Image: Corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport.
Conroe, November 27 – It’s become well known in Montgomery County that Marc Davenport, a corrupt local political boss who receives enormous consultant fees from his clients, goes far beyond the propriety of a normal political consultant such as the renowned Melanie Schoettle of MediaGenics or Alan Blakemore of Blakemore and Associates. Schoettle and Blakemore aid their clients to win elections. Their jobs end there.
Davenport goes far beyond that. Dozens of law enforcement officers inside of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office have complained, in confidence for fear of their job safety, to The Golden Hammer that Davenport actually sets policies inside the County’s leading law enforcement agency. Davenport is not a college graduate, is not a certified peace office, holds no professional licenses, and is not a County employee. In fact, Davenport’s only official connection to the Montgomery County government is that he is enrolled on the County’s health plan as a dependent of County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport, his spouse.
Davenport runs or participates in staff meetings in the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace office of Wayne Mack. He has attended staff meetings of Precinct 4 JP James Metts and has told employees in both of those courts how to many of their County duties. One employee of Metts’ JP Office told The Golden Hammer, as a confidential source, “Davenport’s presence is always felt inside our office, because we know he’s the real boss.”
Two employees of Stephanne Davenport’s County Treasurer’s Office as well as two others from the County Auditor’s Office and one from the County’s Human Resources Department have confirmed that Davenport regularly attends employee meetings in his wife’s County Department. Davenport has also posted confidential payroll information on Facebook at least three times that he couldn’t have obtained from anywhere other than the payroll division of his wife’s County office.
It’s rare to see Sheriff Rand Henderson go to an important political function without Davenport.
At the same time, however, the quality of Davenport’s work is terribly average or even below average. His campaign flyers are often out of visual focus and lack originality or a clear message. As one prominent elected official has said, “With Davenport, you get rough work.”
Nevertheless, the Davenport Ring – the group of elected officials and candidates who are Davenport’s clients – are incredibly tight-knit. They’re loyal to each other, but, more importantly, they’re loyal to Davenport.
They’re loyal to each other politically. Perhaps, even more importantly, they work together in Davenport’s efforts to take control over County purchasing and information technology functions, topics which this newspaper has covered in several articles. For example, please see “Montgomery County Government ‘For Sale!’ (Part 4): Secret Meeting With Davenport Ring Begets County Vendor Phonoscope’s Frightening Control,” The Golden Hammer, October 18, 2017. Also, please see “Metts’ JP Court Strikes Out As Worst Run Court In Montgomery County, Loss Leader,” The Golden Hammer, July 30, 2017.
Who are the current members of the Davenport Ring? Henderson, Mack, Metts, JP4 candidate Jason Dunn, County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport, and Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden.
How Davenport exerts such control over his clients is an interesting question. First, it’s important to note that Hayden seems a bit more independent than the other members of the Davenport Ring. That’s probably, because he’s the one Ring member who realizes his political might without Davenport. Hayden is an outstanding peace officer who worked his way up in the local law enforcement community. He’s personable and a great campaigner. His father, Charles Hayden, was a constable and county commissioner from East Montgomery County. In reality, Davenport needs Hayden more than Hayden needs Davenport.
The other elected officials and candidates, however, share one very common trait: they’re insecure about their political ability. Even Henderson, who shouldn’t be in the least bit insecure about his abilities as a politician, has expressed that without Davenport, he’d be nothing. Sources inside of Mack’s, Metts’, and Stephanne Davenport’s offices all concur that their bosses feel the same way.
What they don’t realize, however, is that Davenport does one thing very carefully and correctly. He will only represent candidates whom he is certain will win. Unlike Schoettle, Blakemore, or the also renowned Joe Williams, who will work for candidates who hire them (although they all interview), Davenport only will work for clear winners.
Davenport brings another aspect to the table. There is simply no limit to how vicious he will be for his clients or himself.
If strong candidates consider running against a Davenport client, Davenport will often meet with the opposing candidate directly to scare them out of the race. When renowned Conroe businessman Robert Walker announced his intention to run for Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace in 2014, Davenport first met with Walker to tell Walker about all of the alleged dirt he had dug up on the candidate. When that didn’t work, Davenport started to spread rumors about Walker on social media. Apparently, that worked, because Walker dropped out of the race after he had already filed to be on the ballot and essentially suspended his campaign, so that Davenport’s client Wayne Mack wouldn’t have a strong opponent.
Davenport has created dozens of fake names, profiles, and accounts on social media. He’s worked with others to do the same. His problem, however, is that there are often strong signs of the fake Davenport accounts. His writing style is quite obvious. He uses the same expressions over and over again. But his methods work with his own clients as well. Since Davenport does opposition research on his own clients, they’re afraid to release him as a consultant.
In a series of threats against his and his wife’s perceived political enemies, Davenport threatened Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal during a telephone call on the morning of Friday, May 26, 2017, that Doyal couldn’t continue to be the friend of Conroe City Councilman Duane Ham, or Davenport would order Davenport’s political consultant clients not to support Doyal in Doyal’s re-election bid for County Judge in 2018. Doyal informed Ham, his long time political ally who formed the Texas Conservative Tea Party Coalition in 2014 which was instrumental in Doyal’s electoral victory, that Doyal could not attend Ham’s upcoming political fundraiser on Thursday, June 1, for fear of reprisal from the Davenports and Marc Davenport’s political consulting clients, several of whom are law enforcement leaders. Ham ultimate convinced Doyal to attend the event.
