Image: Troy Stuckey
Magnolia and Conroe, February 9 – Whenever criminally indicted Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley finds himself in a controversy, there’s a good chance that Riley’s political backers, the Stuckey family, shows up in the midst of the turmoil. It turns out that the Stuckeys have benefitted in a nice monetary way from their political support for the embattled County Commissioner.
Thanks to outstanding research and analytical investigation of longtime conservative Republican political activist Ginger Russell, also known as “The Quiet Lady From Magnolia” for her soft spoken demeanor yet fierce passion for political causes, The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper has obtained secret County government documents which reveal the financial relationship between Riley and the Stuckeys.
After Charlie and Deanne Riley filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June, 2002, as a result of their inability to survive in the private business sector, then-Precinct 2 County Commissioner (and now co-indictee County Judge) Craig Doyal hired Riley as the Operations Manager for the Precinct 2 County Commissioner’s Office. Riley also ran for the Magnolia ISD Board and held that position for more than a decade while he also worked for the County government.
In 2014, after then-County Judge Alan B. Sadler decided to retire, Riley, who had planned to run against Doyal for Precinct 2 County Commissioner, found that he could instead run alongside his boss, Doyal, who would run to replace Sadler instead of for re-election. Riley asked his Magnolia friend Linda Stuckey to serve as his campaign manager in his 2014 electoral campaign for County Commissioner.
No candidate received more than 50% of the vote in the Republican Primary Election, so Riley eventually won the County Commissioner position in the May, 2014, Republican Runoff Election, during which Stuckey continued to work with Riley.
After the Stuckeys helped Riley win the County Commissioner position, the money flowed nicely to them.
The money flowed
In June, 2014, Riley hired the firm of his campaign manager, Stuckey’s Contract Services, to provide $9,965.80 in hydromulching services for the Fish Creek Thoroughfare. Not only is there no indication that Riley or Doyal sought any competing bids for the hydromulching but there’s no indication whatsoever that Riley ever disclosed to anyone inside the County government what his relationship to the County vendor actually was. On June 30, 2014, the Commissioners Court voted to pay the Stuckeys $9,975.80 by check. There was never any disclosure.
A source inside the County Purchasing Department has confirmed, on condition of anonymity, that neither the Stuckeys nor Riley ever disclosed the nature of their political relationship or the proximity of the political favors to the County contract awarded.
Later that year, Riley wanted to do a hydromulch flexterra application on some drainage swales at Precinct 5 Constable David Hill’s office. Once again, Riley, without bids or disclosures, hired the Stuckeys who charged Montgomery County $1,563.95 for the services.
Despite citizen complaints as well as criticism from at least two of his colleagues on the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, Riley has continued to hire vendors for projects in Precinct 2 as County Commissioner without competing bids and without disclosure of the relationship between the vendors and the Commissioner.
During 2015 and 2016, Riley’s campaign consultant Kristin Christ, whom Riley pays several thousand dollars every campaign reporting period, worked to form the Magnolia Area Republican Women, an affiliate of the Texas Federation of Republican Women, which, of course, is not a formal auxiliary of the Republican Party of Texas as a result of their unwillingness to agree to the Official Platform of the Republican Party. Christ manipulated MARW to elect Linda Stuckey as one of its officers, so that the organization is certain to continue to support Riley in his political endeavors.
On October 14, 2016, Riley as Commissioner awarded the Stuckeys another hydromulch contract in the amount of $2,795.10. Once again, Riley never sought competing bids. Riley never disclosed to the County government what his relationship was with the Stuckeys.
In March, 2017, Riley sought to appoint two of the citizen members to the Montgomery County Ethics Committee which is to hear complaints filed under the toothless “Code of Ethics” the Commissioners Court adopted last year for fear of losing rights to receive road and bridge grants from the Texas Department of Transportation.
Who were Riley’s proposed appointments to the Ethics Committee? Linda Stuckey, his campaign manager, and former Sheriff Tommy Gage, Riley’s best friend. Did Riley disclose at that time that (1) Stuckey was his campaign manager and (2) due to Riley’s favor, the Stuckeys were County vendors? Of course not.
Finally, someone with a sense of ethics stood up for the citizens of Montgomery County when County Attorney J.D. Lambright arose during the Commissioners Court meeting and objected to Riley’s proposed nominees to the Ethics Committee. Riley lost his temper during the meeting but eventually acquiesced to Lambright’s objections.
Most recently on two occasions, Riley and Doyal sought to put on a staged show to pretend there was some citizen support for their $73 million 3.6 mile TX 249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway, at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County. Without disclosing the political and financial relationship, Riley called upon Troy Stuckey to speak in favor of the Tollway on May 23, 2017, and upon both Troy and Shane Stuckey to speak in favor of the Tollway on December 19, 2017.
The Stuckeys have a strong financial interest in Riley’s political success.
At the same time, if Riley were to practice ethics – meaning the differentiation of right from wrong – he would disclosure his political relationship to the Stuckeys and the Stuckeys’ financial relationship to the County government and to Riley, whenever the Stuckeys appeared in front of the Commissioners Court to argue for the big government, higher taxes, and higher tolls, which Riley and the Stuckeys consistently support.
Citizens recognize ethics, right versus wrong. Apparently, some corrupt government officials don’t.