Riley spends vast majority of campaign funds on legal fees

Left to right: Lobbyist and attorney Nelda Blair, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley.

Conroe, July 19 – Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley’s mid-year campaign finance report showed that Riley spent the vast majority of his campaign funds on legal fees. Riley is a criminal defendant in a prosecution by the State of Texas under the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) for Riley’s involvement in negotiating a November, 2015, road bond referendum. Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and local political boss, Marc Davenport, who worked for Riley at the time of the road bond referendum, are co-defendants with Riley in the criminal case.

Riley filed his campaign finance report on Friday, July 14, 2017. Riley’s report showed that he collected total political contributions of $176,431.00 and spent $126,705.82 during the period from January 1, 2017, to June 30, 2017. As of June 30, 2017, Riley’s campaign account had $128,803.15 in funds.

Riley’s campaign contributors read like a “who’s who” of Montgomery County vendors. His largest contributors include:

  • Aguirre & Fields LP PAC, $1,000, the political action committee of an engineering firm that does substantial business with Montgomery County
  • Allen Boone Humphries Robinson law firm, $1,000.00, which does business with Montgomery County, primarily to assist with water issues and issuance of debt
  • Andrews & Kurth Texas PAC, $1,000.00, a law firm political action committee that does business with the County
  • Brett Binkley of Houston, $2,500, the managing partner of Binkley & Barfield engineers, major engineering contractors with the County government
  • John Bleyl, $1,000, a local engineer who does business with the City of Conroe and the County
  • Jeff Cannon, $1,250, the engineer who is the president of LJA Associates, the engineering firm which does a lot of County business and also provided an annual fishing trip to elected officials and County Department heads
  • Costelle, Inc. PAC, $2,500, the committee of a Houston engineering firm, which transacts business with the County
  • Jeff Gerber, $2,500, an engineer whose firm does business with the County
  • Halff Associates, Inc., State PAC, $2,500, the political action committee of the Dallas engineering firm that received the multi-million project management contract for the Tx-249 Taxway for which Riley is the primary advocate
  • David Hamilton, $2,500, a Houston engineer who does substantial County business and works for Binkley & Barfield engineers
  • John Holzwarth, $3,315, the engineer who duplicates the services of the salaried Montgomery County Engineer, and receives several hundred thousand dollars per year for those duplicative services
  • Shou Ting Hu, $2,500, a Bellaire geotechnical engineer who works for Aviles Engineering Corporation, another major County contractor
  • Joel Hudnall, $1,250, a Madison, Mississippi engineer who works for Neel Schaffer Engineering, another County contractor
  • IDS Engineering Group PAC, of Houston, $2,500, another County vendor
  • David Johnston, $1,250, of Sugar Land, of Brown and Gay Engineers, another major County contractor
  • Jones & Carter, Inc., PAC, $2,500, the political action committee of the engineering firm that has received several million dollars on the Tx-249 Taxway project
  • Saukat Khan, $2,500, Sugar Land, an engineer with SP Engineering, who has done business with Montgomery County
  • Klotz Associates PAC, $2,500, the Houston engineering firm that transacts substantial business with the County
  • Hamachandra Kolluru, $5,000, an engineer and owner of Amani Engineering, also a major vendor for the County government
  • Sudhakar Kudhakar, $1,000, of KSE Professionals
  • Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP, $1,250, a law firm that does tax collections for Montgomery County
  • Jack Miller, $2,500, of RG Miller Engineers, which has does business with Montgomery County
  • Andrew Paderanga, RG Miller Engineers, $2,500, (same as Jack Miller)
  • Mahendra Rodrigo, GC Engineering, Inc., $2,500, which does business with Montgomery County
  • S&B PAC, Houston, $2,500, a general contractor which does business with Montgomery County
  • Bobby Singh, $5,000, Isani Consultants, a contractor who does road work for Riley, from Houston
  • Bob Smith, $5,000, GeoScience Engineering, an engineering firm
  • Louise Smulders, $2,500, Harris County Real Estate Investors
  • Travis Staudt, $2,500, Landtech Surveyors of Richmond, a major contractor on the Tx-249 Taxway project
  • Blair Law Firm, P.C., $2,500, lobbyist Nelda Blair’s law firm
  • GEO Group, Inc., PAC, $1,000, the prison management firm that has made a fortune off of business with Montgomery County
  • Giti Zarinkelk, $5,000, Zarinkelk Engineering, of Houston, which does substantial business with the County.

Obviously, the foregoing list reveals who Riley’s real constituency is when he makes road and bridge decisions.

The expenditures by Riley’s campaign are even more troubling. Out of the total $126,705.82, which Riley spent during the 6 month reporting period, Riley paid $47,419.25 to Conroe attorney Doug Atkinson and $41,000 to Schneider & McKinney law firm in Houston, both of which such firms represented Riley in the TOMA criminal case against him.

Riley also paid $11,000 to Southern Heritage Consulting, the party planning/consulting firm of Kristin Nichole, Riley’s campaign manager.

As always, Riley didn’t return the telephone call of The Golden Hammer seeking a comment. Both of his opponents in the Precinct 2 County Commissioners race for the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, Brian Dawson and Gregory Parker, responded, however.

Conroe businessman Brian Dawson told The Golden Hammer, “It’s unfortunate that Charlie had to work so hard to collect money for legal fees…Had he followed the way things should have been done, he wouldn’t have had this problem.”

Author and information technology consultant Gregory Parker told this newspaper, “I’m not surprised by these large legal expenses. This does solidify the fact that Montgomery County needs real change…we need a leader, not a defendant.”

 

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