LIVINGSTON 1:44 PM 2/15/2019
JUDGE CALLS SCHELANA HOCK'S ATTY AND LEE HON INTO CHAMBERS
Hearing scheduled for 1 pm had not started when judge called lawyers into his chambers.
1:55 pm. Lawyers back in courtroom. Packing up. Hearing is over. No reset at this point.
Judging from the expression on Ms. Hock's attny's face and Lee Hon's face as they exited chambers, The Sentinel is speculating that The Honorable Richard Countiss chewed on that Hon/Coleman butt about what a stupid effort they had undertaken and told them they were going to look like fools if they pushed this any further.
Judge Countiss is a no nonsense by the book jurist who has no patience for BS. It is that simple. He made that very plain when he filled the unexpired term of SJC DA Bill Burnett when he passed away.
COMMUNITY SHOWS LOVE AND RESPECT TO DELANEY FAMILY
Parking is at a premium as a crowd of over 1000 is expected to attend the funerals of the Delaney family slain 6 days ago. A generous and civic minded family of long history in the area, paying respect to the Delaneys has drawn a large part of the East Texas community out today.
VINCENT EMBZ CASE ENDS IN DEF ADJ PROB 10 YR
The case against Onalaska resident, Linda Vincent has come full circle with the recent court decision to give her a ten year deferred adjucication probation with a 145K restitution payment included according to reliable sources. The probation offer has been under consideration for quite a while according to the same sources. There will be a more in depth article coming out in the Polk County Enterprise more than likely. Sentinel readers will remember that the case started with a Sentinel investigation begun in November of 2017 that was ignored for months until we proved it was being ignored, not for lack of evidence but for lack of the DA starting the investigation inspite of the evidence provided.
After we shamed the Polk County DA for his lack of action on this case, Hon was finally recused and the no nonsense Liberty County prosecutor's office took over. State records prove that Liberty County not only has a much lower percapita indictment rate than Polk County, they also have one of the lowest dismissal rates in East Texas. The two factors should prove to any reasonable person that not only does Hon sling out false charges for political purpose and "process punishment", Polk County having the highest dismissal rate in East Texas backs up the same conclusion. Charges filed with no evidence.
CORRIGAN DETECTIVE MAKES PUBLIC COMMENT
Corrigan Detective, Christopher Lima makes another carefully worded statement on social media to add to the list of public comments that have plagued his reputation to date. Although The Sentinel has pursued a dogged battle with the Polk Co DA's office to obtain over 400 pages of Polk County S.O. files specifically related to the myriad of complaints filed against Christopher Lima in the last ten years just with that agency, we cannot point to a single arrest. We can point to plenty of instances where you or I would have been arrested if we had committed the offenses Lima pleads 'no contest' to, one thing the 400 page file DOES prove is that Lima's criminal acts have been overlooked and hidden from the public. We are in the process of building a spread sheet on the 400 page file so that we can speak with total accuracy about the incidents related in those reports.
SCHELANA HOCK IS A HERO
On October 20th, the Polk County Clerk, Ms. Schelana Hock attended a private get together on her private time on private property with a group of people that had a common desire. They all want to improve the quality of life in Polk County and used this event to share ideas and interact with each other. The highly attended event had absolutely nothing to do with her duties as a Public Official. She was there, like every other person, simply as a concerned citizen.
Some of the exact details are not perfectly clear to me and definitely, some of this wording will be a best guess but based on reading the recent ‘Polk*County Enterprise’ article titled, ‘DA sues county clerk over cell phone records’ and speaking with several folks who are fortunate enough to be able to count Ms. Schelana Hock as a friend, this reporter has pieced together a chain of events that did occur.
For a little of the back story, suffice it to say that both Chris Lima and Ms. Hock worked in the Polk County courthouse when Lima was an investigator for Lee Hon. They apparently interacted enough that they had some way of communicating privately via cell phone and/or social media. It has been relayed to me that after Lima made the childish self-aggrandizing PUBLIC post about the ‘losers’ and ‘has beens’ that attended the event on social media, Ms. Hock sent him a communication wanting to know why he was calling her (since she did attend the event) such derogatory names. Apparently, Lima crawfished and was saying he didn’t mean her but just other people that were there and even forwarded her a copy of the Public Post he had made that he later locked and made private.
Based on private emails that Lima sent to me offering to rat on several LEO’s in Polk County and knowing that in those emails, Lima ranted about Tim Martin, who was a big part of organizing the event, I have no problem believing the allegations that Lima named Martin and several others as the ones he was referencing instead of Ms. Schelana Hock. How these events unfolded is not as important as the irrefutable fact that Lima made a public post as a private citizen on his private social media about a private event on private property that had absolutely NOTHING to do with Polk County Government business. The Sentinel published Lima’s post and we do again here for reference:
Every parent, every coach, every school administrators worst fear was realized in the Tuesday night Livingston Lions' 8th grade football game when young Jeremiah Jefferson was severly injured during the game. A broken neck instantly paralyzed the young gladiator as he gave his all for the team. Praise God that there is some improvement and regaining of motion in his arms after a delicate and difficult surgery. Please keep this young man in your prayers and follow the link to Krystal Currie's FB page where she has started and promoted a fund raiser to help this family. It is obvious that the Polk County community is showing their love to this family but they face a difficult time ahead. There is much more information and current updates on Ms. Currie's page.
The person who forwarded that graphic to me has assured me that they don’t care if I publish their name because they have had enough of the corruption. This person also told me that they had put in a call to Ms. Hock to tell her the same thing. Instead of divulging a private conversation with her friend even under intense pressure and threats, Ms. Hock stood up to the tyrants. The only comment my source made as to their source was that ‘someone’ had snagged it before Lima took it down.
What strikes me as odd is that Lima is in possession of the private conversation between himself and Ms. Hock but thinks he and Hon have a right to the PRIVATE conversation between Ms. Hock and a trusted friend or two. Granted, me posting Lima’s comment gave the Sentinel readers some insight into what makes Lima tick but him not liking the exposure does not negate Ms. Hock and her friend’s right to privacy. Anyone who thinks different is promoting the globalist police state agenda. It is that simple.
Having never met Ms. Hock, all this reporter can speak to is what I have observed and what the public records prove. We have all seen Ms. Hock drug through the mud by a prosecutor who was and is willing to make false accusations against her, even to the Texas Rangers. A prosecutor who accused her of violating her public trust when the facts prove it is him violating his. She stood her ground (the truth) and prevailed against that onslaught.
