Conroe, February 24 – The corruption of County Judge Craig Doyal is endless. The “Hit List,” nepotism, multi-million dollar conflicts of interest, enforced secrecy, and at least one more item which is frosting on the cake mark his tenure.
During a presentation at a Montgomery County Tea Party meeting, a Houston attorney this past Monday night discussed the fact that Montgomery County’s government is known for two attributes more than any other: (1) it’s run by the “good ol boy system”, and (2) it’s “the most corrupt County in all of Texas.” County Attorney Jerry Don “Ice Man” Lambright, who, rather than serving in his function as the elected County Attorney, has descended into acting as Craig Doyal’s personal attorney, turned so red in the face during the presentation that some of those in attendance were worried they’d need to call an ambulance.
The “Hit List”
After Doyal defeated County Infrastructure Director Mark Bosma in the 2014 Republican Runoff Election, Doyal developed a “Hit List” of County government employees whom he wanted to eliminate. The “Hit List” was no secret. At least President Richard Nixon kept his “enemies list” private for a brief period of time before Special Counsel John Dean disclosed it to the Senate Watergate Committee. Doyal was proud of his list and publicized it. The list includes Bosma (Doyal terminated him), Purchasing Director Darlou Zenor (Doyal terminated her), Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw (she’s renowned for fighting back in a February 13, 2017, letter, distributed far and wide), Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack (Doyal’s at war with him now), District Attorney Brett Ligon (Doyal tries to ignore Ligon who’s too effective for Doyal to topple), and Precinct 2 Constable Gene DeForest, among several others.
Although Doyal has, at times, denied the existence of the “Hit List,” there are too many occasions where he’s discussed it with other County officials and too many occasions where they objects of Doyal’s wrath have mentioned the list as well. Shaw’s February 13, 2017, letter specifically addressed the “Hit List” explicitly. She begged Doyal to accept her pledge of fealty to him and reminded him in the letter that she has attempted to pledge her loyalty to him for two years. Shaw has sounded more like one of the family bosses pledging her loyal to Don Corleone than a county department manager. On Wednesday, February 22, 2017, Shaw met with County Attorney Lambright for more than two hours and expressed fear for her job during the meeting. Will she meet the fate of Fredo? What did Austin political consultant Pete Peterson mean in his email where he discussed how upbeat Doyal was in a recent conversation about the Texas Open Meetings Act indictment but quoted him saying “there will be blood in the streets”? Is that really how a County Judge should speak?
The “Hit List” is nothing but crass politics. Doyal has turned county management into personal interference with each and every county department.
Interference with Discourse: The Pseudonyms
Team Doyal fears public discussion. In fact, they hate public discussion. Doyal’s team inside the Sadler Administration Building includes fired newspaper editor Jim Fredricks as its “chief of staff.”
Fredricks is the chief over two secretaries one of whom is Sylvia Olszowy. Fredricks receives a full-time salary in excess of $114,000 per year but he runs a real estate firm on the side and also has a small public relations firm. Most importantly, Fredricks has led an effort to interfere with public discussion of County issues for several years. For many years, he wrote under the pseudonym “Yizguy” in the Courier blog’s online comments. Most of Yizguy’s comments included attacks on Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack’s physical stature and on community sage Bill O’Sullivan’s conservative principles. After The Golden Hammer outed Fredricks as Yizguy, Yizguy disappeared.
Fredricks has worked closely with an outsider who desperately seeks community acceptance and, for the longest time, wrote under the fake name “The Hoodlands.” Fredricks and The Hoodlands used to meet regularly in public during Commissioners Court meetings. The Hoodlands also attacked O’Sullivan, the Tea Party groups, anyone living south of the San Jacinto River, and, of course, Noack. At one point, The Hoodlands recommended killing every living animal inside the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. The Hoodlands admitted his identity in a post on Jim Clark’s Facebook page.
