Image: Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough showed an Odysseus-like resolve as he heroically voted against the appointment of pseudologist Charlie Riley (Precinct 2 Commissioner) to be the Montgomery County Tollroad Authority Chairman.
Conroe, January 10 – Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough was the lone vote against the appointment of renowned pseudologist Charlie Riley as Chairman of the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority (MCTRA) at the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. The four County Commissioners, including Riley himself, all voted in favor of the Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Riley whose flabbergasting behavior – developing a reputation far and wide as an anti-citizen liar – resulted in the construction of the TX 249 Tollway as a tollroad when the Texas Department of Transportation would have constructed the road as a free road, or freeway, were it not for Riley’s misconduct.
Discussion of who chould be on the MCTRA Board
Montgomery County Republican Party Vice Chairman Reagan Reed began the substantive discussion during the Commissioners Court meeting with a citizen comment about the Toll Road Authority. Reed said, “I encourage you to appoint people to this board who are citizens. Serving on Toll Road Authority is conflict of interest for members of the Commissioners Court. There are a lot of other people who would be willing to service. You should appoint fresh faces to that body.”
Republican Party Treasurer John Hill Wertz echoed Reed’s remarks and discussed others related to the $85 million, 3.1 mile, TX 249 Tollway, better known as the “Decimation of Hope Highway.”
The members of the Commissioners Court, other than Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, ignored Reed and Wertz almost entirely.
Noack raised the question whether the MCTRA Bylaws require that the officers and directors be members of the Commissioners Court. Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin explained, “The bylaws do not state that the directors of the Tollroad Authority must be Commissioners Court members.”
Meador moves to make flourishing pseudologist Riley Chairman of the MCTRA board
Assistant County Attorney Amy Dunham announced to the Commissioners Court that the County’s Attorney’s Office had drafted a resolution appointing Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough as Chairman of the MCTRA board, Riley as Vice Chairman, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador as Secretary, and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack as Treasurer.
Noack quickly interjected that he didn’t want to be an officer of MCTRA and suggested that Precinct 4 County Commissioner James Metts serve as Treasurer.
Meador interrupted the discussion without Judge Keough recognizing him, as parliamentary procedure would require, and said, “I’d rather see Commissioner Riley be Chairman. It’s all in his precinct.” Meador referred to the fact that the entire Decimation of Hope Highway is in Riley’s Commissioner’s Precinct.
Meador then moved to add Keough and Metts as directors. The vote was unanimous.
Meador then moved to make himself Vice Chairman, Metts Treasurer, and Keough Secretary. There was never a second to the motion, so it should have failed.
Keough fights the tollroad Cyclops
At that point in the discussion, Keough expressed the novel concept that appointment of officer positions on the MCTRA board should flow from the merit of the individual Commissioner in the field of mobility planning and management. Keough said, “It’s my opinion with all due respect…It’s my feeling we see most of the planning in the area where Commissioner Noack is, and I’d like to amend the motion to make him Chairman of the Toll Road Authority and make Meador Vice Chairman and Charlie as Secretary.”
Noack retorted, “I’m the most anti-toll person in the room and should not be serving as Chairman of the Toll Road Authority.”
Keough continued to fight for a citizen advocate, Noack, as Toll Road Authority Chairman discussion: “…what’s important is the issue of tolls and paying for residents is important. The Republican Party is against it. We need to move traffic around this county. One thing I pledge is if we do tolls, it would only be with the vote of the people. We’re all pro-transportation. Commissioner Noack has demonstrated that he wants the people to have a voice.”
Of course, the implication was that Riley had demonstrated that Riley is an elitist by:
- Secretly lobbying the Texas Department of Transportation to make the TX 249 Tollway a tollroad rather than a free road, so that the small portion of that road, which the County government wanted to construct (3.1 miles), could be a tollroad as well rather than a tollroad in the middle of freeways. Why did Riley want a tollroad so badly? It was a mechanism for Riley and his mentor, disgraced former County Judge Craig Doyal, to funnel approximately $100 million to contractors who would make gigantic contributions to Riley’s and Doyal’s criminal legal defense funds.
- Lying to the Texas Department of Transportation on June 27, 2017, that Montgomery County was “unified in support” for TX 249 to be a tollroad, when, in fact, more than 90% of Montgomery County voters voted for Ballot Proposition 2 in March, 2018, which opposed tollroad construction without voter approval first.
- Lying to Montgomery County citizens that TxDOT would not build the road as a free road. In fact, a TxDOT representative, Victor Vandergriff, came before the Commissioners Court in December, 2017, and told the public that TxDOT would build the road as a freeway.
- Lying to Montgomery County citizens that there was no mechanism for voters to vote up or down to approve the bonds to pay for the road when, in fact, the statute made clear that the Commissioners Court could put the issue before the voters in a referendum.
There were a lot more lies from Riley, the practiced pseudologist, but there are a limited number of bytes.
With no one seconding Meador’s motion or Keough’s amendment, the Commissioners Court then voted on Meador’s motion.
Metts’ conflict of interest
Metts should not have voted on the motion to appoint the MCTRA board and he most certainly has a severe conflict of interest in acting as a board member and in acting as MCTRA’s Treasurer (!). Metts has a multi-million logging contract with TxDOT for the TX 249 Tollway.
Metts has directly profited from the construction of TX 249. He has no business making decisions on behalf of the citizens where he has a direct financial interest.
Keough’s heroic vote
Brand new Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough was the sole vote against Meador’s corrupt resolution. Sadly, even Noack voted for it. Meador’s resolution to make Riley Chairman of MCTRA passed on a 4 to 1 vote.
Renowed conservative activist and Republican Precinct Chair Ginger Russell, also known as “The Quiet Lady From Magnolia,” said in response, “My reaction is nausea. I’m disappointed but bot at all surprised.”
Keough’s vote was heroic and historic. His argument in favor of Noack, the Anti-Tollroad Commissioner, serving as MCTRA’s Chairman was purely an argument for the rights of the citizens.
It was a great example of heroic action in the face of ugly corruption, much like Odysseus fighting Polyphemus (meaning “singer of songs and legends”) the Cyclops.