Conroe, January 17 – Commissioner (Precinct 2) Charlie Riley’s semi-annual campaign finance report reveals substantial legal fees he paid for his criminal defense related to his indictment for conspiring to violate the Texas Open Meetings Act. Riley spent $20,000 on legal fees out of campaign contributions between July 1 and December 31, 2016. Riley is conducting another fundraiser on February 16, just six weeks before the conspiracy trial is set to begin on March 27 in a Montgomery County District Court.
Riley filed his semi-annual report on January 10, 2017.
Riley reported $100,101.30 in campaign contributions that he maintained as of December 31, 2016. During the six-month period he received $5,500.00 in contributions and spent $48,022.59. Riley received a $500 campaign contribution from Richard Sheldon of Waco on August 17, 2016. Sheldon is a real estate developer who owns land along the TX-249 corridor where Riley is spearheading a $100 million 3.6-mile toll road project which Montgomery County taxpayers are funding, due in large part to Riley’s support on the Commissioners Court. Riley also received $1,000 from Walter Smith, an engineer with Arbor Leaf Engineering, of Tomball. Giti Zarenkelk, of Zarenkelk Engineering, of Houston, contributed $3,500 to Riley during the reporting period. Jim Russ, EHRA Engineering, of Houston donated $1,000 to Riley.
On October 11, 2016, Riley paid Conroe criminal defense attorney Douglas Atkinson $10,000. Atkinson is the lead attorney representing Riley in the conspiracy trial. On October 4, 2016, Riley also paid Schneider & McKinney law firm of Houston, who specialize in white collar criminal defense, $10,000. Riley’s largest non-legal expenditure during the reporting period was a $7,550 contribution he made to the Magnolia Independent School District Livestock Show on November 29, 2016, to benefit the youth livestock show portion of the event.
Riley is now embroiled in a dispute with Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack and the Woodlands Township board of directors, because Riley has backed a plan to construct an extension of Mansions Way, just south of Woodlands Parkway, westward from F.M. 2978 to TX-249 in order to justify traffic projections to support constructing the 3.6 mile $100 million TX-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” project, also known as the Aggie Parkway. TxDOT had funded the project entirely, but Riley and County Judge Craig Doyal stepped in to provide $100 million of Montgomery County funds in order to control the choice of engineering firms and contractors who would construct the road.