Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Auditor: Dallas DA told of constable allegations in 2008

The County Auditor says Dallas DA Craig Watkins' office was told two years ago about alleged "unreceipted" payments from a towing company to Dallas County constables, reports the Dallas News ("Auditors office says it can prove Dallas DA's office got towing memo in 2008," May 26):
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.

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.
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.

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."


Anonymous said...

Funny how Watkins seems to have the time and resources to investigate all of these "innocence" claims that get him so much national media attention, but when it comes to investigating and prosecuting claims of corruption involving other local Democrats, well....

Anonymous said...

Surprise Surprise...

Anonymous said...

I used to be a huge fan of Watkins until I started hearing about this - how he is sitting on this to (probably) protect his boys with shields.

R. Shackleford said...

Any particular reason nobody else has called the attorney general and mentioned this?

Anonymous said...

Because the Texas Attorney General has very limited authority to intervene in local criminal matters, and the US Attorney General, well, that would be the Obama administration. 'Nuff said?

Hoof said...

I hate to say it, but Dallas County is out of control. Not even the voters can stop that train wreck.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

6:27, the US Attorney does have jurisdiction when public officials take kickbacks, which is allegedly what happened here. I agree the AG can't step in unless Watkins invites them, but as I understand it the US Attorney could.

Anonymous said...

Grits, you really think Eric Holder is going to intervene in Dallas County and upstage Watkins--one of the few Democratic "media darling," "up and comers" in the state? You think Obama would let that happen? C'mon Man! LMAO!

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW, Obama hasn't appointed any Texas US Attorneys. The guy with the job now is a Bush administration holdover, and the only likely candidate to replace him is the gal who prosecuted the Dallas city hall corruption scandals, which were also all Democrats.

So in short, yes, I think it is indeed possible. In fact, IMO it should have already happened.

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