Liberty County Commissioner McCarty’s conviction and removal from office raises the spector of Montgomery County’s “Goetz-gate” scandal: “This jury sent a message that they wanted change”

Liberty County Commissioner McCarty’s conviction and removal from office raises the spector of Montgomery County’s “Goetz-gate” scandal: “This jury sent a message that they wanted change”

Image: Former Liberty County Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike McCarty, removed from office on April 24, 2017, after a Liberty County jury convicted him of misuse of government property.

Liberty, April 25 – The conviction of Liberty County Commissioner, Precinct 1, Mike McCarty and his subsequent removal from office yesterday for misuse of government personnel and misuse of government property is strangely reminiscent of the facts surrounding Montgomery County’s own “Goetz-Gate” scandal involving then-County Commissioner Craig Doyal and his Operations Manager Charlie Riley. A Liberty County jury convicted McCarty and imposed a six month jail sentence, two years probation, and removed him from office for official misconduct. McCarty is appealing the conviction after the three-day trial.

Special Prosecutor William Lee Hon, who is the Polk County District Attorney from Livingston, told The Golden Hammer in an exclusive interview Monday night, “I was happy with the stand the Liberty County jury took. Liberty County has had issues. This jury sent a message that they wanted change.”

Special Prosecutor Hon: “Liberty County has had issues. This jury sent a message that they wanted change.”

According to the Court file in State of Texas versus Michael Charles McCarty, McCarty was indicted on June 23, 2015, on two counts of “Abuse of Official Capacity.”

Polk County District Attorney William Lee Hon of Livingston. Hon served as the Special Prosecutor in the McCarty trial in Liberty County.

McCarty’s two-count indictment follows and explains the abuse of government employees and property with which the State charged him:

“Count 1. AS A PUBLIC SERVANT, NAMELY Liberty County Commissioner for Precinct 1, AND WITH INTENT TO OBTAIN A BENEFIT FOR HIMSELF OR WITH INTENT TO HARM AND DEFRAUD Liberty County, DID THEN AND THERE INTENTIONALLY OR KNOWINGLY MISUSE GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, BELONGING TO THE GOVERNMENT, NAMELY Liberty County Texas BY Directing Liberty County personnel to perform tasks related to and in furtherance of the Defendant’s private enterprise known as Triangle Petroleum Service, there by resulting in a personal benefit to Defendant, and/or Directing Liberty County personnel to perform tasks related to and in furtherance of the Defendant’s private farming/rancing enterprise, thereby resulting in a personal benefit to Defendant, and/or Directing Liberty County personnel to purchase supplies and transport said supplies to Defendant’s private enterprise known as Triangle Petroleum Service, thereby resulting in a personal benefit to Defendant, and/or Directing Liberty County personnel to perform administrative tasks related to or in furtherance of the Defendant’s private enterprise known as Triangle Petroleum Service, thereby resulting in a personal benefit to Defendant, and/or Directing Liberty County personnel to perform repairs on non-governmental equipment … And the MISUSE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL was conducted pursuant to one scheme or continuing course of conduct which began on or about the 1st day of January 2013 and continued until on or about the 1st of day of January 2015.”

“Count 2. AS A PUBLIC SERVANT … AND WITH INTENT TO OBTAIN A BENEFIT FOR HIMSELF OR WITH INTENT TO HARM AND DEFRAUD Liberty County, DID THEN AND THERE INTENTIONALLY OR KNOWINGLY MISUSE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, BELONGING TO THE GOVERNMENT, NAMELY Liberty County Texas BY Directing Liberty County personnel to use a county-owned motor vehicle and/or a truck to perform tasks related to and in furtherance of the Defendant’s private enterprise known as Triangle Petroleum Service, thereby resulting in a personal benefit to Defendant, and/or Directing Liberty County personnel to use a county-owned motor vehicle and/or a truck to perform tasks related to and infurtherance of the Defendant’s private farm/ranching enterprise, thereby resulting in a personal benefit to Defendant, and/or Directing Liberty Couty personnel to purchase supplies ans use a countypowned motor ehicle and/or a truck and tyrailer to transport said supplies to Defendant’s private enterprise known as Triangle Petroleum Service, thereby resulting in a personal benefit to Defendant, and/or Directing Liberty County personnel to use county-owned tools and/or equipment to perform repairs on non-government equipment … THAT HAD COME INTO DEFENDANT’S POSSESSION OR CUSTODY BY VIRTUE OF HIS OFFICE OR EMPLOYMENT, AND THE VALUE OF THE MISUSED THING WAS greater than $1,500 but less than $20,000. … against the peace and dignity of the State.”

