Magnolia, September 14 – Montgomery County Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley issued a rant on Facebook this afternoon that raises serious questions and seems to place his colleague and former boss, Craig Doyal, now the County Judge, on the legal hot seat as well. The entire Facebook post appears at the end of this article.
In the rant, Riley admitted that he uses Montgomery County property, the Precinct 2 barnyard, to store his private trailer, although he has attempted to rationalize doing so with an explanation of the benefits he provides to others through his use of a campaign cooking trailer.
Charlie Riley, September 14: “As far as the county yard storing my personal cooking trailer, that is correct.”
Does that mean that every private citizen who uses equipment for charitable purposes may store that equipment in the Precinct 2 barnyard?!
To make matters worse, Riley also claims that Doyal “donated” the campaign trailer with Doyal’s name still emblazoned on it. To whom Doyal “donated” the trailer is unclear, i.e., to Riley or to Montgomery County. Whenever someone makes a donation to Montgomery County, the Commissioners Court must vote to accept the donation. Readers may recall that a citizen recently paid the county $30 for a shirt he received during the Citizens Academy at the Sheriff’s Department. At the next Commissioners Court meeting, there was a separate agenda item on which the Court voted to accept the donation. There is no such donation anywhere in the minutes of the Montgomery County Court showing such a donation of a trailer ever made to Montgomery County.
If instead Riley claims Doyal “donated” the campaign trailer to Riley’s campaign, then there is another major problem. Riley never showed the donation from Doyal to Riley anywhere in Riley’s campaign contribution filings with the Texas Ethics Commission or with the Montgomery County Elections Office.
It would seem that the “donation” story concerning Doyal’s trailer is a recent ad hoc tale. If Doyal donated the trailer to Riley, then Riley is storing two trailers which he personally owns on County property!
Local businessman and longtime Republican activist Brian Dawson, who is running against Riley in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, commented, “Part of being a good commissioner is representing the whole community. If I’m elected, county property is not where I’ll store personal or campaign property. If Commissioner Riley is going to loan his personal or campaign property out, then he needs to find somewhere other than County property to do so. Otherwise he needs to open up that yard for everyone to exchange material for the benefit of those organizations.”
Dawson also responded to Riley’s comments about blocking Republican Precinct Chair Ginger Russell from Riley’s Facebook page: “I don’t find Mrs. Russell’s posts to be inflammatory or a cause to block her comments. Campaign pages should be a place to exchange ideas. I wouldn’t have blocked her posts if I were the Commissioner.”
Former Comal County Commissioner and noted conservative author Gregory Parker who is running against Riley in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election responded to Riley’s Facebook rant: “While assisting nonprofits is very noble, the law does not make an exception for a commissioner’s nonprofit associations and activities. These agencies can and should have retrieved the trailer from the commissioner’s private address or stored it with that nonprofit. It is clear that Commissioner Riley has just admitted to misusing government property for his benefit, i.e. storage of his and Doyal’s trailer for years. The DA should investigate and prosecute.”
Parker continued, “Further, if Judge Doyal or Commissioner Riley donated their trailers to the Precinct or the County, there should be records and a recorded vote of acceptance by the Commissioners Court of those donations.”
Republican Precinct Chair Ginger Russell added, “If Charlie needs to store his trailer or trailers nearby, there are a lot of private storage areas that we regular citizens use to store our personal property. Also, it doesn’t make sense what Charlie said about needing the trailers nearby, so he couldn’t store them at home. His home is only a few blocks away from the Precinct.”