Ham told The Golden Hammer, “The Davenports’ threats against County Judge Craig Doyal are an insult to the law enforcement community and the citizens.”
Both Marc Davenport and Stephanne seem to mix their childish personal vendettas with local politics, but they also seem to mix their local politics with the behavior they demand of leaders of the local law enforcement community.
Trouble began to brew last Thursday, May 25, at a Grand Opening Event for Lone Star Radio in Conroe. Ham, along with many other political people, attended the afternoon event in downtown Conroe. Doyal, his wife Amy Doyal, local photographer Nathan Arrazate, political consultant Melanie Schoettle, Conroe City Councilman Duke Coon, Kristin Leggett (who previously worked at KSTAR Radio), and several others attended the party. Doyal, sporting his facial scars, briefly spoke on the radio station to congratulate the station managers.
Ham arrived at the Conroe event, and people there observed him speaking with Schoettle and another lady with whom Marc Davenport had some sort of relationship with a few years back. Stephanne Davenport heard that Ham walked into a local Conroe bar around the time of the radio station event with Schoettle and another lady, whom The Golden Hammer will call “Mrs. X.”
Stephanne Davenport didn’t like what she saw and she also didn’t like some other comments which she attributed to Ham, who dared to criticize the Davenports. At 7:17 p.m., Stephanne Davenport sent a text message to Ham in which she drew a line in the sand in order to express her hatred towards Schoettle and Mrs. X:
“So Duane, Melanie and…[Mrs. X] walk into a bar. Dead. To. Me. Steph”
“Ok Steph I’m taking it your mad at me! You call with a problem I try to fix the problem and your pissed at me? Duane”
Montgomery County Treasurer Davenport finally replied,
“Not mad. Done. You can call Marc if you need. Our team doesn’t roll with those who roll with the haters. Steph”
Later that evening, Thursday, May 25, Marc Davenport spoke with Ham by telephone. The conversation did not progress too well. During the telephone conversation, Davenport began screaming at Ham and accused Ham of colluding with Marc and Stephanne Davenport’s political enemies. Ham responded, “Well, you talk to Yollick.” Ham accused Davenport of “blackmail.” At that point in time Marc Davenport screamed a phrase described below and hung up. Davenport text messaged Ham and described the entire conversation,
“You [Ham] accused me [Marc Davenport] of collusion with yollick. I told you to go f–k your self and hung up. If you don’t take pictures of you f–king yourself and send them to me there will be nothing to blackmail you with. Melanie [Schoettle], Nathan [Arrazate], Margie [Taylor, a public relations consultant], Gary [Henson, a GOP activist and friend of Ham’s], Kristin [Leggett] are a constant source of undermining. You feeding these people and empowering them to continue to try to weaken is the issue. If you act like one of them you will be treated like one of them. Mark”
Davenport has a close relationship with County Judge Doyal. Doyal hired Davenport to represent Doyal to negotiate a November 2015 road bond referendum. As a result, Doyal and Davenport are co-defendants in the Texas Open Meetings Act prosecution by the State of Texas pending before the Beaumont Court of Appeals. Doyal constantly reminds the public how much he supports Stephanne Davenport’s work as County Treasurer. That makes a lot of sense, because Stephanne Davenport employs Doyal’s daughter as the payroll coordinator in the Treasurer’s Office. Doyal contributes substantial funds to Stephanne Davenport’s campaign.
Marc Davenport often brags about his control of Montgomery County’s local law enforcement community. He has told several people that he has access to criminal investigation files. Marc Davenport demands strict loyalty from his political consultant clients and will not tolerate the slightest deviation from that fealty.
Therefore, when Marc Davenport called Craig Doyal on Friday, May 26, 2017, in order to threaten Doyal, Doyal took the threat quite seriously.
Marc Davenport told Doyal that the County Judge could no longer be friends with Ham regardless of how instrumental Ham was in Doyal’s 2014 election to the position of County Judge. Davenport told Doyal that Constable Hayden, Sheriff Henderson, Judge Metts, and Judge Mack would not continue to support Doyal if Doyal continued his personal and political friendship with Ham. Marc Davenport told Doyal, and Doyal repeated the comments to Ham, that Davenport would order Hayden, Henderson, Metts, and Mack, all four individuals who are law enforcement leaders, that they could not attend Ham’s political fundraiser on Thursday, June 1.
Ham said to The Golden Hammer, “Davenport is running me down quietly, trying to blackmail me to kiss his a–. That’s not going to happen. Are we in elementary school again?”
Doyal apologized to Ham on Friday, May 26, and told Ham that he couldn’t attend Ham’s June 1 fundraiser as a result of Marc Davenport’s threat. Doyal expressed his concern primarily that he needs the support of Precinct 4 Constable Hayden, who is a very popular law enforcement officer and politician in East Montgomery County, in order to win re-election.
Ham expressed his deep disappointment that Doyal did not plan to attend the June 1 fundraiser. Ham continues to consider Doyal a close friend and political ally despite Doyal’s reaction, as Ham told The Golden Hammer.
Ham commented in an exclusive interview with The Golden Hammer, “The Davenports’ threats against County Judge Craig Doyal are an insult to the law enforcement community and the citizens.”