Image: An agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation enters the San Antonio office of Dannenbaum Engineering on April 26, 2017, during a raid of the major political contributor to Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and County Commissioner Charlie Riley. Dannenbaum is also one of the largest engineering vendors of Montgomery County whom Doyal, Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador regularly choose to work for the County government.
Houston and Conroe, April 27 – The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a huge multi-city raid of Dannenbaum Engineering whose principals are major political contributors of Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, just as Doyal has booked the Montgomery County Lone Star Convention Center for a political fundraiser on June 20, 2017, from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Cathy D’Arche, the public relations director of Land Tech Consultants, a surveying company which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments for the $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” project, is organizing the political fundraiser for Doyal.
It’s remarkable that Doyal and the County vendors who contribute enormous sums of money to his political campaign have set the fundraiser in the midst of the accelerated appeal of the criminal case against Doyal and Riley for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act which is pending before the Ninth Texas Court of Appeals at Beaumont.
FBI raids Doyal’s and Riley’s close supporter Dannenbaum
Dannenbaum Engineering’s James Dannenbaum and Paul Celauro are consistently among the top political contributors to Doyal’s and Riley’s political campaigns. Dannenbaum Engineering is among the top five largest recipients of Montgomery County engineering contracts for road, bridge, and other capital projects. Apparently, that’s how the County government operates.
Strangely, Doyal and Riley have excluded County Engineer Mark Mooney from any oversight of Dannenbaum Engineering contracts or the work the major County vendor does under those contracts. The Golden Hammer recently submitted a Texas Open Records Act request to County Engineer Mooney who confirmed that he does not have any of the Dannenbaum contracts in his office, because the County Engineer provides no oversight of Dannenbaum’s County work.
The FBI raided Dannenbaum Engineering’s offices on Alabama Street in downtown Houston, and in San Antonio, Laredo, and McAllen. The FBI agents were in the offices of the major Montgomery County vendor during the entire business day today after beginning their work early Wednesday morning, April 26, 2017. An FBI spokesman confirmed to The Golden Hammer this evening that the FBI has seized a number of items from the various offices of the engineering firms but would not identify the nature of the investigation.
Doyal’s (the “$6 Billion Man”) June 20 fundraiser
Meanwhile, County Judge Craig Doyal is moving forward with a political fundraiser on June 20, 2017, despite the pendency of the criminal charges against him and despite the utter pandemonium ensuing inside the Montgomery County government, because Doyal has shown a proclivity for leaving the office to play golf rather than addressing complex and substantial budget issues that face a number of County Departments.
Doyal has already spent just under $200,000, through December 31, 2017, on his legal defense in the Open Meetings Act criminal case. Therefore, political contributors will certainly need to assist Doyal to ensure he has additional funds available to further his criminal defense as it winds through the appellate courts.
Cathy D’Arche is chairing and organizing the fundraiser event for Doyal. Since D’Arche is the public relations director for Land Tech, one of the biggest financial beneficiaries of the Decimation of Hope Highway project, D’Arche’s involvement in raising political funds for Doyal makes a lot of sense. The Decimation of Hope Highway project involves construction of a tiny 3.6 mile toll road extension at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County. The project will not improve County mobility. Rich Muller, a County-hired lawyer for the project, admitted at the April 11, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting that Montgomery County voters would never approve the project if Doyal and Riley ever gave voters the opportunity to vote on the highway boondoggle.
D’Arche’s Land Tech, a surveying company, received the following payments through the end of 2016 – out of Montgomery County taxpayer funds – on the 3.6 mile Tx-249 Decimation of Hope Highway money grab by Doyal’s and Riley’s largest political contributors:
$72,529.63 on June 5, 2015
$35,475.01 on July 13, 2015
$70,950.03 on July 13, 2015
$23,650.01 on July 31, 2015
$11,825.00 on September 8, 2015
$15,793.87 on November 3, 2015
$20,777.95 on March 6, 2016
$7,7874.17 on June 20, 2016
$24,977.93 on June 24, 2016
$8,181.70 on November 9, 2016.
Land Tech and D’Arche ought to put on a very good fundraiser, indeed, for Doyal.
Doyal: the “$6 Billion Man”
The serious question is why would Montgomery County would risk its funds and its credit on such an insignificant project as the Decimation of Hope Highway as far as aiding regional mobility. Perhaps, the answer lies in the fact that Doyal is the “$6 Billion Man.”
Amazingly, Craig Doyal recently told Houston Public Media that he is “hoping to go back to voters for additional bonds, in order to meet mobility needs estimated at around $6 billion”!!! Doyal wants to spend and incur debt more than three (3) times than what even the bloated Houston-Galveston Area Council bureaucracy projects for the next quarter century!
Citizens should realize what Doyal’s $6 billion of debt would mean. Currently, Montgomery County has a bloated annual budget of $377 million of which $55 million is for debt service and the remaining $322 million is for County government operations.
Doyal’s $6 billion of debt would require approximately $622.314 million of annual debt service alone. In other words, the $6 Billion Man wants the County’s debt service to increase to a level twice the entire annual expenditure budget of Montgomery County.
The vast majority of Doyal’s and Riley’s political contributors – in dollars – come from outside of Montgomery County in the form of County vendors, mostly engineers and general contracting firms. With Doyal’s hope of spending $6 billion of taxpayers’ money, Doyal’s upcoming fundraiser ought to be quite a nice event, despite the strong possibility that Dannenbaum’s money might not flow in his direction with their pending troubles.