Friday, April 10, 2015

City Attorney Hired Private Investigator to Investigate Private Citizen






Today I was emailed a billing record produced by the City of Richardson in response to a request for public information.  The reason will hopefully shock you.  It is an invoice from the law firm where Peter "Pete" G. Smith, the lawyer commonly known as the "Richardson city attorney".  The significance of the invoice is that it includes charges for services related to communications with a private investigator hired by unknown parties to investigate a private citizen.  




The bill shows Pete Smith charged the citizens of Richardson to communicate with the private investigator regarding the marital status of a private citizen.  A public information request by the citizen targeted in the city's investigation was met with the familiar denial, "There are no documents responsive to your request."  Who hired the private investigator? Who ordered the investigation? What was the purpose for the investigation and the intended use of the information gathered, to this day, remains a mystery.





A few years ago, people started questioning activities at city hall. One of the first I know of was William Gordon. He noticed there were a lot of closed meeting and questioned the practice. He then read the city charter. The city charter at the time said all meeting of the council will be public. It allowed for no closed meetings. He questioned the council and city administrators about it and they said they were doing everything ok. When he questioned again and made comments the charter did not allow closed meetings, he was told if he didn't like their answer, then sue them. So he did. During the middle of the suit, the council put forward charter amendments in 2007 that changed the charter and allowed for closed meetings. As a result of the city changing the charter, no penalty or action was taken by the court. 



As I said, Mr. Gordon was one of the first of the citizens to stand up and start asking serious questions of the council and city policy.


Another person was Nathan Morgan. Morgan’s revealing questions to the city council prompted a much more ominous reaction form the city.


Even the former Police Chief appears to have engaged questionable practices.  After PTA financial records compiled by the Treasurer were delivered, a cryptic note was composed.  The message to former City Manager, Bill Keffler, from former chief Larry Zacharias dated 9/19/2007 reads, "Our subject of interest returned all the books to Mark Twain Elementary today.  Looks like another dead end."  A tip led to a public information request to the Richardson Police Department that uncovered the private investigator doing the dirty work and that the RPD disclosed protected information.  Randy Virgil of Information Services Investigations is the name that appears on that public information request. See http://graphics.dc-tm.com/Zack-Keffler.pdf


Threats and retribution for opposing or speaking out on disturbing activities at city hall are nothing new in the City of Richardson.  Reports of Richardson Coalition intimidation tactics are so common people have come to regard the practice as old news.  Over the years, several anonymous inflammatory mailings have curiously been delivered to the mailboxes of civic leaders.  To nobody's surprise, there has yet to be reported such an attack on any Richardson Coalition favored individual.


As indicated in the billing records from our city attorney, the city attorney’s office engaged in an investigation and apparently was given an order to hire a private investigator to investigate Mr. Morgan, a private citizen and upstanding resident of Richardson.


On 12/17/2007, there is a line item in the billing which states “Receive and review information regarding Nathan Morgan’s marital history; telephone conversation with private investigator regarding the same”. See link - Nathan-Smith.pdf

On 12/18/2007, there is a line item in the billing record which states “Gordon – telephone conference with court regarding status of signing orders: number telephone conferences with courts in Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties regarding marriage licenses and divorce decrees for Nathan Morgan”. See link - Nathan-Smith.pdf


Morgan was not involved in any legal issues at the time. He was not running for any public office or a public board position. He was simply a respectable private citizen of Richardson.
If Morgan was not involved in any legal issues or applying for or holding any office, why would the city attorney perform an investigation of any type concerning him?


The city attorney is hired and fired by the city council. He works directly for the city council. He answers to the city council. Unless he decided to go rogue, and do his own thing, his action to investigate a private citizen must have come from orders issued by the city council.


The city council needs to answer why they would order such an investigation of a private citizen and why they approved the use of taxpayer funds for this purpose. If this kind of oppression from the city council is not already illegal, it should be.  There are two members of the council still serving the City of Richardson who were involved in these incidents.  They are Councilman Steve Mitchell and Councilman Bob Townsend. Pete Smith, the city attorney, is also still serving the city.


