Image: Corruption bonded with corruption and nepotism bonded with nepotism, when Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, who created jobs for his wife and his nephew at taxpayer expense and whose constituents are County engineering firms and other vendors who pay for his criminal legal defense fund, embraced JP James Metts who cost the County taxpayers $45,000 to settle the sexual harassment lawsuit a former County employee brought when Metts, as the U.S. EEOC found, insisted she have sex with him and fired her for refusing.
Magnolia, April 8 – Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley seems to have lost his moorings. A basic principle of a conservative lifestyle is to take responsibility for your actions and learn from your mistakes. Riley, however, takes the opposite approach: he blames everyone else for all of his screwups.
Yesterday, he issued a screed, which is almost Unabomberesque, on his Facebook page in which the embattled May 22 Republican Runoff candidate and incumbent admitted:
- Nepotism. Riley created a job for his wife, Deanne Riley, in the County government, after Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson didn’t keep her on as a Sheriff’s Office employee at the end of 2016. Riley admitted that he made the motion to create the job and, only a month later, Deanne Riley took the job. It’s called the “Riley 2-Step” because Riley created the job, step 1, and then filled the position with his wife, step 2.
- Mobility project horror show. 24 road bond projects for Precinct 2 received voter approval in the November, 2015, road bond referendum. Two years later, Riley had only begun two of the 24 projects. Now, that Riley is facing a serious electoral challenge from conservative reformer Greg Parker, who served two very popular and successful terms as a County Commissioner in Comal County before he moved to Montgomery County, Riley has finally begun to work on some of the other road bond projects. Nevertheless, based entirely only upon Riley’s admissions, less than one-third of the 24 projects have even begun construction three years after the voters approved the road bond referendum! Riley’s record on mobility is a horror show.
- Bought and paid for. “Almost all of the developers and engineers from the surrounding areas [i.e., outside of Montgomery County] give to all of the county Commissioners’ fundraisers. Riley is no exception.” Riley’s political contribution bank account is primarily a criminal legal defense fund, which those developers and engineers have primarily supported. Even Riley has admitted his focus that he “has had to defend himself legally.” The criminal indictment by a June, 2016, Montgomery County Grand Jury is “political oppression” for which Riley has blamed Ginger Russell. Russell had nothing to do with the pending criminal indictment against Riley for official misconduct which would lead to his removal from office if found guilty of the alleged conspiracy to violate the Texas Open Meetings Act.
- Tollroad profligacy. The TX 249 Tollway, which is only three (3) miles long, more commonly known as the Decimation of Hope Highway, will cost at least $69 million, or $23 million per mile! It will be one of the most expensive tollroads ever built in American history. Since Riley won’t allow the voters to approve or disapprove the tollroad project in a referendum, Riley is forcing Montgomery County taxpayers to pay an additional $17 million in interest payments on the project for bonds that are far more expensive than they would be if Riley dared let the voters vote up or down on the project.
- Riley raided tax dollars in County government general funds for his tollroad disaster. Riley raided the general revenue fund in the amount of more than $13 million to pay for the TX 249 Tollway, even though he assured Montgomery County citizens at a Magnolia Area Republican Women meeting that he would never use general revenue funds without having a voter referendum first. Riley attempted to tell people in his campaign literature late in 2017 that the amount raided from the general revenue coffers was considerably less than $13 million. Now, Riley admits he was lying. Riley is attempting to finesse the issue by saying he only borrowed the money (“the money is loaned, not spent.”) What Riley, who also admitted he filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and failed to repay his creditors, perhaps doesn’t understand is that the money is spent. Furthermore, the taxpayers of Montgomery County will get no interest at all for the $13 million. Even at a prime rate interest loan, the taxpayers of Montgomery County have lost over $2 million in the value of those dollars, even if Riley does eventually repay them, because Riley doesn’t intend to pay any interest at all.
- Woodlands Parkway Extension: he’s still pushing it. Riley admitted that he has refused to remove the Woodlands Parkway Extension from the Houston-Galveston Area Council Major Thoroughfare Plan which he proposed and approved in 2016, one year after Montgomery County voters, especially in Commissioners Precincts 2 and 3, disapproved the project.
- Failure to show law enforcement leadership. Riley tried to claim credit for adding 64 new law enforcement officers to the Sheriff’s Office, until the truth came out that the Sheriff’s Office has actually lost manpower during Riley’s tenure as Commissioner. Now that Riley knows the truth, Riley is blaming Sheriff Rand Henderson for the reduction in law enforcement officers.
- Criminal indictment pending. Riley admitted that he is under criminal indictment for official misconduct for alleged conspiracy to violate the Texas Open Meetings Act.
- MCLEA supports Parker over Riley. Riley criticized the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Association for endorsing Greg Parker, his electoral opponent. Riley did, however, also admit that he uses his County government email address on campaign literature.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy; failure to pay his debts. Riley admitted that he and his wife filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy and failed to pay all of their creditors. Riley has tried to blame “a guy from Jordan.”
- Opposed 20% homestead exemption. Riley admitted that he voted “no” on the 20% homestead exemption, even though he brags in his campaign literature as though he was the author of that proposal.
- Wasting money on an Airport that does nothing for Precinct 2 (or any other part of Montgomery County either). Riley admitted that he consistently votes to fund the Montgomery County Airport, which is far away from Commissioners Precinct 2, and that it’s a sinkhole for County tax dollars. If you live in Commissioners Precinct 2, have you enjoyed the use of the Montgomery County Airport? If you live in Commissioners Precinct 2, how much “economic development” benefit have you received from the three convenience stores and government buildings which surround the Airport? If you live in Commissioners Precinct 2, how much benefit have you felt from the Deison Technology Park (which has lain totally empty for years) that is next to the Airport?
- Bullying other Commissioner. Riley admitted that he called Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark to rebuke him for voting against Riley’s beloved Decimation of Hope Highway.
- Raised his own salary over recommendation from Salary Study Committee. Riley admitted that he voted to give himself a 3% pay raise in 2016, even though the Salary Study Committee, which Riley helped to appoint, recommended against any pay raises, because Riley’s salary was already much higher than almost every other County Commissioner in Texas!
- Tried to put his two best friends on the County Ethics Committee (probably because he’s ethically-challenged). Riley admitted that he tried to put his two best friends on the County Ethics Committee. Only County Attorney J.D. Lambright’s intervention stopped Riley from stacking the Committee with cronies.
- Raised your property taxes while serving on the Appraisal District. Riley admitted that he served on the Montgomery Central Appraisal District Board, which, by law, set the policies for the massive increases in tax appraisals during Riley’s tenure on the board.
- Has rejected “zero-based budgeting” and supported massive government spending increases. Riley admitted that he has rejected the concept of “zero-based budgeting” and, instead, supports the concept of starting with current spending levels as a base for future budgets. That’s why taxes keep increasing.
- Goetz-Gate: how much worse can it get than that? Riley admitted that he was at the epicenter of the Goetz-Gate scandal where, thanks to Riley’s testimony, a man got off after he was charged with manslaughter by causing the deaths of passengers in his car when it literally flew into the air off of Nichols Sawmill Road. What is amazing about Riley’s screed is that he seemed to brag about the poor condition of the road as a cause for the tragic deaths. Since the road was one of the improvement projects over which Riley was responsible as Precinct 2 Operations Manager, are we to infer that Riley takes responsibility for the deaths?
Riley has never shown any cognition, increased wisdom, or improvement after the numerous mistakes he has repeatedly made. His willingness to admit all of those mistakes would have been a good first start but for the fact that Riley also attempted to blame the rest of the world for all of them.