Conroe, February 14 – On the advice of County Attorney Jerry Don “Ice Man” Lambright, who has become the “chief enabler” for extravagant government spending and unethical conduct, the five-member County Commissioners Court directly violated the “Code of Ethics” which they formally adopted on January 24. All five – the County Judge and the Commissioners – agreed to serve on the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority (MCTRA), a corporation which has borrowed more than $10.5 million from the County government on terms that none of the County Judge or Commissioners seem to know.
Since MCTRA has borrowed the massive sum from the County in order to pursue construction of the $100 million 3.6 mile “Decimation of Hope Highway” at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County, County Judge Craig Doyal and the four Commissioners have a fiduciary obligation both to the lender, the County, and the borrower, MCTRA, in the same transaction involving a massive amount of tax dollars.
The County Judge and Commissioners adopted the new Code of Ethics in a hurry on January 24, 2017, as they faced a February 7, 2017, from the Texas Department of Transportation which made clear that Montgomery County would lose all road and bridge grants from the State of Texas as a result of its lack of an ethics code and its unethical practice. Therefore, the five-person Commissioners Court adopted a hastily-drafted Code of Ethics, which County Attorney Lambright drafted, shared with the Court members a few days before the January 24 meeting but did not release to The Golden Hammer or any other news media until late in the evening on January 23.
The Code of Ethics, which the Commissioners adopted, contains the following mandate:
“VIII. Outside Employment
County Public Servants shall not accept other employment or engage in outside activities incompatible with the full and proper discharge of their duties and responsibilities with the county, or which might impair their independent judgment in the performance of their public duty.”
Clearly, Article VIII prohibits engaging “in outside activities incompatible with the full and proper discharge of their duties and responsibilities with the county, or which might impair their independent judgment…” The problem, however, is that, as Board of Directors members of MCTRA, they also have a fiduciary duty to MCTRA, which would include seeking loan terms that are as favorable as possible to MCTRA when it continues to borrow funds from Montgomery County.
Lambright advised at least three members of the Commissioners Court, who requested anonymity in disclosing this information to The Golden Hammer, that he was “okay” with Commissioners serving on the MCTRA Board of Directors, although Lambright failed to offer any sort of rationale for overlooking this obvious engaging in activities outside of the County government that are incompatible with the exercise of independent judgment on behalf of the County, for which the Commissioners Court members have a fiduciary duty to seek the best possible loan terms for the County, as lender.
In January, 2015, Lambright provided a written legal opinion to Doyal that excused Doyal from state conflict of interest laws and has permitted Doyal to vote in favor of contracts for his best friend and business partner Bobby Adams’ engineering firm, Halff Associates, Inc. Adams serves as a Halff Vice President and director of its Conroe regional office.