Conroe, January 2 – Secret documents The Golden Hammer obtained – concerning corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, and Phonoscope Enterprise Group, the rogue deep fiber optic cable company performing a massive installation of cable in government buildings without authority – have revealed that Davenport, Doyal, Phonoscope, and the County Information Technology Department know they’re proceeding without proper authority. They don’t seem to care, because there’s too much money waiting in the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
With the new year, there appears to be an acceleration of the Phonoscope mess that Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport are forcing on the Montgomery County government. It’s very similar to the acceleration of the $95 million, 4.5 mile, Tx-249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway, which Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley are trying to lock down before the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, because they realize they may not fare so well and wish to take care of the engineers and other vendors who are their real constituents.
Even though Phonoscope has no contract with the County government, Phonoscope is running roughshod installing fiber optic cable lines in County rights-of-way and buildings. Sheriff Rand Henderson, whose largest political contributor is Lee Cook, Phonoscope’s Chief Executive Officer, has invited Phonoscope into the Montgomery County Jail and Law Enforcement Complex. Doyal has permitted Phonoscope to install lines in the Sadler Administration Building, while Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley has invited the rogue vendor into his Precinct 2 Office Buildings.
Phonoscope has installed many miles of cable in County rights-of-way, the Precinct 1 Commissioners Office, the main and branch libraries, the Sheriff’s Office, the JP Precincts 1, 2, 4, and 5 offices, the Precincts 4 and 5 Constable Offices, the Emergency Management office, and a large number of other County buildings.
Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack have prohibited Phonoscope from installing cable in Precinct 3 and Precinct 4 rights-of-way and County buildings, although two confidential sources inside of Precinct Constable Ryan Gable’s office confirmed that Gable is working directly with Davenport to have Phonoscope install its cable for him, without Commissioner Noack’s approval.
Secret email acknowledging lack of authority
On June 7, 2017, Phonoscope’s marketing director Jerome DeCuir wrote this email to Montgomery County IT Network and Operations Manager Bobby Powell:
“[Marc] Davenport told Mr. Cook [Lee Cook, Phonoscope’s Chief Executive Officer] this morning about the Commissioners Court sessions every other week and Mr. Cook asked that I ask if you have what you need from us to present or request approval to use us. Not sure how all it all works for approvals but if you need anything from let me know.”
In other words, Davenport, Phonoscope, Cook, DeCuir, Powell, and Doyal from whom Powell takes orders know that they’ve needed Commissioners Court approval to use Phonoscope for deep fiber optic cable installation, but Doyal, at the direction of Davenport, have chosen to proceed with the massive installation anyway.
There has literally been no mention of any sort of approval request for the Phonoscope installation from the Commissioners Court since June 7. In fact, the only mention of Phonoscope in the Commissioners Court minutes occurs in the October 10, 2017, minutes which reflect:
Other than a “Golden Hammer Award” given to red-faced Doyal for the rogue installation of the Phonoscope fiber optic cable system, the Commissioners Court has never had before it any request to approve the installation!
County IT Department, Doyal fear Davenport
While the County government, under Doyal and County Auditor Phyllis Martin, has begun to pay substantial sums of money to Phonoscope, despite the fact the company has no County contract, there’s no question about one fact: Phonoscope has free rein on County property in Commissioners Precincts 1 and 2. (Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark will not permit Phonoscope to install fiber optic cable in their respective Precincts, although Phonoscope has made several rogue installations in Commisioner’s Precinct 4 and working on one in Precinct 3 during early 2018.)
Phonoscope first came to the attention of this newspaper when a member of the Davenport Ring asked an individual to invest money in a “syndicate” under which the Davenport Ring would sell Phonoscope’s services to area municipalities, homeowners associations, and private real estate developers, while using the County government’s “trunkline” as the primary connection. The individual reported the situation to this newspaper on the condition of anonymity. The Golden Hammer has confirmed that another similar incident occurred with a different member of the Davenport Ring.
Davenport, who is not a County employee and never has been one, takes enormous liberties directing County employees and County Departments. While JP James Metts has often introduced Davenport at County employee meetings as “my sworn deputy,” the County Human Resources Department has confirmed that Davenport has no County employee status, other than that he’s listed as dependent on Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s health coverage.
Davenport directed County government Information Technology Director Marshall Shirley to set up a meeting to discuss Davenport’s directions for the implementation of the Phonoscope fiber optic cable system throughout the County government. Shirley and some of his employees tried to resist the meeting, but Davenport aggressively insisted on the meeting. When Shirley asked who would attend the planned meeting, Davenport responded, “Wednesday at 2:00 [September 21, 2016] will work. Rand Henderson is a stakeholder he will be joining me.” Henderson was the Sheriff-Elect at the time of the meeting and his forced participation in the technological planning with Shirley and his team.
Of course, one should ask the question why Shirley would follow the direction of Davenport at all. The answer arises from a plan in late summer, 2016, to install a deep fiber optic cable system at the East Montgomery County Fairgrounds. A nationally-renowned fiber optic cable vendor, WaveMedia, has bid for the Fairgrounds job and was the lowest bidder. Therefore, County Judge Doyal put the contract between WaveMedia and Montgomery County on the Commissioners Court agenda for an upcoming meeting in August, 2016.
Davenport has instructed Doyal to include Davenport on the distribution list for the draft Commissioners Court agenda, which is interesting, because Doyal will not share the draft agenda with other members of the Commissioners Court much of the time. Davenport caught the proposed WaveMedia contract, called Doyal, and demanded that Doyal remove the WaveMedia contract from the Commissioners Court agenda. At that point, Doyal’s “chief of staff” jim fredricks summoned Shirley and one of his top IT Department employees to Doyal’s office.
During that meeting with fredricks, Doyal, Shirley, and one other IT employee in attendance, Doyal got upset with Shirley for “trying to upset the apple cart.” Doyal told Shirley and his employee, “We cannot proceed with fiber optic cable installations, unless you’ve clear them with Marc Davenport first, so don’t put items on the agenda like that.”
Therefore, Shirley and his staff certainly know that they cannot proceed with fiber optic cable work, unless Davenport is involved in the direction of it.
On one other occasion in the spring of 2017, Doyal and fredricks summoned Shirley to Doyal’s office again for a meeting about Phonoscope. Doyal didn’t attend the meeting, as he had to fulfill a golf obligation. fredricks made clear to Shirley and his employee that “Marc Davenport makes the decisions about fiber optic cable installations; you don’t.”
The Phonoscope installations have been anything but smooth. The County Information Technology Department’s Powell and his Network Operations Assistant Manager Mark Ruenes each spent hundreds of hours during 2017 problem-solving with Phonoscope’s DeCuir, Mari Lambrecht, and others.
Without Commissioner or Commissioners Court approval, Phonoscope has installed service poles on County property and in County rights-of-way as it wants them. In June, 2017, Phonoscope installed four service poles on the east side of the Sheriff’s Office’s SWAT/Forensics property just based on the approval of Chief Ken Culbreath and no other County official.
Clearly, Doyal and Davenport are forcing the IT Department’s County employees to work long hours to ensure that their fiber optic cable project is complete before any sort of electoral problems might get in the way.