Tuesday, October 02, 2007

When the rent comes due: State Rep. Terri Hodge accused in Dallas bribery scheme

First El Paso and now Dallas have seen corruption probes snare local officials, and in Dallas the targets include longtime prisoner rights advocate and Texas State Representative Terri Hodge, a Democrat who serves on the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

This week's indictment accuses Hodge of accepting rent subsidies from a developer in exchange for assistance getting public tax credits. (She never disclosed the relationship publicly until it was uncovered by a local TV news reporter.) She's the only sitting public official named in the indictment, though it includes several Dallas officials who recently held office. I don't see this ending well, and don't expect the DFW media frenzy to let up anytime soon. Hodge's enemies are already celebrating. There's blood in the water. Here's a copy of the indictment (pdf, 166 pages).

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

DUDE. A 166 page .pdf? How about a little warning?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Done. Thx

Anonymous said...

This will be interesting to watch, if for no other reason than to see what facts distinguishes this pol's taking of money from that of Perry taking money from Merck.

Anonymous said...

I've met Terri one-on-one a few years ago and was silently amazed by the size of her ego as well as how smart she thought she was as droned on about a TDCJ topic. Those two character flaws mixed with her petty greed will crush her politically

She will not have the perseverance to bounce back from this and her entourage and new best friend will flee.

sunray's wench said...

OK, first, Scott you said a while back that you had learned that initial reports in the media were often very far from the real truth that comes out later. Might be a good time to remember that.

Second, Ms Hodge does have a lot of enemies. She has pissed a lot of people off. This will just make her an easier target; easier than all the other politicians who take bribes and work in less-than-ethical ways. They are politicians after all.

She wasnt the only politician during the last Lege to be advocating for inmates and TDCJ, so hopefully someone else will pick up the baton.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

SW, I'm not trying to pile on, but these allegations were reported in the media two years ago. It's important what happened, and I don't want to ignore it or fail to give folks a chance to talk about it.

Another thing I'll add from my experience as an oppo researcher: Follow the money on the same tax credit scheme in Austin, SA or Houston and you'd find more corruption.

But there's apparently fire to go along with the smoke here: the evidence is pretty clear the developer was paying Hodge's rent in exchange for no visible services. You just don't get to do that when you're an elected official, or at least you have to report it to the Ethics Commission. She's a good vote, but not good enough for me to try to justify that! I can't and shouldn't have to. If it happened, it's corrupt. If not, she'll get her day in court.

The whole thing saddens me and I hope it turns out there's a good explanation. If there is, and if I were her political adviser (as opposed to her lawyer) I'd suggest she say what it is, ASAP - 'no comment' in the face of reported evidence doesn't give her supporters much to hang their hats on.

Helga Dill said...

Anonymous 7:20 ,if you met Terri one-on-one you should have realized how smart she IS. If you would listen to her in the Legislature speaking on criminal justice matters you would know. there is NO other Legislator in Austin who is as educated in the subject as she is . I work with her frequently and know first hand . State Representatives do not earn much money and if she did get some perks they were well deserved . When you look at the amounts they are certainly a pittance compared to what Perry and other Texas politicians are raking in for doing nothing . This is a vendetta by those who do not like her and her advocacy for the common people . If you followed her bills that were introduced in the Lege in recent years, you would know what she is all about and if you looked at those the Governor vetoed, you would realize what is going on . I for one will support her no matter what the outcome because I know what she stands for .

Anonymous said...

Helga Dill, I hope you said "State Representatives do not earn much money and if she did get some perks they were well deserved," without thinking of the impact of your words, and if so, I hope you are not in a position to influence our code of ethics or being paid by tax dollars. Ethically, you must follow the rules. If you do not care for the rules, then be proactive and attempt to change the rules (legally). The pay is bad, let the media know, start a campaign and do it correctly.Taking money or "perks" under the table is dishonorable no matter who you are and how "smart" one may be. Corruption is corruption. She should have kept her day job if the pay could not keep up with her needs. However, I do agree they should get paid a living wage, like most low level government employees such as myself, we all struggle with the decisions we make. The difference is most of us practice what we preach.

b

Helga Dill said...

Anonymous 7:18 , I should have been more precise in my comment, I did not mean "illegal" perks. There are legal and illegal ones and it needs to be proven first which kind these were. As for Ethics in politics , that is starting to become a foreign word in this country .

Anonymous said...

Helga, wake up and smell the rotten apples. Yes, she deserves her day in court but the evidence is so overwhelming. I think she tripped over her own arrogance. Perhaps the judge will take her good deeds into consideration if and when she's convicted.

Anonymous said...

I have watched Ms. Hodge in committee hearings, and have talked with her one on one. Regardless of the size of her ego, I am amazed at how smart she is! My reactions to the charge against her? Extreme sadness! Charles in Tulia

Helga Dill said...

Anonymous 8:27 I am wide awake and smell barrels of rotten apples in TX politics on a daily basis and watch the favorite game of American past time "Kick-em when they're down". Thanks Charles in Tulia for not playing the game !

sunray's wench said...

Scott, as always you do the right thing by reporting stuff like this, I wasn't criticising you. I just wanted to make a general comment that not everything reported in the media can be taken as gospel truth, even when there is plenty of fire to go with the smoke.

That said, if Ms Hodge has done wrong, then just like everyone else she has to face the music.

Nick Hudson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

We shouldn't condemn Rep. Hodge prematurely, but the evidence does seem to be stacked against her. Her "no comment" to the Dallas news reporter wasn't very satisfying. I'm reluctant to believe Hodge, who authored some fantastic legislation last session, is involved in a bribery scheme. We have to keep in mind that good legislation and ethical behavior don't necessarily go hand in hand, though.

I hope she didn't do it.

Shawn Williams said...

These allegations have been in the media for 2 years, and by now we have learned that the feds don't bring a case unless they are going to win.

What's as interesting as the names that are in the indictments are the names that are not. Look at where most of the Southwest construction took place.

Here's the most puzzling part of all this to me: Why was Fantroy's Paul Quinn indictment brought on the same day as the rest? There has been nothing to suggest that the two are connected in anyway. Anyone who has an answer or theory please enlighten me.

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