Hon explained to The Golden Hammer that the Liberty County jury had a difficult time attempting to put a precise monetary value on the County government services which McCarty misused when he had County employees grade his private driveway, hauled hay for his farm using a County trailer, used County vehicles to haul equipment to his private birthday function, sent County employees out to his pasture to fee his cows, and utilized County employees to help run his private business interests. The jury convicted McCarty of two Class B misdemeanors but sentenced him to the maximum six months in jail. The conviction resulted in McCarty’s removal from office for both counts.

Reminiscent of Craig Doyal’s Goetz-Gate scandal

The McCarty facts are similar to those involving former Montgomery County Precinct 2 employee Melissa Goetz whom Precinct 2 Operations Manager terminated after he discovered that Goetz had taken home County computer equipment. Goetz wrote a letter to her boss, then-County Commissioner Craig Doyal for whom Riley also worked. The following facts come from Goetz’s letter as well as confidential interviews with three County employees who worked in Precinct 2 at the time of the events.

On March 14, 2012, Craig Doyal was the County Commissioner for Precinct 2 of Montgomery County. He wanted to be the County Judge and knew that then County Judge Alan B. Sadler was going to retire in 2014.

Charlie Riley was Doyal’s operations manager in the Precinct 2 Commissioner’s Office. Riley made a horrible discovery: one of the secretaries by the name of Melissa Goetz was taking County government property home with her and using it for the Commissioner’s political campaign (two years before the 2014 Primary Election). Riley confronted and terminated Ms. Goetz as he should have under the County government’s Human Resources policy and under the Purchasing Policy Manual as well.
After Riley fired Ms. Goetz, he caught Hades from Doyal for firing her. Riley was sitting in his office when his boss, Doyal, called Riley and commanded him to come outside and sit in Doyal’s pickup truck, which was parked in front of the Precinct 2 office. Riley went outside, got in the truck, and began a heated argument with Doyal who was enraged that Riley had terminated Goetz. Riley verbally told Doyal that Riley was resigning as an employee of Montgomery County, because Riley didn’t want to work for Doyal any longer.
The next morning, Doyal appeared at Riley’s home, convinced Riley to reconsider Riley’s resignation, and reluctantly agreed that he (Doyal) would sign the termination papers for Goetz. Copies of Ms. Goetz’ termination sit in Precinct 2 in her personnel file, in the Human Resources Department’s personnel file, in the District Attorney’s office under a subpoena, and in a few other locations in Montgomery County (including the office of The Golden Hammer).
Unfortunately, the story got a lot worse after that.
 On April 17, 2012, Goetz wrote a letter to Doyal recounting what Goetz recalled as happening inside of Doyal’s County Commissioner’s office during her tenure as a County employee there. Goetz described Doyal personally directing Goetz and other County employees to work on his political campaign reports during County work hours, to create political program advertising during work hours, to work on political fundraisers during work hours, to utilize the Precinct 2 mechanics shop to build platforms for Doyal’s fundraisers, for Riley himself to purchase food at Sam’s for Doyal’s fundraisers during County work hours, “and other question activities…[involving] Craig Doyal’s knowledge of and approval of the use of county materials, equipment, or time to work on his campaign.”
Goetz contended that Doyal and Riley knew that she had taken home the County computer and printer in order to work on Doyal’s campaign. She pointed out in her letter that “At no time did Charlie tell me that taking the printer home would put my job in jeopardy.”
Goetz also made an additional set of McCarty-like accusations against Doyal and Riley: “They use of chain saws, mowers, blowers, weed eaters, and other equipment by county employees for personal reasons, have allowed an atmosphere of leniency to exist in the Commissioner’s office. Charlie Riley and Craig Doyal are responsible for that atmosphere.”
The ultimate disposition of the Goetz employment termination is one of the saddest stories arising out of the countless problems in Precinct 2 under the management of Doyal and Riley. It’s a story best left for another day.
Liberty County’s jury saw the need for change in that neighboring community. The question is whether Montgomery County citizens will recognize a similar need.

Comments

comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login