Image: Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, June 29, 2017, waiting before the Texas Transportation to tell them Big Lie #1 that citizens in Montgomery County are “unified in support” for a TX 249 tollroad. Little did the citizens know that Big Lie #1 was just the first of at least three Big Lies Doyal would tell about the TX 249 Tollway in desperation to funnel money to his favor political and legal defense fund contributors who are the vendors on the project.
Conroe, February 1 – While his electoral opponent, State Representative Mark Keough, in March Republican Primary Election has made clear he opposes the TX 249 Tollway altogether, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal uttered Big Lie #3 about the TX 249 Tollway when he falsely told the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on January 9, 2018, that the County government had “seen the draft of” the traffic and revenue study for the tollroad in order to induce his colleagues to vote to begin the advertising process to construct the 3.6 mile, at least $73 million, TX 249 extension from Spring Creek to Pinehurst.
The last Commissioners Court meeting prior to January 9 was on December 19, 2017, when the Commissioners Court did discuss the TX 249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.
The problem, however, is CDM Smith, the engineering firm under criminal investigation in several different nations, including by the United States Department of Justice, for bribery and padding invoices, which Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador voted to pay $400,000 for a “traffic and revenue study” (“T&R Report”) to provide economic revenue projections that would support construction of the Tollway.
While it’s true that CDM Smith provided a draft of its T&R Report to Doyal on December 22, as the cover letter with the draft reveals, that was three days after the last Commissioners Court meeting in 2017. Therefore, there’s no way that any member of the Commissioners Court, including Doyal, could have “seen the draft of” the T&R Report before the January 9 meeting.
Big Lie #3: January 9, 2018
During the January 9 Commissioners Court meeting, several citizens spoke against the Tx-249 Tollway, including Bill O’Sullivan, Paul Gebolys, Reagan Reed, Diana Gebolys, and Ginger Russell. One of the citizens raised the question how the Commissioners Court could consider voting to approve advertising for bidders on the road construction project when they had not yet received the T&R Report.
Doyal attempted angrily to rebut the citizen comments. He admitted, however, “Grimes County is getting a free road from tolls generated on the southern portion of road.” Incredibly, Doyal admitted that Montgomery County’s tolls were going to pay for the Grimes County portion of the Decimation of Hope Highway, since Doyal failed to fight against tolling of the Montgomery County portion of the road, as did the Grimes County Commissioners Court so successfully.
Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack then said, “It has been mentioned that we don’t have a T&R study yet. I would like to see that study before we vote on this.”
Doyal snapped back at Noack, “We’ve seen the draft of it. Mr. Muller presented it the last time he was here,” referring to Sugar Land Rich Muller who works for Doyal. Doyal’s statement was false:
- The Golden Hammer confirmed with both Noack and Clark that they’d never seen a draft of the T&R report until January 26, 2018, when Doyal had to release the T&R Report to The Golden Hammer in response to a Texas Open Records Act request.
- Nothing in any December Commissioners Court presentations to which Doyal referred contained any draft T&R report.
- If Doyal had seen a draft of the report prior to December 22, 2017, he saw it in secret, because CDM Smith had not yet even provided the draft to the County government until that date.
Doyal then predicted, “That study will show there is more than adeqate revenue generated from this project.” Somehow, Doyal already knows that the fix is in with the CDM Smith T&R study.
Very politely and in an extremely quiet manner, Clark then asked, “What’ll we do if it doesn’t?”
At that point, Doyal completely lost his cool and began to lecture Clark, “Commissioner, you heard the draft. You heard Mr. Muller talk about the revenue projections. It’s going to more than cover the revenue required for the debt service on this project.”
Sadly, Doyal seemed to suffer from an overactive imagination, since no one on January 9, 2018, on the Commissioners Court was aware of any sort of “draft,” “revenue projections,” or “adequate revenue” that anyone, including Doyal’s lawyer Muller, presented to the Commissioners Court. There was, in fact, a draft, which Doyal had received on December 22, but he held it in secret for another 17 days.
Big Lie #2: December 19, 2017, and afterwards
Doyal has repeatedly told the public and other members of the Commissioners Court that the Texas Department of Transportation has made clear it wouldn’t built the TX 249 extension unless it were a tollroad. Both Keough and Noack have made clear that the only reason TX 249 will be a tollroad is because Doyal and Riley lobbied TXDOT to make it a tollroad, so they could justify building the $73 million 3.6 mile portion as a County tollroad and funnel money to their favored engineering and construction vendors.
Doyal has also tried to claim that TxDOT that Victor Vandergriff, the scandal-plagued Texas Transportation Commissioner who came to Conroe at Doyal’s invitation, said that the TX 249 extension wouldn’t ever happen unless it were a tollroad.
That’s completely false as well. Vandergriff spilled the beans when he told the Commissioners Court and the citizens of Montgomery County the following.