Conroe and The Woodlands, May 14 – Woodlands Township Board of Directors of Chairman Gordy Bunch disclosed a shocking revelation during the “It’s Hammer Time” television program on Friday, May 11, 2018. Bunch, who owns the largest insurance agency in this area, The Woodlands Financial Group, which is also one of the largest insurance agencies in the United States, absolutely refuses to do business with The Woodlands Township or with any governmental entity that does work directly with the Township.
Bunch discussed what happened recently when the Township needed some new insurance. “I helped the Township develop a process to determine the lowest cost insurer but I would not allow my company to participate in the process,” Bunch told The Golden Hammer. Bunch would not permit himself or any of his companies to do business or profit from the Township.
Similarly, Bunch described that he provided the same assistance to the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), the state agency in Conroe, the primary duty of which is “to provide flood control” in the watershed of the San Jacinto River, but which is involved in the sale of surface water at retail and wholesale prices instead. SJRA asked Bunch’s assistance in obtaining insurance for the operations of the River Authority. Bunch was “happy to help them” but he, once again, refused to participate in the process for himself or his insurance companies. “I am careful to avoid conflicts of interest.”
In 2016, Bunch ran for re-election to the Woodlands Township Board of Directors. During that election, many local individuals and businesses sought to contribute financial to Bunch’s campaign. While Bunch held campaign events where he invited supporters, Bunch refused to accept campaign contributions. Before this newspaper even existed, Bunch told the Publisher, “I value my independence. I’d prefer not to take any campaign contributions.”
Bunch stands as a model of ethics and independence that the Montgomery County government ought to follow.
The primary campaign fund contributors to County Judge Craig Doyal and the four County Commissioners are engineers and construction contractors who either are County government vendors or seek to become such vendors.
Nothing in the County government’s policies or Code of Ethics (which is hollow and unenforceable, at best) would prevent the County government from awarding lucrative government contracts to political contributors of candidates. Charlie Riley, James Noack, and Craig Doyal receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from engineering firms and other government contractors who are involved in ongoing business with the County government.
Similarly, engineer Bobby Jack Adams happens to be the best friend of Doyal. Until last year, Adams and Doyal were business partners in WS&G, a firm which provides government contracting services. They dissolved that company in August, 2017, to make appearances a bit better before Doyal’s re-election campaign (which Doyal lost). Adams and Doyal, however, continue to be co-owners together in a firm, Superall Environmental, which has government contracts.
Despite those close relationships with Adams, who is also the Regional Vice President of Halff Associates, Inc., an engineering firm, Doyal consistently votes in favor of the Montgomery County government giving Halff millions of dollars in government contracts. Halff is the “project manager” for the $107 million, 3 mile, TX 249 Tollway project. Doyal voted for that contract, despite his obvious conflict of interest.
Riley regularly votes in favor of County government contracts for political contributors and campaign supporters. One of the most unethical relationships at present in the Montgomery County government is the vendor relationship Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador has with Fairway Construction. Almost all of Fairway’s business comes from Meador. Meanwhile, Fairway’s owner is a regular contributor to Meador’s campaign, as one might expect in the corrupt world of Montgomery County purchasing decisions.
Both Precinct 2 County Commissioner candidate Gregory Parker and Republican nominee for County Judge Mark Keough have discussed placing some limitation on contractors with respect to the timing of their political contributions. Clearly, any engineering firms whose engineers make political contributions to elected servants in the County government should not be eligible for County government contracts for some period of time after the contributions occur.
It’s rare to find an elected servant with the ethical strength of Gordy Bunch. The Montgomery County government, especially the County Judge and the Commissioners, should look closely at how he conducts business to avoid conflicts of interest in his government service.