Now we see her being harassed and an attempt to intimidate her by a law man who represents a danger to her. A lawman who has had two prior restraining orders issued against him to protect two different women that he was harassing in the past. A lawman whose Polk Co S.O. file The Sentinel open record requested months ago pertaining just to the complaints and charges made by employers and the public against him for the last ten years is a file that contains over 400 pages. A lawman whose records show he was involved in a drunken physical altercation with a woman before. A lawman who is quick to pick on defenseless women.
As if that weren’t enough, there is the prosecutor who has confused his constitutional duty with his personal political agenda and sued one of the very public servants that he is constitutionally bound to defend in favor of a corrupt lawman that is his friend. A prosecutor who already spread lies and false accusations about Ms. Hock and filed a false report to the Rangers. A prosecutor who has fought me for months to hide the 400 plus page file that will allow The Sentinel to FINALLY fully inform the voters of Polk County about one that walks among them with a badge and a gun.
In light of all this, there are three things that I would like to say to Ms. Schelana Hock.
FIRST; It is always the darkest just before the dawn.
SECOND; This is my favorite passage of Scripture for times like these:
2 Cor 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
THIRD; YOU, young lady, Are my Hero!
You are my hero because of your steadfast refusal to crumble under the corrupt onslaught that has been perpetrated against you by several who are known for their retaliatory and vindictive acts. A resolve that speaks volumes about your love for your friends, your character, your integrity and their lack. You are my hero because of your steadfast devotion to the commitment of friendship that puts principal above politics, love above comfort and shines out of the darkness that is trying to quench your light. You are my hero because your SERVANT’S HEART is the very lifeblood and sustainer of the public trust that Polk County has given you but most of all, you are my hero because it is obvious that The Truth abides in you.
You are my hero Ms. Hock and I just want to make sure that your friends in Polk County realize that they need to TREASURE a friend like you. I want the voters to realize they need to TREASURE a servant like you but most of all, I want you to know that even over here in my little Pointblank corner of the world, your light shines brightly.
With the absolute greatest admiration and respect,
Steve Watson – Publisher Sentinel Alert
RETALIATION AND INTIMIDATION
or: Business as usual at Polk County DA's office
An indepth and well written article on the front page of todays, "POLK *COUNTY ENTERPRISE" exposes the corrupt actions of the Polk County DA, Bill Lee 'The Kid" Hon and his cohart, Tom 'Pickett' Coleman. In a situation very similar to the original false accusations claiming that the Polk County Clerk 'leaked' documents to me, Lima, Hon and Coleman have teamed up to drag this clerk thru the mud one more time with more false accusations of giving me 'sensitive' information. Hon should have already gone to jail for giving a false report to the Texas Rangers the first time around. Now they are going for round two with the same method of operation.
I have already written several stories about that first round that prove the document I published was neither sensitive nor secret but rather a public record in the public realm that any person (including me) can walk in, pay a dollar, get a copy of and leave. The document was so public that it is not even subject to the open records act becasue it is on CONSTANT DISPLAY in the Clerks records.
Now on round two of Hon, Coleman, Lima's attempt to intimidate and retaliate, they are using the same corrupt methods. The fb post I published was posted on FB. Lima took it down quickly but some people snagged it. One of my readers sent it to me two days later. This reader is a private citizen and does not serve in any public capacity. The person has witnessed the DA's retalitory efforts first hand for years and, like many, has had enough of the criminal acts he committs. I got the text, Monday, Oct 22 at 12:44 pm.
I have stated before and will state again, Polk County Clerk, Shelena Hock has NEVER called me or texted me by cell phone or messagaed me on FB. Shelena Hock DID NOT send me the graphic. The only communication I have had with her office is when I call with a question or via email when they respond to an open records request. Polk Co. Clerk, Schelena Hock, nor any of her clerks have EVER initiated any communication with me but only responded to my inquiries as required by public record laws. It is in those dealings with her office that I have come to understand why her and her family have a great reputation in the Polk County community.
POLK COUNTY JUDGE EDUCATES ‘SECURITY’
The Polk County Justice Center Building that contains the courtrooms, District Judge’s offices, both clerk’s offices and the district attorney’s office was the scene of a recent violation of the civil rights of an East Texas civil rights activist whose channel is known as ‘Concerned Citizen Where Is The Constitution’. After receiving reports that the Polk County Sheriff deputies who were working security at the Justice Center were illegally excluding cameras from the premises, the wheels were set in motion to gather proof positive that this most basic and simple right of the citizens of Polk County was being routinely violated by the on duty officers that were screening everyone who entered.
The Concerned Citizen, Clint, approached the check point with his video camera openly in his possession and attempted to enter. Just as had been reported, Sgt Cabiness immediately confronted this citizen with his illegal demands to take the camera out of the building as proven in this video shot by the very camera Cabiness was objecting to. I’ll not narrate the entire exchange but suffice it to say Sgt Cabiness illustrated his ignorance of the law or willingness to violate a citizen’s rights with impunity and blame it on the judge. The Concerned Citizen simply asked to see the judge’s order Cabiness claimed to base his illegal actions on which provoked Cabiness to the point that he pushed the citizen to remove him from the building.
Instead of a flashy confrontation, Concerned Citizen took his unanswered questions to County Judge, Sydney Murphy and Chief Deputy, Byron Lyons. Judge Murphy immediately recognized the error being perpetrated against the Citizens and took action. By state law, the sheriff is responsible for the security of the courthouse but you cannot violate the law and citizen’s rights in order to fulfill that duty. “If they aren’t going to allow my camera in the building”, Concerned Citizen argued against the policy, “They need to have every single person bring their cell phones up front right now and turn them in”. Filming in the actual courtrooms is not allowed unless the judge ok's it but the public areas of the building are and long have been, legal to film in as a public space.
Concerned Citizen made a follow up visit to the Polk County Justice Center recently and encountered zero resistance to his camera entering the building and taking the tour. One more time, Judge Murphy stepped up and did the right thing with full transparency.
FACT FREE FANTASY FOILED
Shortly after the article below was penned and publsihed, and three months after my original request for documents was submitted to Polk County S. O., ADA Tommy Coleman wrote a letter dated November 30 to inform me that the records were going to cost 137 dollars and that I had ten business days from the date of the letter to reply in writing of my intentions to pay for the records and pick them up. This is where the nefariousness begins.
Despite my plain instructions to notify me via my email address when the records were ready, Coleman decides to send the ten day notice letter via snail mail certified. The letter was dated the 30th which was a Friday. The letter was Post marked December 3 which was the next Monday. The USPS took until the 6th to make the first attempt to deliver and leave me a notice. In a sly move, Coleman had also forwarded me an open records answer on another request WITHOUT it being certified that was delivered the same day. My presumption was that the certified mail was going to be for a copy of the same letter as has happened before.