More recently, we’ve seen two other interesting personalities in the Courier blog and on social media. One is “Agador Spartacus,” a reference to a gay butler in the movie “The Birdcage.” Agador Spartacus somehow published comments that were word-for-word identical to private emails County Attorney Lambright had written to the Courier blog’s Catherine Dominguez. Of course, Lambright wrote many of those emails on a County computer and server during the County business day. The emails were an attack on a private citizen who dared to criticize the County government. Just as Yizguy and The Hoodlands wrote fiction as though it was factual, so did Agador.
Most recently, we observed the appearance of someone named “Cathy Lee.” It turns out she’s a real person. Over the past weekend, Ms. Lee began to blast this newspaper on Facebook. She lied by claiming she had no connection to the County government. She accused this newspaper of having no confidential sources inside the County. What was then ironic was that no less than eight of those confidential sources contacted The Golden Hammer on Sunday afternoon to disclose that Cathy Lee is the daughter of Sylvia Olszowy, the personal secretary of Craig Doyal! Although Ms. Lee showed no remorse for lying on Facebook about her connections to the County government – and there are several – at least she wrote under her real name.
Doyal has presided over rampant nepotism in the County government. The Building Maintenance Department seems mostly a family affair. The Director Paul Case employs his son as a welder at more than $91,000 per year salary, although Doyal has attempted to hide the son in the payroll of the County Engineering Department. The welder-son’s business card shows the address of the Building Maintenance Department. Building Maintenance is where Doyal is hiding Bill Meador (Mike’s brother), Angela Ford (Mike Meador’s secretary’s daughter), and the entire Wright family, among others.
Doyal’s daughter Lindsey is the “payroll coordinator” insider the County Treasurer’s office. Doyal and Fredricks recently interfered with County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s efforts to “reorganize” her 7-person department. Doyal and Fredricks have gotten into a tussle with Human Resources Director Shaw and her assistant Kathy Flowers who had the temerity to question whether Lindsey Doyal’s family ties might have something to do with discussions of promoting her to “Assistant County Treasurer.”
There’s a lot more nepotism to discuss, but, today, we’ve got limited megabytes.
Conflicts of Interest
The entire Montgomery County Toll Road Authority is a conflict of interest. Doyal and company are borrowing millions of dollars from Montgomery County for their $100 million 3.6 mile Decimation of Hope Highway project in far southwest Montgomery County in order to feed Doyal’s political contributors who are also supporting his criminal legal defense. Doyal acts as both the borrower (MCTRA) and the lender (the County) in that transaction. Thanks for Lambright, they’ve defenestrated the brand new Code of Ethics of Montgomery County which prohibits outside activities which conflict with County duties.
Meanwhile, Doyal feeds millions of dollars to his business partner Bobby Adams’ firm Halff Associates. Doyal has assisted Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley in hiding from the citizens the fact that they created a brand new position, at $58,000 per year salary, for Riley’s wife to go to work in a constable’s office.
Doyal regularly votes in the Commissioners Court for spending directly involving his business partner and his daughter and he’s created the environment where other Court members do the same.
Doyal has made clear that County employees may not provide information to the public. The employees are terrified of Doyal. When Purchasing Director Zenor provided a copy of the Halff Associates-Montgomery County engineering contract to The Golden Hammer in a 1-hour turnaround Open Records Act request, Doyal terminated her the next morning.
Doyal serves on the Board of Directors of Woodlands Road Utility District #1, one of the worst examples of taxation without representation since an incident occurred approximately 244 years ago in Boston Harbor.
Doyal has never met a spending project he hasn’t liked. Just look at the Montgomery County Budget. It’s filled with fake accounts, ghost employees who receive full funding for their positions, and utter mismanagement. The Budget is a spending explosion, and Doyal has made clear he wants more. He’s even tried to usurp the phrase “fiscal conservative” to mean spending more money! Perhaps, that’s the world in which Craig Doyal lives.
Doyal presides over The War Against The Taxpayers.