Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Political Bombshell # 1 - The Small One

An in-house investigation done using an outside investigator.
Not good news. Seems like it will be a waste of taxpayer money. Couldn't find Dave Lieber's article.



Press Release
For Release: April 8, 2015

CONTACT:     Greg Sowell

Director of Communications

972-744-4218 (office)

972-897-2762 (cell)

City attorney Appoints outside Legal Counsel to conduct ethics violation investigation 

(Richardson, TX) – Richardson’s City Attorney today appointed outside legal counsel George A. Staples, Jr. to review and process any written complaints filed under the City Ethics Code regarding the events surrounding the zoning change for the Palisades mixed-use development in Richardson. In addition to evaluating any filed complaints, Staples has also been engaged by the city attorney to conduct an independent investigation of the events surrounding this change in zoning. This independent investigation is separate and apart from what is required under the Ethics Code.




The purpose of the investigation is to determine the facts surrounding the issues of:


·         whether the mayor or members of the City Council violated the Ethics Code, state law or the City Charter in the approval of the Palisades zoning;


·         whether the mayor had a business relationship with Mark Jordan/JP Realty or other developer of the Palisades property at the time the zoning change was approved;


·         whether there is any evidence that the mayor’s intended declination to serve as mayor for 2015-2017 was done for the purpose of allowing the remaining members of the Council to select the next mayor;


·         and any other matter that Staples deems relevant to the scope of the investigation.


The independent investigation to be conducted by Staples is intended to answer citizens’ questions with respect to this issue that may not be addressed in any written complaint filed under the Ethics Code. While there is no set timeline for the independent investigation regarding events surrounding the zoning change decision, it will be conducted in as timely a manner as possible.

Thus far, the City has received one written complaint under the Ethics Code requesting an investigation into the actions of the mayor and all members of the City Council with regard to the 2013 Palisades zoning case and the mayor’s recent employment disclosure and announcement pertaining to the upcoming municipal election.


Last week, the mayor announced her intention to decline to serve as mayor for the 2015-17 term when the May 9, 2015, election results are canvassed. Mayor Maczka is currently an unopposed candidate for the mayoral position on the May 9 ballot. Prior to the announcement, the Mayor also submitted a Conflicts Disclosure Statement to the City Secretary’s Office disclosing that she had taken a position with JP Partners / Sooner Management, which is the developer of the Palisades project.


The Investigation Process

Pursuant to the Ethics Code, in evaluating any filed, written complaints, Staples will submit a written report to the City Council by April 28, or as soon as possible but not later than 15 business days after the receipt of a written complaint, unless an extension is granted by a majority of the non-implicated City Council members. Staples may contact the complainant, interview witnesses and examine any documents necessary for the report. The report will be comprehensive and explain in detail all facts, findings, and conclusions in support of his opinion as to whether or not a violation of Code of Ethics occurred. If Staples receives a vague complaint or one lacking in detail, he will contact the complainant to request a written clarification. If the complainant fails to provide a written clarification, or if after written clarification is provided, it is Staples’ opinion that the complaint is insufficient in detail and/or fails to allege a violation of the Code of Ethics, a written report to that effect shall be submitted to the City Council. If Staples determines that a criminal violation may exist, he will refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement agency.


If Staples determines that the facts as alleged could constitute a violation of the Code of Ethics, then he will, within 15 business days after receipt of the complaint, notify the mayor and City Council members of the existence and nature of the complaint. The City Council shall cause a meeting to convene, whether regular or special, within 15 business days after being so notified by Staples, to further consider said complaint in executive session.  For purposes of this investigation, Staples will have all of the powers of investigation as are given to the City Council by reason of the City Charter and shall report back to the City Council as soon as possible, but in no event more than 15 business days from the date of notification of the City Council unless an extension is granted by the City Council. The report will be comprehensive and explain in detail all facts, findings and conclusions in support of his opinion as to whether a violation of this Code of Ethics occurred.


Background George A. Staples, Jr.

George A. Staples, Jr. has 50 years of experience, specializing in municipal law, litigation and other areas of practice. He is an attorney with Taylor, Olson, Adkins, Sralla & Elam, L.L.P., which specializes in municipal law. Staples has been admitted to practice before the Texas Supreme Court; the Northern, Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas; the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals; and the United States Supreme Court.

19 comments:

  1. Cute. Since when did the hired gun city attorney have any kind of authority to order an investigation? Did none of the City Council have the backbone to do it? And, just where does this event fall in the scope of the Open Meetings Act? Did they hide out in dark places like a bunch of cock roaches and feel each other out before the city attorney announced his investigation? How much more crooked can this situation get?

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  2. Looks like the city attorney is hoping to keep some buried bones out of sight. If the authorities get ahold of this there will be real trouble for the horse shoe gang.