History has proven that if you miss a certified mailing in Pointblank, it can take a couple of days for the letter to settle in Onalaska USPS or the Pointblank USPS in order for you to find it. I finally got my hands on the letter December 13th, the 10th business day from the date of the letter. With no time for mailing in a written reply as demanded, I got the USPS money order in the full amount, wrote out a dated letter saying I did intend to pay the full amount and get my records and headed to the Polk County DA's office. This is where the corrupt leadership of DA Bill Lee "The Kid" Hon comes into play. I presented my letter to the clerk at the window and asked for a dated and signed received copy of the letter back and offered the USPS money order in the full amount.
The clerk refused to give me a copy of the letter or take my payment. She called out another assistant in the office who also refused to give me a dated and signed received copy of my letter and also refused to accept my payment. "I need proof that I deleivered this letter because today is the tenth day", was my reply. "I don't want any part of this", the assistant stated and refused to sign a copy of the letter as received or accept my payment in full. Coleman was out of the office and, she said, was the only one that could accept the letter or payment.
Frustrated at the blatant violation of their public duty, ethical requirements of the office and decency and courtesy to the general public, I left the office, sat down by the clerks end of the second floor and called on good counsel for advice. About this time, I see Bill Lee 'The Kid" Hon hit the top of the stairs and head to his office after taking a double take at me.
My friend advised that I meet with him so we could look over all the documents involved. During that meeting, he saw the fax number on Hon's letter head and advised, "Go to the Post net business office and fax the letter in so you get a sent receipt". That is what I did.
Now what to do about getting the payment accepted. What do you do when the enemy has you flanked and you can't press forward? Why not call in the Marines? The next morning, a USMC Retired veteran entered the DA's office and informed the clerk that he needed to make a payment. He was not questioned and the payment was accepted cheerily. It was only after that he handed them the USPS money order for payment in full that he stated, "I am making this payment for Steve Watson".
This is just another example of Lee Hon's corruption and the contaminating effect it has on his staff. The two employee's refusal to accept my payment or aknowledge the receipt of the letter is either based on personal corruption or fear of reprisal from the boss. Neither is good for Polk County. The way the lady raised her hands up as surrendering when she said, "I don't want any part of this" makes me think it is fear of reprisal from the boss that animated her antics.
The OAG letter to DA Lee Hon and CC to me shows that the basic information requested by a Sentinel Alert open records request is to be released. That OAG letter to Hon was dated November 9th. Here it is the 28th and no records yet. In all fairness, it was Tommy Coleman, the professional witholder of evidence employed by Polk County, who signed the request for opinion and I presume is in charge of withholding the records on behalf of the people of Polk County.
FOUND !!!!!!!!! November 20, 2018
FB STATEMENT BY KADE BERMAN - FATHER
LAS VEGAS 11/9/2018
Producers Choice Awards was the honor shown the local band, "Satisfied Drive" and their producer at the event recently held in Las Vegas, USA. More details linked to the headline.
REPUBLICANS GET TOGETHER WITH FOOD, MUSIC AND TIME TO TALK.
REPUBLICAN PARTY BBQ BRINGS CONSERVATIVES TOGETHER
Troubadour Cody Joe Tillman was the catalyst in the mix that brought out the Blue Duck special which is apparently hosting a first class event. His comfortable tunes kept all of our conversations from drifting too far but allowed for the friendly and respectful exchange of ideas and information between several elected officials and their constituents.
C0dy gave up his mike to State Rep James White for a few moments when he arrived to greet the people. Rep White applauded the party effort to bring people together seeking common ground and was quick to give due to the local elected officials he saw in the crowd. From County Judge to Commissioner, Constable to Clerk and the school board too, Rep White gave them all a shout out and a thank you for their service to the community. Then he let Cody have the loft and his mike back and came down to mingle among his people, giving them his ear.
A couple of photos above just absolutely illustrate the Representative Republic form of govt in its purest grass roots form. Since our state reps have to run every two years, being responsive to your constituents can only happen when you hear them. Rep White did a lot more listening than he did talking and took time to make himself available to all.
In keeping with the main focus of the event, according to planner and Republican Party P.I.O. Tim Martin, much was done toward recognizing and establishing that common ground. Rep White summed it up saying, "Go vote starting Monday and let's govern conservatively".
For me, the highlight of the night was when I was near Judge Sydney Murphy and a grown woman came up introducing herself and said, "Ms. Murphy, you were my reading teacher when I was six years old and I just love you". There was no doubt touching this woman's life when she was a child meant the world to Judge Murphy as they locked eyes and their faces shone with the joy of their recalled affection.
This reporter left the event knowing a few things for sure. The Republican Party in Polk County is going places with a common and plain stated goal, conservative women are still the most beautiful and last but not least, a blind man could see that.
The things they cherish, God, Family and Country, make them the weavers of the fabric of our nation. They bring the very threads to life and in their pattern of unity, give strength to each other, their men and our nation.
LIMA CLAIMS HIS EMAIL WAS HACKED
After a lengthy verbal battle ensued on Lima's fb page late into the night in which Lima professed that "that blog in San Jacinto County" was just a puppet for the Polk County G.O.P. Public Information officer and that said P.I.O. fed news about anyone that crossed him to The Sentinel, evidence came to light that Lima had 'ratted' on his fellow L.E.O.'s in Polk County via emails sent to The Sentinel last January. The evidence was in the form of a series of emails Lima initiated with The Sentinel at that time offering us 'evidence' on high ranking public officials in Polk Co, in particular a former boss of his. When The Sentinel got wind of the fb rant, we attempted to view it for ourself and found we were blocked from his fb page. A group of Polk County readers did provide the transcript, confront and challenge The Sentinel to address Lima's claims that The Sentinel had a puppet master. We responded by releasing the emails that prove Lima is lying. His email, despite his claims and the false accusations against the men we released the emails to, WAS NOT HACKED. The emails are original and still intact in The Sentinel Alert email account. We are considering publishing them here in the interest of full disclosure.
FORMER ONALASKA L.E.O. PLEADS TO PUBLIC INTOXICATION
Three counts on a disorderly conduct charge leveled against Christopher Lima were reduced to a charge of Public Intoxication which, according to Lima, he pled "no contest' to. Lima had initially demanded a jury trial and in communication with The Sentinel, claimed he had all the evidence he needed to prove he was not guilty of the charges. Lima was once employed by the Onalaska PD Dept but is now a detective with the Corrigan PD.
