faced off with local political consultant Marc Davenport (husband of County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport), Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack, and then Sheriff candidate Rand Henderson when Davenport tricked Fincher into meeting with them in the Willis Justice of the Peace Courthouse in order to try to convince Fincher to drop out of the electoral contest for Precinct 1 Constable in the 2016 Republican Primary Election. “I stood up to them in Mack’s judicial office, because it’s not their decision to choose candidates; it’s the public’s,” Fincher told The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, in an exclusive interview over a two day period on June 7 and June 8, 2017.
Fortunately, Davenport does not control the Montgomery County government yet. He used to work with Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley but Riley fired Davenport after a Grand Jury indicted the two of them for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act. Davenport still seems to have a strong relationship with County Judge Craig Doyal. Davenport seems to influence Doyal’s decisions in a number of areas of County policy, particularly purchasing. Davenport is in the process of running one of his candidates, James Metts, for County Commissioner, Precinct 4, against incumbent Jim Clark. Davenport cannot hide nor control his hatred of Clark. Davenport seems to control Sheriff Rand Henderson and Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack. Davenport helps to determine County policy as well as the course of political campaigns. Just recently, Davenport has threatened Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack with political ruin.
No citizens elected Davenport who is wholly unaccountable to the public.
This article concerns another instance where Davenport caused two of his clients to engage in conduct unbecoming of a “public servant” to say the very least. Davenport’s influence and the degree to which his “clients” follow his demands have become issues that voters must address in the 2018 election. Voters should view warily any Davenport client, because, by electing them, they’re extending Davenport and his hidden agenda farther into the halls of our County government at a time when citizens are ready for reform and not more corruption.
Davenport chased another candidate from the constable’s race first
In 2014, longtime incumbent Precinct 1 Constable Don Chumley announced that he was retiring and would not seek re-election in 2016. A candidate arose out of his office for the Republican Primary Election. According to Fincher and one confidential source inside of the Constable’s Office, Davenport sought a meeting with Chumley and the candidate once the candidate had announced. Davenport met with them in Chumley’s Constable’s Office for almost five hours. The following morning the other candidate announced to the Constable’s staff that he was dropping out of consideration for the Constable’s position.
Fincher entered the race; the odd meeting
Although Fincher didn’t formally announce his candidacy until October 13, 2015, he began to discuss the idea of running to replace his boss as Precinct 1 Constable over the summer of 2015.
On August 26, 2015, Davenport contacted Fincher. According to Fincher, Davenport told him that Davenport was negotiating on behalf of Montgomery County the purchase of the Odyssey and Spellman computer systems to support the courts and law enforcement. Davenport asked Fincher if Fincher would meet with Davenport at the office of Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Wayne Mack, a Davenport client who seems more to work for Davenport than the other way around, to discuss technology issues. Fincher agreed to meet on Tuesday, September 1, 2015, at 3 p.m. A series of text messages between Fincher and Davenport have also confirmed Fincher’s explanation of the events.
Fincher arrived at the appointed time at Mack’s office, but Mack’s clerk told Fincher he would have to wait a few minutes. Approximately 15 minutes later, the clerk buzzed Fincher through the secure door into Mack’s back office area. Mack’s private office door was closed but Fincher heard voices talking insider of that room. The clerk told Fincher he’d have to wait in the kitchen across the hall where there was a long table.
Fincher sat down. About 5 minutes later, Fincher was surprised when Davenport, Mack, and Sheriff candidate Rand Henderson, another Davenport client along with Mack, entered the room and sat down across the table from Fincher.
Mack began the discussion by saying “Rusty, we don’t understand why you think you can run for Constable, because no one in this precinct likes you.” Mack added, “I think you running is a bad idea. You’ll have an uphill battle, so you shouldn’t get involved.”
Fincher responded by saying that he didn’t feel comfortable discussing a political matter inside the Courthouse office of Mack.
Mack ignored Fincher’s stated concern and continued, “Nobody likes you, Rusty. You don’t have to do this.”
Davenport shook his head and began to talk. His first comments were “you can’t get there; you can’t win.” Davenport then proceeded to speak for almost 45 minutes without any other interruption about how much people disliked Fincher and how badly Mack, Henderson, and Davenport wanted to keep Fincher out of the political race.
When Fincher finally had the opportunity to respond, he noted “the Constable has agreed to endorse me and he’s popular. I’ve also got a lot of friends here, because I’ve lived here a long time.” Fincher has been a law enforcement officer for 36 years.
Henderson largely remained quiet during the entire 1.5 hour meeting in Mack’s office other than occasionally nodding his head when Mack or Davenport spoke to Fincher to try to convince Fincher not to run.
Fincher told The Golden Hammer that Fincher repeatedly told Mack and Davenport that meeting inside a County building to discuss this political matter was inappropriate. Mack said, “I don’t really care.”
After Fincher continued to spar verbally with Mack and Davenport for just over three hours, Mack finally jumped up and said, “I’m sick of talking about this stuff” and left the room never to return.
Fincher told this newspaper, “They were trying to bully me out of running in a race where I knew I had a lot of popular support as well as the endorsement of the well-liked incumbent who was retiring.” “Mack and Davenport had no business trying to push me around. Henderson shouldn’t have been in the room at all, but at least he didn’t say much.”
Fincher explained that he came forward to tell The Golden Hammer what happened after he saw that his experience was not the only time that the Davenports and Mack tried to bully people politically. “I’ve done police work for almost four decades, and I’ve done it at the top of the profession. A group of two-bit bullies wouldn’t have scared me from the race.
“Hit List” member
Fincher came in a close third place in the eight-person Republican Primary Election. The first and second place finishers, Philip Cash and Ike Fluellen, who made the runoff election, beat Fincher by only a few hundred votes.
Because Fincher supported Mark Bosma in the 2014 Republican Runoff Election against County Commissioner Craig Doyal for the position of County Judge, Doyal included Fincher on Doyal’s “Hit List” of County employees Doyal wanted to see terminated or leave the County. Fincher provided a copy of Doyal’s infamous “Hit List” with Fincher’s name circled on it. “Apparently Mack, Davenport, and Doyal perceived me as a threat to their political kingdom; they wanted me gone.”
What is Mack doing?
In 2015, at the time of the meeting with Fincher, Mack was already a judge. As a judge, he could not endorse candidates under the Texas Judicial Conduct Code and generally was to refrain from partisan political activity.
Mack should not have conducted a political meeting inside of his Courthouse office, regardless of whether Davenport instructed him to do so.
Fischer reported the incident to his County supervisor 15 minutes after the meeting ended.