Globe News columnist Greg Sagan said he was:
He called them clowns, scumbags, maggots and idiots. He said he'd load criminals on a bus to jail where they would meet "Bubba," a fictional cellmate.
Former Potter County Sheriff Mike Shumate gained attention when he headed up Amarillo Crime Stoppers and castigated criminals on weekly radio spots.
He's now part of the gang.
Shumate was sentenced Tuesday to eight years of probation and 180 days in jail for accepting bribes while he was the top law enforcement officer in the county. He chose to accept a plea deal rather than have a jury decide his fate.
Shumate faced up to life in prison after he was found guilty Thursday of engaging in organized criminal activity. Shumate accepted bribes from Mid-America Services Inc. and its president, Robert Wayne Austin Jr., in exchange for ensuring the company received the county jail's food service and commissary contracts. Mid-America and Austin are both charged with bribery and trials are expected to begin in Collin County in September.
baffled by some of what has come out about the Shumate affair. Two of Shumate's statements at trial, which were quoted in this paper, were ripe for all manner of pungent comment.Meanwhile, over at the Fort Worth Star Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy realized that:
One was his reply to a question about why he had not accepted money that was offered to him from a contractor. Shumate's reply, "I didn't need the money," was an egregious blunder. Had I been in the jury box and heard such a comment, I would wonder long and hard what the outcome might have been if, indeed, he had needed the money. Was that all that kept him from accepting it, or was there, you know, like, some principle involved?
Such contemplation would have led me to believe that someone else had given him money first.
The second comment was Shumate's response when asked what he would have done had the cash been placed in his hand. He testified that the money would have fallen to the ground because of a wound he suffered to his right arm in Vietnam. No attorney should have ever allowed his client to say such a thing in court. My immediate reaction when I read this was, "Gee, what if they put it in his left hand?"Right after that I thought to myself, "So why didn't he arrest the guy on the spot for attempting to bribe a public official?"
the same company, Mid-America Services, has $4.5 million in contracts with Tarrant and Wise counties.The Wise County Sheriff told Kennedy he "lets vendors buy an occasional lunch," which is more of an admission than I'd be making after what happened to Sheriff Shumate! I'd bet even money we haven't seen the last allegations yet of bribery and jail commissary corruption.
Jurors in Amarillo convicted Potter County Sheriff Mike Shumate of bribery for taking money, computers and free meals, and then hiring or recommending Mid-America to run both the jail snacks-and-sundries cart and the jail kitchen. ...
Defense witnesses countered that the executive, the late Jack Madera of Kaufman County, was simply a gambler who needed cash to pay his bookie.
Nothing on either side of this story makes me feel good about our county contracts.
Officials in both Tarrant and Wise counties said they will review the contracts this summer and have not decided whether Mid-America should be eligible to bid.
The company and its current president, Bob Austin of Ellis County, are scheduled for trial Sept. 5 in the same case. That trial has been moved to McKinney.