STATE REP CALLS SENTINEL
District 19 State Representative, James White did call The Sentinel today and give a lengthly interview regarding the Sentinel story and the allegations that have been made. In that conversation, Rep White at first claimed he had not received my follow up email narrowing the scope of my request . . . then he found it. A portion of it read;
STATE REP CONTINUES TO IGNORE SENTINEL OPEN RECORDS REQUEST
State Rep, Dist 19, JAMES WHITE apparently considers himself above the open records laws of the State of Texas. His blatant violation of the law so far remains unprosecuted by any local or state officials.
STATE REP IGNORES SENTINEL OPEN RECORDS REQUEST
Texas State Representative, Dist 19, James White has gone from 'resisting' The Sentinel inquiries with the typical 'legalistic' language used to stall us to out right ignoring a legal, binding and duly submitted Sentinel Alert open records request.
In an open records effort that has been underway since the first week of May, The Sentinel has sought records as evidence to prove multiple allegations made by White's constituents, both to him and The Sentinel, that one of the DA's in his District was engaging in a pattern of illegal, retaliatory and corrupt activities that were being reported to him as the next step up, and were complaints White persistantly ignored.
Our first effort was met with the return of one unsigned letter submitted to White detailing mutliple allegations of wrong doing on the part of the DA by a group who claimed to be his constituents but declined to sign the letter based on a fear of retaliation.
White's legal response was to inform The Sentinel that he would not release any of the other signed complaint letters because he wanted to protect the identity of his constituents.
The Sentinel response pointed out that we have a long history of NOT revealing sources that could cause them harm so my thus far unanswered question to Rep White was, "Who are you protecting them from?"
It is those same folks who after complaining to White about the DA and with no place left to go, are complaining to The Sentinel about White.
POLK CO. DA AND SHERIFF'S OFFICE CONSPIRE TO VIOLATE RIGHTS
Abuse of Official Capacity and Falsifying an Incident Report are the only way to accurately describe the events that unfolded the evening of January 23, 2018 against Anthony Barunek, commonlaw husband of Rita Hon, DA Hon's mother.
Not only did Hon and the S.O. conspire together to illegally evict a man from his own home, the reporting officer (an officer The Sentinel warned the readers about last year) conspired to make false entries on his incident report in order to cover up the criminal conspiracy that unfolded that evening. The green ticket in the redacted photo below was the Criminal Trespass Warning (ctw) issued to Bartunek that evening just hours after Bartunek claims Hon called ordering him to "get out of town by dark". At this point, Bartunek had been living with Rita Hon for 5 years at the Mills Street address and the Mills street address was on all of Bartunek's official papers, (DL, CAD, SO Registry) and Dunaway accurately reflected that fact when he wrote the ticket. Dunaway used Bartunek's DL address to issue the ticket. It was only later when Dunaway was filing the official incident report that he either decided or was instructed to put the Ollie Loop address down for Anthony Bartunek. I mean, it looks bad when you criminally trespass a man from his own home OF RECORD without any legal grounds to stand on.
When The Sentinel requested these records that Coleman fought the release of so vigorously, we did specifically request any Power of Attorney on file with the S.O. to base their actions on. In that request, we specifically waived any request for personal financial info or personal identifiers but just wanted to see that there was a POA on file and see if Lee Hon even had the power to initiate a legal eviction process. There was no document delivered. There is no such document on file in the County Clerks office as of March of this year. The summation is this. Hon and the Sheriff evicted a man from his own home on the say so of a man that did NOT own the property and who offered no proof of any right to even do a legal eviction, much less this illegal, abusive and oppressive act. Rita Hon, the owner of record, AND her family promised her husband that he could live in the house the rest of his days according to Bartunek's interview with The Sentinel.
RECORDS ARRIVE AT SENTINEL OFFICE
A mostly un responsive effort including 14 blank pages with only a page number out of the 5o documents contained in the envelope arrived at The Sentinel office but it still provided enough evidence to prove 'Abuse of Official Capacity' against William Lee Hon.
COLEMAN STILL WITHOLDING RECORDS
State Rep James White still turning blind eye to DA antics
TOMMY COLEMAN STILL WITHOLDING RECORDS
In DIRECT violation of the very laws he swore an oath to defend and uphold, Tommy Coleman continues to withold records from The Sentinel. You need to release the documents to me that the OAG ORDERED you to release. I need them for my defense in the case against me. We know there are channels throught the OAG to call your hand but that takes time. This call out is instant. All I have to do is press the 'publish' button and the whole world knows you are still violating the law .
TOMMY COLEMAN WITHOLDS RECORDS
Polk Co asst. District Attorney, Tommy Coleman, in a continuation of a pattern he has developed over the years, continues to withhold evidence that was ordered released by the OAG several weeks ago. In an equally corrupt but polar opposite occurance to the withholding of exculpatory evidence in trials in Williamson County as asst DA that would have proven the accused's innocence, now Coleman is withholding evidence that can prove the crimes of his boss, Polk County District Attorney. In Williamson county, Coleman let a man rot in prison that he knew was innocent.
The documents were requested from the Polk County Sheriff Dept and promply provided by them to the DA's office for dispersement. Despite the basic nature of documents sought and explicit clarification by The Sentinel in the request that we did not want personal financial information but only what was legally available under the Texas Open Records Statutes, Coleman submitted some of the documents as a, "representative sample" to the OAG and requested an opinion.
In the quickest ever return by the OAG in our 30 plus years of exposing the corrupt public servants, the OAG ordered the release of most of the documents that we requested. Coleman, as of this date, has IGNORED that order and continues to withhold evidence vital to The Sentinel's case against the DA.
CORRIGAN CITY ATTORNEY GOES SILENT
A simple request to see the minutes and agendas was interpreted by the City Attorney for actual copies resulting in the big bogus three day bill presented by City Attorney, Tatum. Since we have clarified for the City Attorney that the original request was for copies but ended when they sent, "no documents responsive to your request" answers. My followup request was to "see" all the agendas and minutes. I am not asking for copies of all that but just want to examine them for myself. I felt it a necessary step when the same attorney mis interpreted my initial request for the agenda's and minutes containing payment to the PD items where Ms. Gibson was "PRESENT" to vote. The City Attorney interpreted that simple and plain request into wanting minutes Mrs. Gibson actually voted "FOR" payment.
