Image: Corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport (right) standing next to Montgomery Police Chief James Napolitano who doesn’t look very comfortable appearing in the photograph.
Conroe, December 5 – When it comes to Montgomery County government purchasing and information technology decisions, there’s no question who’s in charge: corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport. Davenport, who directs the Davenport Ring of corrupt politicians who are willing to put the County Government “for sale,” has demanded cooperation from Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and some of the County Department Directors that they allow Phonoscope, Davenport’s favored deep fiber optic cable supplier, into Montgomery County facilities, buildings, and rights-of-way.
The Davenport Ring includes Davenport’s wife County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport, JP Wayne Mack, Sheriff Rand Henderson, Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden, and JP candidate Todd Dunn.
Even though Phonoscope has no contract with the County government, Phonoscope is running roughshod installing fiber optic cable lines in County rights-of-way and buildings. Sheriff Rand Henderson, whose largest political contributor is Lee Cook, Phonoscope’s Chief Executive Officer, has invited Phonoscope into the Montgomery County Jail and Law Enforcement Complex. Doyal has permitted Phonoscope to install lines in the Sadler Administration Building, while Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley has invited the rogue vendor into his Precinct 2 Office Buildings.
While the County government, under Doyal and County Auditor Phyllis Martin, has begun to pay substantial sums of money to Phonoscope, despite the fact the company has no County contract, there’s no question about one fact: Phonoscope has free rein on County property in Commissioners Precincts 1 and 2. (Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark will not permit Phonoscope to install fiber optic cable in their respective Precincts, although Phonoscope has made several rogue installations in Commisioner’s Precinct 4.)
Phonoscope first came to the attention of this newspaper when a member of the Davenport Ring asked an individual to invest money in a “syndicate” under which the Davenport Ring would sell Phonoscope’s services to area municipalities, homeowners associations, and private real estate developers, while using the County government’s “trunkline” as the primary connection. The individual reported the situation to this newspaper on the condition of anonymity. The Golden Hammer has confirmed that another similar incident occurred with a different member of the Davenport Ring.
Davenport’s direction of the Information Technology Department
Davenport, who is not a County employee and never has been one, takes enormous liberties directing County employees and County Departments. While JP James Metts has often introduced Davenport at County employee meetings as “my sworn deputy,” the County Human Resources Department has confirmed that Davenport has no County employee status, other than that he’s listed as dependent on Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s health coverage.
Davenport directed County government Information Technology Director Marshall Shirley to set up a meeting to discuss Davenport’s directions for the implementation of the Phonoscope fiber optic cable system throughout the County government. Shirley and some of his employees tried to resist the meeting, but Davenport aggressively insisted on the meeting. When Shirley asked who would attend the planned meeting, Davenport responded, “Wednesday at 2:00 [September 21, 2016] will work. Rand Henderson is a stakeholder he will be joining me.” Henderson was the Sheriff-Elect at the time of the meeting and his forced participation in the technological planning with Shirley and his team.
Of course, one should ask the question why Shirley would follow the direction of Davenport at all. The answer arises from a plan in late summer, 2016, to install a deep fiber optic cable system at the East Montgomery County Fairgrounds. A nationally-renowned fiber optic cable vendor, WaveMedia, has bid for the Fairgrounds job and was the lowest bidder. Therefore, County Judge Doyal put the contract between WaveMedia and Montgomery County on the Commissioners Court agenda for an upcoming meeting in August, 2016.
Davenport has instructed Doyal to include Davenport on the distribution list for the draft Commissioners Court agenda, which is interesting, because Doyal will not share the draft agenda with other members of the Commissioners Court much of the time. Davenport caught the proposed WaveMedia contract, called Doyal, and demanded that Doyal remove the WaveMedia contract from the Commissioners Court agenda. At that point, Doyal’s “chief of staff” jim fredricks summoned Shirley and one of his top IT Department employees to Doyal’s office.
During that meeting with fredricks, Doyal, Shirley, and one other IT employee in attendance, Doyal got upset with Shirley for “trying to upset the apple cart.” Doyal told Shirley and his employee, “We cannot proceed with fiber optic cable installations, unless you’ve clear them with Marc Davenport first, so don’t put items on the agenda like that.”
Therefore, Shirley and his staff certainly know that they cannot proceed with fiber optic cable work, unless Davenport is involved in the direction of it.
On one other occasion in the spring of 2017, Doyal and fredricks summoned Shirley to Doyal’s office again for a meeting about Phonoscope. Doyal didn’t attend the meeting, as he had to fulfill a golf obligation. fredricks made clear to Shirley and his employee that “Marc Davenport makes the decisions about fiber optic cable installations; you don’t.”
Why does Doyal allow Davenport to boss him around? Fear. Please see “Conroe City Councilman Duane Ham: ‘The Davenports’ Threats Against County Judge Craig Doyal Are An Insult To The Law Enforcement Community And The Citizens’ (The Davenports, Part 1),” The Golden Hammer, May 31, 2017.
Very clearly, Marc Davenport runs the Montgomery County government’s purchasing and information technology functions. It’s a government “for sale.”