Conroe, December 29 – Two individuals, who appeared on the Power Top Ten in 2016 (before The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, began to publish), Robert Marling and Bobby Adams, did not appear on the Power Top Ten list this year, as a result of changes in their circumstances. A third, Marc Davenport, is someone whom a lot of people discuss but who doesn’t appear in the Power Top Ten list for a different reason.
One person who was in the Power Top Ten in 2016, County Auditor Phyllis Martin, dropped down to the Runners-Up group. For a discussion of why she dropped, please see “Power Top Ten Runners-Up: Keough, Martin, Hayden, Bunch, Toth,” The Golden Hammer, December 27, 2017.
Robert Marling, retired Chief Executive Officer, Woodforest National Bank. Reason for dropping from Power Top Ten: retirement.
Robert Marling was #4 in the Power Top Ten last year. He’s no longer on the list, because he’s retired from Woodforest National Bank and only remains involved in the business as Chairman of Woodforest Financial Group. In other words, it’s apparent that Marling, who had an amazing career building Woodforest National Bank into the regional powerhouse that it is, has decided to enjoy life and free time more.
Marling remains active in the Montgomery County community. He’s still a major philanthropist and continues to show a deep care and concern for the people in this area.
Marling can probably get done what he wants to get done in the world of philanthropy. He’s also active in the operations of Woodforest Golf Club
Marling is one of the good guys.
Bobby Jack Adams, Vice President, Halff Associates, Inc., engineers. Reason for dropping from Power Top Ten: Adams’ two primary sources of his influence face deep challenges.
Bobby Jack Adams was #9 in the Power Top Ten last year. The following is the explanation why this individual, who was the only member of the Power Top Ten who did not reside in Montgomery County, made the list:
“Adams derives his power from many sources in addition to his father’s sterling reputation. Adams is a competent engineer, but he is mostly a master backroom politician and rainmaker for any engineering firm which employs him. His best friend is one Craig Doyal, currently serving as Montgomery County Judge. Adams was the best man at Doyal’s wedding when Doyal married his current wife, Amy. Adams and Doyal are business partners and spend a lot of business and leisure time together, especially on the golf course. Adams is also one of the shadowy figures lurking behind Doyal’s massive legal defense fund. As County Judge, Doyal has awarded his pal millions of dollars of county contracts during the past two years.
“Adams’ connection to the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) gives him enormous power in our community. The SJRA controls the water and water pricing of The Woodlands, numerous cities in Montgomery County, and numerous private utilities as well. Adams has consistently obtained lucrative engineering contracts from SJRA for whatever engineering firm he’s represented. Some people would argue that Adams gets from SJRA what he wants from SJRA and that he can do the same for his clients. Remember, that SJRA largely controls the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD), which greatly influences water use by numerous municipalities (including the City of Conroe) as well as real estate developments. County Judge Craig Doyal and Adams have carefully worked to ensure SJRA’s continued control over LSGCD’s board, which has greatly benefitted SJRA and Adams.
“As far as engineering business, water policy, road development, and county contracts, Bobby Adams largely gets what Bobby Adams or his firms want.”
There’s still some truth to the foregoing, but the reality is that Adams’ political world is falling apart. His three primary sources of influence, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, the SJRA, and the LSGCD face deep challenges to their methods of doing business. It’s very likely that Adams and Halff Associates won’t enjoy the backroom deals they’ve gotten in the Montgomery County government and the SJRA in the near future.
As for Montgomery County Judge Doyal, he’s facing a well-financed, well-organized, and keenly intelligent reformer in State Representative Mark Keough, who has vowed to clean up the corrupt mess Doyal has made of the Montgomery County government. Hundreds of the employees inside the County government have had enough of Doyal’s and his cronies’ corrupt practices. Doyal faces criminal legal challenges as well as a March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election which he most certainly doesn’t deserve to win. (If Doyal ran as a democrat in the Americans for Democratic Action wing of that party, he might better represent them than he does conservative Republican Montgomery County, Texas.)
As for the SJRA, the disaster which SJRA largely caused during the heavy rainfall of Tropical Storm Harvey has placed SJRA into a serious dilemma: either SJRA needs to reallocate its financial resources “to provide flood control” as its Enabling Act requires or SJRA faces the serious possibility of “sunset” during the 2019 Legislative Session when SJRA comes up for “sunset review.” Halff’s $2 million contract to do a hydrological study hasn’t helped SJRA much. Montgomery County citizens know where the water flows and generally how quickly it gets there. The real question, however, is why SJRA has never taken action to provide the flood control that the Legislature has required of it for eighty (80) years!
LSGCD, as a regulatory body, has given SJRA important monopoly opportunities for the sale of surface water, since LSGCD has over-regulated individuals’ and private companies’ use of their own groundwater. LSGCD faces the greatest peril of all. Its board will become an elected one beginning January 1, 2019. Electing individuals with genuine voter scrutiny to LSGCD will bring the walls of SJRA’s water monopoly down around it in very little time.
Corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport.
Some people suggested that corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport should be listed among the Power Top Ten, the individuals who can most effectively get things done. There are two problems with those suggestions. First, if an art thief stole the “Mona Lisa,” would you include him in the Forbes 400 richest Americans? Probably not for moral and ethical reasons. Someone with more than two dozen fake Facebook profiles hardly exudes power. Someone who has to rely on fake names, a team of convicted felons for operatives, and manipulating his wife and several law enforcement officers to lie to the public isn’t powerful. He’s just unethical.
Second, Davenport faces serious challenges in his corrupt little world. His wife faces a serious political challenge from Conroe ISD Board President Melanie Pryor Bush. Meanwhile, County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport chose precisely the worst time to make public her attempt to hide her office’s internal operations procedures from the public entitled to know those procedures under the Texas Open Records Act/Texas Public Information Act. Obviously, Stephanne Davenport could have benefitted from the services of an objective political consultant.
Davenport’s other candidates in the 2018 election also suffer from black marks. JP James Metts is the very definition of abuse of power – sexual harassment findings by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a taxpayer-funded settlement of those sexual misconduct findings, current sexual misconduct in the form of having an ongoing relationship with a direct-report County employee in his JP court office, a bizarre lawsuit Metts filed against the County and then ruled upon as the judge in the same case, and forcing the JP courts to use the NetData database which is costing the County millions of dollars per year in lost fees and fines collections from convicted criminals.
Jason Dunn’s main problem is that he is a member of the Davenport Ring. He’s running against Ron Willingham for the Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace position. Willingham is a highly-respected Deputy Constable who is also well-liked.
While Marc Davenport continues to influence information technology and purchasing through his control over weak County Judge Craig Doyal, the fact that corruption is seeing the light of public scrutiny has created challenges for the corrupt Davenport Ring which probably ought to number Doyal within its ranks. Davenport’s fake profiles and his team of convicted felon operatives are making the situation a lot worse for the man who defines corruption in the Montgomery County government.
That’s not power.