Then there was the delay of City Attorney being out of office for an extended period. Now a request to simply "see" the documents morphed into a big big bill claiming the secretary needs three days just to pull the agendas and minutes of those meetings and make copies that I never asked for. My last clarification, nearly two weeks old now, has been met with silence by the Corrigan City Attorney.
Why? It is truely my hope to view the minutes and report that all is well in the City of Corrigan business practices.
CORRIGAN CITY ATTORNEY STALLS OR EXPOSES INEPT FILING
Three Hundred and Eighty dollars is how much the Corrigan City Attorney, Luan Tatum, estimated it would cost to lay the city council agendas from during the Gibson's reign as mayor and police chief on the table for me to inspect. Tatum alleges that it will take three full days of effort to get those most basic documents out of the file drawers. Tatum's first response to my inquiry for copies was, "there are no responsive documents". That response was to my original request for complaints on a Corrigan PD officer and then my later request for the agenda minutes where Ms Gibson voted to pay the PD. Mr./Ms. Tatum seemed confused by the phrase, 'payment to the PD' as they asked for two clarifications and sent me a big bill requiring half down before they would even start.
POLK COUNTY DA ‘TOUGH ON CRIME’?
Statistical data derived from The State of Texas Office of Court Administration website at first glance indicates that The Polk County District Attorney is extra ‘tough on crime’. Research via open records led to documents proving a total of 616 felony cases were dismissed by Polk County DA's office since January of 2015 through January of 2018. That initially seemed like an excessive amount but when you compare that with the total of cases filed for the same three year time period numbering 3035, you come up with an average of about 20 percent of the Polk County felony cases ending in dismissal.
If we compare Walker County cases to the Polk County numbers, we find 408 felony cases dismissed out of 1716 felony cases filed in Walker County for an average of just over 23 percent of their felony cases being dismissed. The Sentinel has never had the first complaint on the Walker County DA’s office or Sheriff Department so we tend to view them as a relative ‘bench mark’ for what is normal or an average for an ethical operation in East Texas.
A quick look as San Jacinto County shows 312 dismissed out of a total of 1163 filed for 27 percent dismissed. In all fairness to DA Robert Trapp and his office, the number is higher than the the three year period prior to all the gambling raid arrests.
Montgomery County had 3997 dismissals of felony cases out of 17,231 filed for an average of 23 percent.
Liberty County showed that out of 3075 felony cases filed, only 358 were dismissed for an average of just over 10 percent. Liberty County population is 1.6 times the population of Polk County yet Polk County files just as many felony cases.
Angelina County had 353 dismissed out of 3088 cases for 11.4 percent dismissed. Once again, 1.6 times as high a population count as Polk County but very near the same number of felony’s prosecuted with a noticeably lower dismissal rate.
Trinity County had the lowest percentage of dismissals of all. 16 dismissed out of 170 felony cases filed for just under ten percent dismissed.
None of those number really jump out at you other than the lower than average percent of dismissals in Liberty, Angelina and Trinity Counties.
Now let’s add in one other factor. Population numbers so we can talk per capita.
Walker County’s population is 72 thousand. 2.3 percent of the population was charged with a felony crime in the three year period. That is 2.3 people per 100 of population. Add in the fact that Walker County has 1.5 times the population of Polk County but only half the felonies filed on its citizens.
In San Jacinto County, population 28K, 4.1 percent of the population was charged with a felony crime in the same time period but once again, that includes all the gambling raid arrests.
In Montgomery County, population 510K, 3.0 percent of the population was charged with a felony crime. That amounts to 3 people out of every 100 being charged with a felony
In Liberty County, population 83K, 3.7 percent of the population was charged with a felony.
In Trinity County, population 14.5K, only 1.1 percent of the population was charged with a felony.
In Angelina County, population 88K, 3.5 percent of the population was prosecuted for a felony.
In Polk County, population 49K, a Whopping 6.2 percent of the population has been charged with a felony during the same three year period. That figure means that on a per capita basis, in Polk County you are over five times more likely to be charged with a felony than you are in Trinity County, nearly three times more likely than in Walker County and nearly twice as likely to be charged with a felony in Polk County than you are in any other county around in East Texas. That means that 6.2 people out of every hundred count of population in Polk County gets charged with a felony. There must be a reason for Polk County exceeding all their neighbors in felony prosecutions. Three possible reasons for the abnormal statistics have been proffered by Sentinel United Alliance members for consideration;
Political ads by William Lee Hon have claimed that he is “Tough on Crime”.
The higher ratio of criminals just doesn’t seem plausible.
Are allegations of 'abuse of official capacity' based in fact?
Further investigation seems to be warranted.
REPUBLICAN PARTY FOLKS ACTIVE IN POLK COUNTY
POLK CO REPUBLICAN PARTY MEMBERS MEET
Texas Senator Robert Nichols, District 3 and Joshua Siegal, the Senator Ted Cruz campaign representative, met with a room full of concerned Polk County Republicans to discuss the state of affairs in Polk County and east Texas Monday night at La Casita in Livingston. Republican Party Chairman, Fred Grube and quite a few card carrying Polk County republicans were present and took advantage of the opportunity to get some answers.
It was easy for Nichols and Siegal to talk about things state and nation wide but Commissioner Tommy Overstreet stood up for Polk county and brought the conversation back to what matters here locally. After the two speakers both agreed that it was “rural Texas votes” keeping them in office, Overstreet spoke up wanting to know why then was all the Federal money going to the I 35 Corridor instead of any of that money making its way into Polk County for the I 69 Corridor.
411th District Judge Kaycee Jones and 258th District Judge elect, Travis Kitchens were in attendance and were involved in earnest conversation long after the dinner was over and some of the crowd left. It was a great opportunity for an exchange of ideas, observations and information. “The intersection of Business 59 and 190 is a prime example of where we are missing the boat”, Commissioner Oversteet lamented in one conversation. “You can’t turn left without blocking through traffic because you are having to wait”
Mr. Wayne Woods spoke up for our nation’s Flag and The Cross of Christ in one of those after the meeting visits. His opening prayer made it plain that is the Conservative ground he is standing on. Another person noted that it takes more than a republican label to make an elected official a conservative. “It is more about the decisions they make and actions they take than any label”, he said.
As the upcoming General Election begins approaching ever closer, there was a common thread and mutual agreement that there was plenty of work to be done and that standing on our conservative values was the way to move the Republican Party forward in Polk County and East Texas.
LIMA POST - VEILED THREAT?
