Friday, September 12, 2008

Commissary vendor pleads guilty to organized crime charges

I should mention after reporting how Sheriffs in Bexar and Potter Counties were hounded out of office over allegations of commissary-related bribery, prosecutors finally nailed down a conviction of one of the companies alleged to have bribed them, reported the Dallas News ("Jail food provider based in Dallas found guilty in organized crime case," Sept. 6):

The president of a Dallas company that provides food services for several jails around the state, along with the company itself, has been found guilty in the bribing of a former Potter County sheriff.

Mid-America Services Inc. will pay a $100,000 fine for engaging in organized criminal activity, according to the terms of a plea agreement finalized Friday in Collin County.

This comes a day after Robert Austin Jr., Mid-America president, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of giving a gift to a public servant. Mr. Austin, who was accused of using bribes to obtain contracts, was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $4,000 fine.

Potter County will receive the fines from both cases, which were moved to McKinney from Amarillo on a motion for venue change.

The guilty pleas are the culmination of a two-year investigation by the FBI into public corruption allegations against former Potter County Sheriff Michael Shumate.


Anonymous said...

Grits, This really puts a spotlight back on former sheriff Jim Bowles and his association with Mid-America.Did he participate in a similar scheme? Why was there never any effective investigation done at the time? How many other counties have thos company and how many other sheriffs are sweating about now? This is not an isolated incident

Anonymous said...

I wonder why no one has done anything about what happened in Smith County with this vendor. A few years ago a K-9 account (supposedly used to take care of animals used for search and rescue) was discovered in which money was funneled from this same commissary vendor and checks were written to individuals within the sheriff's department for unknown purposes. This account was clearly used to funnel kickbacks from Mid-America. But, as usual in Smith County public corruption is tolerated.

Anonymous said...

subject: Notification of Request for Opinion (Texas Attorney General's Office) - 9/12/08

Good afternoon:

We posted 1 Request for Attorney General Opinion: RQ-0738-GA

Re: Authority of a sheriff to accept a fee from a private organization that contracts with the sheriff's county to operate the county jail
Go to:

Anonymous said...

Check out the latest Attorney General opinion request as to whther companies like CiviGenics can pay a county sheriff a fee for contracting out the county jail.

Anonymous said...

They should investigate Kaufman County and Karla Stone, Howard Tygrett, and that hillbilly sheriff too.

Anonymous said...

It is better to let go an element like him and keep cleaning the system from people who only look for their own interests.

Unknown said...

I agree that Kaufman County Texas is full of corruption and the investigation should begin with judge Howard Tygrett who has an extensive list of children he has stolen/kidnapped from their parents. This man is very dangerous and should immediately be impeached/removed. See

After defying the law as he stole my son, the dishonorable judge Howard Tygrett astoundingly ordered me (the father he robbed of his son) to pay Kaufman attorney Eric Williams $2,700 !!! For what? - for stealing my son!?!?! AMONG OTHER THINGS, THIS IS A FINANCIAL RACKET TO KEEP AND GET MORE MONEY IN KAUFMAN COUNTY, TEXAS - AND THESE MERCILESS CRIMINALS WHO PRESENTLY HOLD OFFICE DO NOT CARE WHO SUFFERS OR WHAT EVIL HAS TO TAKE PLACE TO ACCOMPLISH THIS IMMORAL GREED!

Anonymous said...

Judge Howard Tygrett has been damaging innocent people for a long time. Not only did he deal wrongly in my family law case concerning my children and I, but also many others. I live in Kaufman and have talked to dozens of people that Tygrett has done wrong to. Also, there are lots of bad reports on this judge on the net.