The citizens of Richardson through tax revenue pay a lot of money to the city attorney for typical reasons. The contract with the law firm Pete Smith services is automatically renewed every 12 months if no objection or notice is given at least 3 months prior to the date of renewal.  The contract has resulted in the same law firm occupying the role of Richardson city attorney for nearly 60 years.  

This same firm has a profoundly evident footprint in the North Texas region, as it has similar contracts with numerous municipalities and an unknown number of governmental agencies.  To suggest their entrenchment would not be used to assuage the legal system would be naïve.  It's the sort of thing a scalawag municipal government could find useful when faced with legal challenges.  And, by some accounts, it has.  There is no record of a competitive bid process for the city attorney contract.  Can there be any wonder why?


Using taxpayer revenues to single out a specific person and persecute his private life is so plainly wrong it does not need to be explained.
If this type of action was done once, it is probably likely to be done again, if it remains a secret. A full explanation needs to be provided by the city manager’s office, the police department, the city council and the city attorney on why they feel it is in the best interest of the citizens to use public money delving into the person life of a citizen, and, if it has been done before or since.


Imagine how you would feel if the city, the city manager, city attorney or the city council were to dig into your personal life. Would that be acceptable to you?

A letter has been sent to the city manager and all of the council members asking for an explanation. If one is received, it will be shared. If you feel this type of action by the city is acceptable, then just sit back and watch. On the other hand, if you feel this action of investigating a private citizen is questionable, send you own letter to the city manager and the city council.
 
 




40 comments:

  1. you gotta be shi**ing me!!!!

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  2. Nathan Morgan must own something that the City wants. And since everyone on city council had something to do with real-estate, I'm guessing he owns land somewhere in Richardson.

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    1. What Nathan owns is the truth.

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  3. Good God. This is horrific. Please send this to Wendy Hundley at the Dallas Morning News and to Julie Andrews for the Residents of Canyon Creek. And please, someone, do something to stop this.....NOW!

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    1. Agree - but not "someone do something"....Let's all do something. My wife and I filed our complaint to the city on their official notarized form (created this week by the city). Everyone with a concern email the city, submit the form, go to the council meeting on Monday....what ever, but we must all do something...

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  4. Is there a way to see what other citizens the city has investigated - especially within the last few years with the contentious mayor's race?

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  5. And if Nathan is reading this: Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they are not after you!

    Great research - this just gets worse and worse.

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    1. I was shocked by the untimely passing of my dear friend Jimmy Schnurr, a short time after his house was ransacked and his investigation records on the city were stolen. The nature of his illness made me think of Alexander Litvinenko and how easy it would be for someone to slip a polonium-210 cocktail. I am a much faster draw and better shot than most, but it's hard to keep a bead on many of them. I pray for you guys all the time. It is a little scary when you get chased by rabid dogs. Thanks, NM

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  6. Alright, alright, alright. I can't help but smile about this from my hill country retreat.

    Years ago, when I sought to be a good citizen and educate myself about the public business in Richardson, I found a small group of zealots lying, cheating and stealing at every turn. There was no end to the tricks they used to deceive and hide their actions from the public.

    I have to say I enjoyed my time bustin' their chops. But, take note good citizens of Richardson. The Richardson Coalition is nothing more than a crafty group of bad actors. It's a crying shame what they have done to the town.

    Only your vote will change their grip on power. As Davy Crockett, James Bowie, William Barret Travis sadly realized, the cavalry isn't coming. Take advantage of the opportunity in the coming election to get some fresh blood on the council. Stand up and defend yourself, or continue to suffer the consequences.

    And, for God's sake, encourage another member of the council to resign before the Coalition seats your next Mayor! Force a special election so YOU elect the next Mayor the way it ought to be.