Shortly after The Sentinel posted the stories below, Corrigan PD Detective, Christopher Lima, a Polk County native, made the facebook post at left highlighting the language from a news story weeks old already. Combined with the allegations of him committing an aggravated assault while admittedly drunk in April of this year along with the prior fb photo Lima posted of himself brandishing his pistol for his 'followers', this most recent post has ominous undertones.
"I have never had the first complaint or disciplinary action filed against me by anyone at any of the jobs I have worked at" Lima stated in a prior Sentinel interview when we were looking into the aggravated assault allegations that have been made against him. A followup open records request submitted to just one of Lima's former employors contains over 400 pages per the OAG opinion request letter the Polk County DA's office has filed attempting to block access to Lima's personel file.
According to the letter, over 40 pages the DA is trying to block the public from seeing pertain to crime victim impact statements, 7 pages pertain to a child welfare and protective services case against him and over 60 pages pertain to an "unadjucicated criminal offense for which the defendant was placed on deferred adjudication".
POLK COUNTY DA SET TO RELEASE DOCUMENTS
The Sentinel Alert has finally received notice that the requested documents that the OAG had ordered to be released, for the second time on June 11th, from the Polk County District Attorney are ready to be picked up. A total of 51 pages are being billed for a total of 51 dollars. We intend to pick them up Monday but it will take some time to read and research the information. Stay tuned for updates.
COLEMAN GETS OAG ORDER TO RELEASE RECORDS . . . . AGAIN
In a letter dated June 11th, 2018 from Attorney General, Ken Paxton, the Polk County lead asst DA, Tommy Coleman was once again ordered to release the majority of documents we previously requested. Sentinel readers may remember that a month or two ago, Coleman was orderd by the OAG to release a quantity of documents vital to The Sentinel investigation into the criminal acts of the incumbent DA for Polk County but has ignored that order.
In the previous order, the OAG chided Coleman that the "representative sample" of documents he submitted was all that letter pertained to and that the letter could not be used to withhold any document that had not been submitted to them for an opinion.
We knew that the 'representative sample' claim by Coleman was bogus because we asked for a broad array of documents. This latest letter proves it because the OAG decision covers a different category of documents that weren't even mentioned in the last order Coleman has blatantly ignored. The most telling is the OAG answer concerning the "Criminal Trespass Warning" ticket stating that, "This office has also found the public has a legitimate public interest in the details of a crime" and supports that statement with the notation of case law that proved, "legitimate public interest in facts tending to support an allegation of criminal activity" (Cinel v. Commick, 15 F.3d 1338, 1345-46 (1994)
We won't hold our breath that Coleman will abide by the law.
CORRIGAN CITY ATTORNEY ANSWERS
In an abrupt about face, legal counsel for the City of Corrigan gave a civil and polite reply to both of The Sentinel open records requests today claiming, "no documents responsive to your request". Chief Gibson's rude and smart aleck attitude seems to have dissapaited once The Sentinel started looking into the mayor's voting record.
Corrigan city attorney claims there is not a single complaint that has ever been filed against Chris Lima. Said attorney also claims that the mayor/council woman never voted to pay money to the PD.
CITY OF CORRIGAN IGNORES SENTINEL
The best effort of The Sentinel to get some quick and accurate answers regarding the allegations of an out of control officer from Corrigan have been thwarted by the City's obstinate refusal to provide public record documents. A phone call to chief Darrell Gibson revealed quickly that he had a hostile attitude toward The Sentinel for daring to ask questions. Recognizing the dead end there with the chiefs smart aleck answer, "Just call the Texas Rangers" followed by an abrupt hangup, caused us to revamp our strategy and request the documents directly from the mayor via email to her official email address obtained from her clerk on May 22, 2018 at 1:25 pm.
The mayor is the official and legal custodian of all of the City's public record documents no matter what department they are from. We resigned ourself to have to wait the ten days for the answers our Sentinel readers were requesting. After 15 days had elapsed with no reply, we called and politely inquired of the mayor's secretary as to where our records were. She had no answer but asked me to resubmit the request directly to her email which I did with the understanding that the first email was legal and binding and that their ten days were up and that we expected an answer post haste but would give them a few days in response to her courtesy to The Sentinel.
Then enters the chief again with an email t0day claiming he referred me to the Angelina County DA, Joe Martin in a prior phone call. That is a lie. He further instructed me today to contact Joe Martin if I wanted any answers. When I reminded the chief that my request was duly submitted and binding by law and that the buck stops with the mayor, he instructed me in writing to contact Angelina County DA, Joe Martin. Neither the mayor or the chief have stated that they forwarded my open records request to DA Martin, only that I needed to contact him for answers.
It doesn't work like that. As I informed the chief, if they decide to forward the request to the DA in the next county over, that is their business. My obligation under law is done. Now my options to deal with the illegal antics of the mayor and the chief via the OAG are on the table. In doing our research, we noticed both the mayor and the chief have the same last name and a Sentinel sleuth found fb posts that prove the two are married. How cozy.
Now I automatically wonder if the mayor, or as council woman, ever voted for you a pay raise. Hmmmm. Chief, if you want to make a federal case out of me simply requesting any documents pertaining to complaints filed against a Corrigan officer during the time he has been in your employ, we can go there. You push on me, I push back. It is that simple. Our readers have legitimate concerns based on documents and more recent actions but are afraid to go through the normal channels in Polk County just because of the behavior of a public servant who is supposed to uphold the law, not violate it with impunity.
Let Madam mayor know that she can expect an open records request on her desk in the morning for all those council minutes. Once again, not a threat, just my word. You have accused me of threatening you. Your equating Sentinel Scrutiny to a written accusation that I am threatening you speaks volumes about your and the mayor's lack of transparency. The only thing we at The Sentinel 'threaten' is continued corruption.
COMMISSIONER'S WIFE ARRESTED
The culmination of a long term Sentinel Investigation that involved several in the Onalaska community was that Linda Vincent, wife of Polk County Commissioner Ronnie Vincent was arrested on two felony counts of 'Theft of Service". She made bond in short order. Details are limited at this point but we will seek more information and share it with The Sentinel readers as the case progresses. A standard step one was recusal of the local DA's office. As revealed in the analytical DA stats in the 'tough on crime' article, Liberty County's DA's office is much more thorough in assessing evidence and less inclined to persue baseless charges or seek a dismissal than the Polk County office.
ASSt. DA DENIGRATES SENTINEL
Multiple accounts of conversations with Polk County assistant criminal District Attorney, Tommy Coleman with various constituents in the community have been related to The Sentinel by concerned readers who have the same story. "He said your publication is full of lies and skews the truth", is the most common theme.
