Image: Alan B. Sadler Administration Building, Conroe, Texas, where, in the beautifully-furnished, well-appointed County Judge’s Office, County Judge Craig Doyal filmed a political advertisement last week.
Conroe, May 25 – It’s not a sinister reason, but a good one, as to why Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson is investigating the “Video-Gate” scandal which The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper broke on Sunday, May 21, 2017. In an exclusive interview this evening, District Attorney Brett Ligon confirmed that “The County Sheriff is conducting the investigation, because that office has jurisdiction County-wide, as opposed to the Conroe Police Department which has jurisdiction in the City of Conroe.”
Since the Sadler Administration Building is in Conroe, both agencies have jurisdiction over the investigation of County Judge Craig Doyal’s filming of a political advertisement inside his County office late last week, which would seem to constitute a Class A misdemeanor under Section 255.003 of the Texas Election Code and possibly a violation of Penal Code Section 39.02, abuse of official capacity, which could constitute a misdemeanor or felony, depending upon the value of the use of Doyal’s County office. A fully-furnished and fully-appointed executive office leases for approximately $500 to $1000 for a minimum daily rental in the Greater Houston area. That value would place the offense in the range of a Class B or Class A misdemeanor under Section 39.02 of the Penal Code.
In his letter referring the investigation to Sheriff Henderson, Ligon requested an investigation under both the Election Code provision and the Penal Code provision.
Ligon said, “I discussed the situation with both the Conroe Police Chief and Sheriff Henderson. I believed the best practice was for the Sheriff to conduct the investigation rather than conducting an investigation with officers from the District Attorney’s Office’s Public Integrity Unit.” Furthermore, Henderson had made a campaign pledge while he ran for the Sheriff’s Office that he would conduct public integrity investigations within the Sheriff’s Office.
While rumors abounded throughout Montgomery County yesterday that Sheriff Henderson undertaking the investigation had something to do with his political and public relations consultant Marc Davenport, there is no indication that either Davenport or Nathan Arrazate are or should be targets of the investigation, because they are neither public officials nor County employees. Texas Election Code 255.003 only pertains to public officials or County employees. Since Davenport and Arrazate are not public servants, they should not be subject to Texas Penal Code Section 39.02.
Henderson intends to conduct the investigation through his Internal Affairs Division and will likely not be directly involved himself. Henderson certainly seems to have the background, skills, and integrity to conduct this important investigation.