Image: Terrell Palmer, Post Oak Municipal Advisors, announced in the April 24, 2018, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court that he had a “fiduciary duty” to the people of Montgomery County. He then proceeded to lie about the cost and amount of bond debt planned for the TX 249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.
Conroe, May 1 – $5 million here. $5 million there. Pretty soon, you start talking about a lot of money. Sadly, the old Senator Everett Dirksen quip doesn’t seem very humorous when the citizens of Montgomery County must face the dictatorial actions of three members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal who lost re-election by a landslide margin fifty-five days ago, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley who has been on a rocket mission to toll and tax the citizens of Precinct 2 as hard and as quickly as possible even though the Texas Department of Transportation made clear to the public in late 2017 that they would build the TX 249 extension as a free road, and also tax-spending Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador.
Those three have made clear that they’ll build the 3-mile TX 249 Tollway, in order to shovel millions of dollars to their vendors of choice, no matter what. Perhaps, their single worst move came on June 29, 2017, when Doyal and Riley lied to the Texas Transportation Commission that the citizens of Montgomery County are “unified in support” of tolling TX 249.
Sadly, the situation got a lot worse during the April 24, 2018, meeting of the Commissioners Court. This article only deals with one of those sad circumstances, but there are several others.
During the meeting, Charles “Terrell” Palmer, the owner of a brand new financial firm he just created by the name of Post Oak Municipal Advisors in Houston, announced, “I am the financial advisor. I have a fiduciary responsibility to the County and to the tollroad authority…I have a responsibility to do the right thing the way the math tells me we should be doing this.”
Palmer then proceeded to give a lengthy analysis in which he claimed the taxpayers of Montgomery County would actually save money by issuing debt through his financial firm (for which Palmer would receive a gigantic commission, of course). Palmer mostly stayed out of the fray of the back-and-forth discussion among tollroad opponents Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark on the one hand and tollroad proponents Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley and paid-tollroad lawyer Rich Muller on the other hand.
It was interesting, however, that Palmer claimed to have a fiduciary responsibility to Montgomery County. A fiduciary responsibility is a duty of the highest care and involves two primary additional duties: (1) a duty of full disclosure, and (2) a duty of loyalty. Palmer attempted to skirt the tough questions about the terms of the proposed bond issuance.
After two years of claims by Riley and Doyal that the TX 249 Tollway would only cost $76 million, it seemed appropriate for someone finally to disclose the real price Montgomery County citizens would suffer for the 3-mile Decimation of Hope Highway.
At the end of the meeting, Palmer had to confront a very straightforward question from Noack who asked, “What is the total amount of debt that we’re going to need to issue?”
Palmer answered, “90 million.” The massive amount of debt Palmer eagerly urged the Montgomery County government to take on resulted in a hushed silence in the Commissioners Courtroom. Even Riley’s normally hissing and catcalling section of the so-called “Charlie Riley Band” was silent among the audience members.
Unfortunately for the citizens of Montgomery County, Palmer breached his fiduciary duty by lying.
Unknown to the vast majority of the people in the room, Doyal, Riley, and Meador had already placed a notice in the Courier blog the morning of April 24, 2018. That notice, and others like it that Doyal has placed during the past year might explain the reason that the Courier blog consistently covers up any negative facts about the Montgomery County government and Doyal, in particular: Doyal and his freespending allies are an important source of revenue to keep the failing Courier blog financially alive.
On the morning of April 24, however, the legal notice advertisement tucked at the bottom of the inside of the blog, revealed an ugly fact.
Palmer had lied. The citizens of Montgomery County now know the horrible truth that the Decimation of Hope Highway will be one of the most expensive tollroads in all of American history at a cost of almost $32 million per mile, and a total price of