In that assertion according to these readers, Coleman points to a lack of prosecution of Linda Vincent on embezzlement charges and my retraction of and apology for the "Anatomy of Corruption" story regarding the so called, "Hon Pool Party" Coleman refers to as 'alleged'.
The Sentinel has not published any more on the embezzlement story of late for several reasons. We are convinced that there is a legitimate investigation underway by an outside agency's 501 (c) 3 specialist. No new evidence has come to The Sentinel lately. Plate is full with current corruption investigations.
"Your reputation is on the line", was the most recent admonition from a reader that I have never met nor spoken with before.
Steve Watson - Publisher.
STILL NO CORRECTION EXCEPT ONLINE
ENTERPIRSE MAKES MISTAKE - CHRONOLOGY WRONG
In what seemed to be a balanced and well written story published in the SJ News Times, The Polk County Enterprise and then subsequently published on their web site, it was reported that The Texas Rangers executed a search warrant on The Sentinel office/home, confiscating a computer and then after that, the arrest warrant was issued and I surrendered. Both events occured but in the opposite order. My arrest was first (April 25) and the SEARCH warrant wasn't executed until May 1st, nearly a week later.
It may not seem important to most but if the error is left to stand, it could be constured and many will think that the arrest warrant was based on evidence found on the computer that was confiscated. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. The arrest warrant was based solely on the indictments and not on any computer files. It has been two full weeks since the computer equipment was taken.
SAN JACINTO COUNTY 5/3/2018
26TH ANNIVERSAY OF UNSOLVED MURDER
The Natasha Atchley murder, some alledge rape and murder, remains unsolved twenty six years ago today. The Sentinel has worked on the case a bit and even called a prison to request an interview with an inmate a year ago. The next day, a cold case investigator called and asked me not to do the interview so as not to interfere with their investigation. "They will lawyer up" was his reasoning if I contacted the man serving a 60 year sentence for a ten year crime in the TDCJ unit farthest from here. "He was railroaded for what he knows and his entire inheritance stolen by the system" one friend claims.
A group of local sleuths, friends and family have refused to let the case die. The reward has been increased and new eye witnesses have come forward with very disturbing but matching stories. It has long been said that it was a Polk County crime that happened in San Jacinto County. There is a group on facebook called 'Justice for Natasha' that is keeping the investigation alive, challenging the status quo and invading the heretofore power structure with social media that has become more powerful than the old guard that has kept their secrets so long. Social media that brings distant witnesses to our very livingrooms.
Kelly Barnes and Chris Edwards worked together to get the story corrected and the website version of the paper updated to show the actual chronology of events. The clip at left shows the error version but the headline is linked to the same page showing the corrected story and that my surrender was on April 25th and the search warrant for my computer was not executed until May 1st, nearly a week later. It took over a month but Thank you Ms. Barnes and Chris Edwards.
NOW. How about a correction in the print editions near where you made the mistake ie:front page. That is where I do my corrections. If you don't correct the mistake, you are still making it.
MAJORITY OK WITH FAILED TACTICS
In a broad show of support for the failed 'real republican' tactics and a vote of confidence in the existing "Welcome to Polk County - come on vacation, leave on probation" image that the current prosecutor's office has developed for their community, a substantial percentage of the Polk County voters endorsed the 'status quo' by coming out to vote for John Wells. Despite Well's lack of experience and lying ads, the intimidation tactics of having the incumbent prosecutor stand with him on the sidewalk at the polling place seems to have turned the tide in his favor locally. San Jacinto County voters also embraced the continuation of the tyranny but by a much less degree than Polk. Trinity County voters came through and propelled the most qualified and experienced candidate to victory in the race. Wells' ad indicating his opponent, the Victorious Travis Kitchens, was the 'no change' candidate was the biggest lie in his last minute ad. Some sources claim that the incumbent prosecutor stated he would resign if Kitchens won. Waiting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Now to follow up on that alleged unreported campaign expenditure.
POLK CO 'real republican' ATTACKS
In a move that closely mimicks all of the so called, 'real republican' campaign tactics utilized in the primary, 258th District Judge candidate, John Wells confuses real world politics with facebook and the twitterverse. Calling voters, "followers", Wells resorted to a low class personal attack ad in the Polk County Enterprise on the eve of the final vote for the Republican Primary run off election. In so doing, Wells is ignoring the proven fact that the self same tactic failed miserably for ALL of the 'real republicans' that went (down) before him. The ad that ran in the SJ News Times was not offensive like the Polk Co ad but the fact that the Polk County voters, people that know him already, soundly rejected Wells in the primary may have lent to the desperate home town tactic.
The Sentinel offered via direct text message to Wells before the runoff to publish any document he could provide proving that he had probate experience or ever served as a special prosecutor. Instead of shutting down his detractors with proof, Wells chose to ignore The Sentinel offer and resort to hurling personal attacks against what he calls, "a small group".
If the recent primary election is any indicator, Wells may as well pack it in and start licking his wounds. The voters have shown they are fed up with lying political ads, low class tactics and mealy mouthed politicians that point and holler but never have proof. In our years of vetting candidates, The Sentinel has seen a lot of candidates attack their opponents but this is the first time we have seen a desperate candidate attack the voters.
We did enquire of Wells today if he had the proof documents yet so we could publish them but we also asked, in light of the new voter attack tactic he used, if he even has a campaign manager.
The voters have overwhelmingly chosen men and women this election who have a broad experience base, good moral character and that have NEVER run an attack ad in their lives. That only describes ONE candidate in this run off and it isn't John Wells.
POLK COUNTY 3/17/2018
OFFICIAL NOTICE - NO OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION
Two Texas Rangers and one Federal official have informed The Sentinel to date that there is no official investigation of the OFBC/FFA embezzlement allegations in Onalaska Texas by them. The Texas Rangers both gave The Sentinel verbal assurance that there was no investigation on going by them and a Federal agent replied to The Sentinel inquiry in writing assuring us that it would take more than allegations to instigate an official D.O.J. investigation.
ADULT VINCENT DAUGHTER INSTRUCTS PUBLIC
In an effort to squelch scrutiny of her mother's crimes, the adult Vincent daughter has taken to social media to slam The Sentinel and instruct members of the public what they can and cannot post on social media. In her privileged rant, Ms. Vincent admits her mother's guilt on the FBC embezzlement for all the world to see.
COMMUNITY BANDS TOGETHER - PROVIDES PROOF
A disappointing result from local law enforcement and the prosecutor's office in Polk Co dragging their feet and giving Linda Vincent, wife of commissioner Ronnie Vincent cover for her crimes has backfired.