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  3. A quick review of the other lawyers @ the hired gun's firm show many, many MANY are attorney for different cities in north Texas. That's neither good nor bad but it does give me the thought that if an attorney wanted to protect a city, city council, mayor, etc., that firm would know how to do it. Or no where NOT to look.

    Of course, they would be particularly well suited to know where to look for the dirty laundry as well... if that is what the person who hired them tasked them to do.

    Me, I'd feel better if it was a group of lawyer who were NOTselected nor paid by the City of Richardson doing the investigation.

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  4. Seriously? We are going to waste taxpayer money with a BS investigation by doing this? Dave Lieber has shot down this type of investigation before. You Richardson people are dopes if you let this go forward. Staples is only there to provide cover and let others say, "See, nothing going on here."

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    1. Agreed. Look at Staples' track record. Hired by cities to defend cities.

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  5. Help me understand this please:

    Richardson City Attn'y reports to who? City Manager? Mayor? City Council?

    City Attn'y has hired outside council to investigate City Council and Mayor (and zoning board? and City staff?).

    Outside council will report his findings to the City Attn'y and City Council.

    What, if any, of this process will be available through Open Meetings and Open Records? Or will this be considered a topic that must be discussed "behind closed doors" because, after all, it is both Personnel and Real Estate topics.

    Help me ... do we know the answers to this now and if not, who should I ask?

    " Help us Rick Wilder. You're our only hope..."

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  6. Dave Lieber is on Facebook. I suggest everyone message him for info on George Staples. He covered him for the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Maybe if enough people contact Lieber, he will light a fire under Wendy Hundley of the DMN to actually do some investigative reporting.

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  7. I have already emailed him. As for Wendy, she probably has her hands tied somewhat by having to be able to positively backup anything she writes. I don't think there is any problem with her being motivated, wanting to get to the truth of the matter or write about it.

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  8. Anonymous 8:07
    1)Officially, the city attorney is supposed to report to the city council, although to make things go along, he probably does report to city manager, mayor or any council member who asks something of him.
    2)Him doing that seems to conflict with the ethic ordinance. He is supposed to do the investigation per the code of ethics ordinance. Nowhere is there authorization for him to hire outside investigator.
    3)That is what they say.
    4)My guess, the report, as poor as and as worthless as it may be, will be presented behind closed door in apparent violation of the section of the charter dealing with Official misconduct.

    "Help me" - We need a hero! Bonnie sang about him!


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_HJeORKBas

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  9. Strike 2) from my above comments. Misread and misapplied. It was pointed out section 2-7-f of the ethics ordinance allows this. Thank you, (you know who).

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  10. Oh good. The ethics ordinance is just as twisted as the charter amendments to "provide for the direct election of the Mayor". Maybe enough voters will come to their senses about how crooked the whole bunch is. What did we do to deserve this? I know. We trusted people who have have decades of entrenchment in city government to do the right thing. Boy! Are we gullible, or what?

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  11. Did Mayor Mascara start sleeping w Mark Jordan after the Palisades vote?

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  12. Here's the reality. Ethics will only give someone a slap on the hand at best. What happened here is that votes/political support appears to be rewarded/traded with money and a job.

    That’s criminal.

    The developer gets to build his apartments and make a ton on money.
    The mayor gets a job from the developer since she helped make it happen.
    And the gold old boy network of COR gets to appoint a new good old boy mayor and appoint a lackey to take the vacant council chair.

    Life is good in COR but the behavior is criminal. The developer, the mayor and the city should be investigated. When is the FBI showing up?

    So even if the allegations aren’t founded, the validity of the Paradises deal certainly is to be questioned. Along with a special election for mayor given the circumstances.

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  13. I think that the investigation should be conducted by real investigators and I think that should be the FBI and/or the Texas Rangers. Nothing from inside the City has any credibility at this juncture.

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  14. With regard to the FBI appearing, listen for agents conducting interviews and/or serving Federal Grand Jury subpoenas. When you hear that (and I am certain you will), you'll know they are on it. Don't expect it to be an overnight "shake and bake" case, as it'll likely take months at least. The John Wiley Price corruption case took years to bring to an indictment.

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    1. Champions of law enforcement have been absent in this territory for too long. After decades of mob rule, it's easy to get discouraged and just endure the punishment of a society gone rouge. That coalition of conspirators will have many offences to answer for if the boys and girls who wear grown up britches come to town. It's tough not to be cynical in the face of years of blatant corruption.

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  15. Let's be certain we take good notes, ladies and gents. This election might be over, but at the next one, expect an entire new cast of characters.

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  16. This is how pay for play works - all done by handshake (and I guess more) agreements under a squid-pro-quo arrangement. No documents or checks and with a staggered/delayed benefit in exchange for the dirty deed. FBI asked me for cancelled checks on the illegal development activities reported to them involving a residential community serving as the poster child for city corruption (city council member, city manager, building inspection department, neighborhood services, municipal court, health department, and of course, the police).

    The FBI asked me for cancelled checks

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