    Best Regards,
    NM

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    1. Hey NM,looks like the citizens may be awaking...your old friend the democrat, you still have my email?

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    2. Glad to know you're still in the land of the living. Been worried about you, my friend. The oppressive situation there is getting a little sunshine. Anything that's broken will only get fixed at the ballot box. Don't let the Coalition pick your Councilmen, and don't let them rewrite the Charter. Your house will suffer. Educate your friends and neighbors. Help them understand how harmful ignoring the obvious has been.

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  7. I want all this absolute junk to have been taken out of context somehow and there be some missing link that makes all of his ok, because as is, none of this is ok and it is no wonder the doors are always closed. And the little people...aah yes, the little people...those pesky citizens are such a nuisance-that would be us-the ones who still have a shred of decency and drive the others crazy because we insist that they do too. Open the damn doors. It appears that crappy decisions are an accepted theme in Richardson. Really people. When it seems to stink to high heaven, is there not a one of you in the circle who is bothered enough to say Done?

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    1. I have been DONE for years!!! Nathan got too close by reading, understanding the law and pointing out to these arrogant, narcissistic power mongers. They have played on the innocence of the public for decades and paying themselves handsomely for the job. SMH

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    2. I have been saying DONE for years!!! These people have to go. All of them.

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  8. I have always wondered if the Council actually knew about this. My guess would be this was contrived by former CM Bill Keffler and Pete. All it takes is a phone call to get the ball rolling.

    I met with on council member a several years ago and showed him the invoice and he wanted me to give him a copy. I told him he could get a copy any time he wanted so go get one. Thought he might do something, but nothing ever happened.

    CDH

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    1. Don't forget Mr. Slagel. Probably our next mayor again

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    2. Yup, his consecutive exclusion is satisfied. What would be better to replace a cheater than another cheater? 'course, ain't they all?

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  9. Really, a police chief checking into checked out book at a school? Qiuck, call out the state guard! Jack andJill are missing, Jack and Jill the book that is. Seriously? And "another dead end"? In the search for marital status and other items of which have ZERO public interest, how many dead ends were run into? Sheesh. Idiots! Your hard earn tax money at work. Glad Barney Fife is gone. Now for those that remain, time for them to go too.

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    1. It was PTA financial records and the bank account. Seems the PTA gave a bad tax ID number to open the bank account. Nathan did the right thing and closed the account and had a cashiers check made out to the Mark Twain PTA, which did not officially exist. It was indented to force the PTA to properly register. It didn't. One of the Rotary crew cashed the check and opened an account for the Mark Twain PTA at a bank where he is an officer. They're back in business, collecting money and handing it to the schools, which is a violation of IRS regulations.

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  10. After watching the video, and listening to what Williams had to say, as a city we should just shoot ourselves for not electing him. But we did elect Dunn?? Go figure.

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    1. No one elected Dunn. He just has not had an opponent. Unfortunately.

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    2. Gordon was head an shoulders above any on the ballot. But because the Coalition had their cohort lined up to take the seat, guess who won. There are few like Gordon. He is a man of honor. Sorry the people didn't value that.

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  11. All this outrage is great. Now what do we, as concerned citizens do about it? Who can we contact with the authority to do something about this? Those on the council are kept very much in the loop, as this is how the coalition keeps them in line. They love the perks, prestige and admiration that comes with the job. They all have incredible egos and think they can never be caught doing anything wrong. They sell their souls to stay where they are. Time to rally the people, but how? Cheri, Nathan, David, William, and so many others have recognized what is going on for years and have been called crazy.

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  12. I know so many of us are feeling angst like never before & feeling helpless as well. But I also see that many of you keep wishing that "(why) can't someone do something about all this?" Well you can.
    All you have to do is volunteer. Volunteer to attend council & commission & board meetings for your neighborhood. Get to know those who you helped elect, one way or the other. Voice your opinions & add constructive ideas & solutions. Well yes I know we all have other things to do & it's easier to let others do that...believe I know as my wife & I have & continue to volunteer. And yes we do complain but by God we are trying to make our city a better place!

