The Dallas County auditor's office said Tuesday it has proof that a memo outlining criminal allegations against Constable Jaime Cortes' precinct was hand-delivered to District Attorney Craig Watkins' office in February 2008.Relatedly, county commissioners have offered a deal to Constable Derick Evans (the other accused constable lost his primary and resigned) that would force him to use a county-approved towing service and stop having deputies assist in campaign fundraising. He has yet to announce whether he'll agree to the terms.
Watkins, responding to criticism that he has been slow in reacting to corruption charges against constables, denied Monday that he or his office knew in 2008 about the allegations of kickbacks to Cortes' office from the Dowdy Ferry towing company.
He said his public integrity unit never received information about the allegations from the auditor in 2008.
Not only does the auditor's office say it has proof that the information was passed along, but County Auditor Virginia Porter said Tuesday that Watkins' office last year blocked public release of the memo containing the kickback allegations.
In an October 2009 letter to Attorney General Greg Abbott, the district attorney's office argued that the document was confidential and should be withheld for various reasons after The Dallas Morning News requested information from the auditor about all five constables' offices.
County Judge Jim Foster continues to call on Craig Watkins to investigate alleged bribes at constables offices, but IMO if he was going to, he'd have moved by now if his office was informed two years ago. I continue to think the US Attorney should step in since Watkins won't act himself or pass the cases along to the Attorney General.
RELATED: From the Dallas News, "Dallas County DA quiet on whether auditor can release '08 memo on Cortes allegations."