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    1. Agree. And thank you for your service.

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    2. Volunteering will change nothing if the decision makers remain the same. We have had nothing but lip service on our concerns for years and years while the people we elect pay no mind. The countless failed efforts to get good decisions only remind us that elections have consequences. This is our only recourse against people who ignore the will of the people. Vote the rascals out my friend, Vote!

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    3. By volunteering you can become a board member be it Parks , Arts, Library & eventually become a Planning Commissioner & even a Council person & that's how you get to be one of those "decision makers". Good government is hard work folks!!!

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    4. Since boards and commission are appointed in private by the council, you have to be a good team player to get on one. If you are strong and independent and can think, it's doubtful you will get there. Hard to make a difference if all you can do is follow their stepford story.

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  13. Don't forget the Residential Rental Registration and Inspections ordinance, where the City forced homeowners to open a renter's home for inspections. We had to go to Dallas to get a fair trial and get the ordinance changed. All after a very long closed door session.

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    1. I like the time when Keffler signed off on Slagel renting a Lear Jet to fly across the country on our dime for his personal business.

      And, how Slagel camped out his business rent free in the STARTech building after he got the council to spend four million dollars to renovate the place to his liking. Then, the Chamber of Commerce, having no authority, gave free space in the building to the Israel Chamber of Commerce? That was a good one. We were suppose to get an annual review of STARTech performance to justify the expense starting almost ten years ago. Never saw the first episode. Anybody surprised? Don't overlook who is involved. All have Coalition ties. Crooked bunch they are.

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  14. Did anyone notice the looks Laura was making in the background on that Gordon video? By the number of Coalition folks that showed up to that meeting, there was no doubt they had an agenda.

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  15. Wasn't this nine years ago?

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    1. Seven or so. Too bad they buried it so long. Surely you are not trying to imply it has been to long ago to care about, are you?

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    2. Laura is in the video and had one term as a council woman and one as mayor. so this was 4 years ago.

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  16. Not at all. Just providing context.

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    1. I am guessing you are also anonymous @11:31pm. Thank you for your time and comment.

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  17. Nathan Morgan is not the only person who has been "investigated," followed, surveilled, harassed, intimidated, and/or threatened by the criminal enterprise running the show behind the scenes. They target anyone who is a perceived or real threat in bringing openness, honesty, transparency, and yes, legality, involving how the city is managed and operated. The information on Mr. Morgan was included with other cases and has been forwarded to law enforcement officials including the RPD. Also included was extensive criminal matters including conflicts of interest involving city officials. Take a look at the city attorney's past dealings in the community in which he resides and it will make you want to puke. All of this has been documented in the hope that justice will be eventually served. God will be the ultimate judge and have the ultimate say on things, which should bring comfort and peace to those who have been targeted.

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    1. Are the other cases from the same time as Mr. Morgan or are there more recent cases as well? When was this information sent to the RPD? I can't imagine that they would do anything about it. Was anything sent to other legal authorities?

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  18. RPD is corrupt - nothing was done and this comment from a Capt. says it all. "We don't think you're telling us everything." My response - "You're right, because we don't trust you." Cases included JS, AT, DW, our own, and others. FBI, TR, CC DA, and others were notified. Interesting how the FBI was very interested in the flow charts and diagrams provided. Separate matter involving kickbacks that were verified by HUD resulted in slap on the wrist settlements - the federal investigator indicated that we were dealing with "known players" aka a criminal enterprise. Other unrelated cases have gone to the FBI blackhole as well. As we've seen with the Benghazi matter, cover-ups are going on everyday and it's gotten worse as less resources have been devoted to investigating and prosecuting white collar crime. Documents and evidence are available to support all that is outlined.

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  19. It's mentioned on the dallas news blog yesterday:

    http://richardsonblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/city-investigation-prompted-by-lawsuit.html/

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