The Sentinel was challenged by the local Ranger with, "We don't start an investigation on a say so" and then DA Lee Hon totally ignored the issue despite The Sentinel's track record of accurate information. It is not the only allegation of turning a blind eye to crimes committed by those in power that have been leveled against either man. But that is another investigation.
The Onalaska community was miffed and has had a belly full of the good ole boy system and has responded with production of the documents that are needed to prove embezzlement of FFA/4H Buyer's Club funds during Linda Vincent's tenure as treasurer. A cooperative effort between several members in the community has resulted in evidence that warrants investigation.
Not all of the principals are known to The Sentinel. One had access to actual bank records. One had access to FFA Buyer's club records. Another had access to dates and information that has been compiled over several years. Another knows me and had enough confidence that we would protect their identity and do the right thing with the information that they collected them up and made the documents available to us via courier. Only one is published above. It is a bank record that shows the purchase of a cell phone, dinner for the Vincent family and a hotel paid for with the FFA/4H kid's money. The 100 dollar cash withdrawal was done at an atm.
There are quite a few other instances of personal expenditures that had the effect of causing the Buyer's Club to bounce checks and incur many overdraft charges. Another document is a forged letter on the bank letterhead explaining away an issue where Linda Vincent was questioned about disappearing money and 'the bank' took responsibility. The only problem is the name of the signer is miss spelled and that person has confirmed that they never saw the letter much less signed it.
As is a Sentinel practice when an unsatisfactory answer is given at the local level, we often contact the tallest hog in the trough (no pun intended regarding the Vincent hog selling enterprise) to get some answers. Why was this ignored? What is the connection? How deep does the embezzlement go? How many organizations that Linda and Ronnie 'Boss Hogg' Vincent were involved with are missing money? A short list of outfits that the Vincents had their hands in are, Little Dribblers, Texas Junior Livestock Assn, Polk Co Youth assn, Library Board, School Board. There are others.
These documents will be made available to any official investigator that believes it warrants further investigation. My number and address is posted in the left column. Come see me.
Steve Watson - Publisher
The screen shots of a recent email interchange between Polk County Commissioner, Ronnie Vincent and The Sentinel are partially displayed with this story. In my inquiry email, my writing assures the commissioner that I will publish his reply in its entirety. After careful consideration, our decision was to print this portion only but offer, at the commissioners request, to display the entire documents.
The un displayed portion of my email inquires about two seperate allegations that have been made by so far reliable sources and his answer to those allegations.
Since The Sentinel has not obtained documented proof of the two and only had questions, we have considered our options of keeping our verbal committment to publish in the whole vs. bringing un proven allegations into the discussion.
COMMISSIONER GIVES STATEMENT
A response to an email inquiry was received at The Sentinel offices. We will share that with the readers soon.
LINDA VINCENT DELETES FB ACCOUNT
Too Late ma'am. We already have a sneaking suspicion why no one seemed interested in prosecuting you three months ago when The Sentinel brought the information to Polk County officials. Stay tuned because we have several more fb tidbits we will be sharing this coming week.
PUBLIC TRUST VIOLATED BY LOCAL LEADER
Matt 10:26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
Linda Vincent, wife of Polk County Pct 2 Commissioner Ronnie Vincent has violated the complete trust placed in her by the FBC Onalaska for many years according to Sentinel sources. Our investigation has shown a pattern of forgery, fraud, theft and embezzlement that has racked up a total in excess of a quarter million dollars over quite a few years as Ms. Vincent held the position of church secretary. Sources close to the matter state that church minutes were forged granting Ms. Vincent permission to cash in some FBC Certificates of Deposit in a local bank. When interviewing an official associated with the Baptist General Convention and the local church and attempting to confirm the initial amount as 60K stolen, The Sentinel was told several months ago, "We don't know what the total will end up being because we are just now beginning an audit of all the books and all the accounts."
We reached out to Commissioner Vincent offering to publish any statement he or his wife would make verbatim and got no response.
CHURCH SEEKS PROSECUTION AS AMOUNT EMBEZZLED PASSES 250 THOUSAND DOLLARS
According to Sentinel sources, The FBC Onalaska has sought help from Polk county prosecutor Lee Hon to prosecute the crimes perpetrated against the church as a combination of stolen CD's, credit card abuse and just plain ole writing checks to family has brought the amount past the quarter million dollar mark. Reliable sources indicate it may be as high as 300K of stolen money.
FBC ONALASKA CONSIDERS OUTSIDE AUDIT
Following a more thorough look at the financial records of FBC Onalaska, a couple of the church's credit cards have questionable expenses charged under the last pastor totaling in excess of 30K dollars. The leadership is considering having an outside audit done. The partial funds recovered (approx 45K) from the thief of the certificates of deposit are now earmarked to pay that outstanding credit card debt to prevent any further interest payments being made on the debt. At least one person in the Onalaska community has contacted The Sentinel, identifying the unnamed person correctly and issuing a warning of a pattern of involvement with the money end of many local organizations ranging from Little Dribblers to the Library. The Sentinel did confirm with official Polk County sources that this investigation was turned over to law enforcement and the DA in short order.
NOTARY DAUGHTER HAS FRAUDULENT SEAL
In a 'mum is the word' obstacle to The Sentinel investigation by all parties involved, we can only present the facts we are able to obtain through open records and proven reliable sources. Open Records are often a time consuming process but there are some provacative twists to the story. The woman (soon to be named) who embezzeled the money from the FBC Onalaska has a grown daughter who is a local Notary and was formerly employeed by a local Onalaska bank where she used her seal on banking business. A simple perusal of the S.O.S. site that regulates Notary Publics revealed that this notary had two seals and two Notary ID numbers registered with the Secretary of State based on a fraudulent Social Security number on a 2016 application. We have no proof that her daughter was involved in the embezzlement fraud but we have confirmed that her employment with the bank was ended soon after The Sentinel gave the information to the Texas Rangers and Polk County officials. According to the S.O.S. spokesperson, the fraudulent seal and ID will be voided and recombined with her original Notary file. We have written an OR request for the Notary Record Pages since her tenure began. More on this story as it develops.
NO "OFFICIAL" INVESTIGATION UNDERWAY
Despite verbal confirmation to The Sentinel from church officials that it did occur, no action is being taken on the alleged embezzlement of more than 50K dollars from the Onalaska First Baptist Church by a prominent member and former employee. Ranger Young was given the call to look into the allegations when the information was brought to law enforcement but the Ranger has not spoken with the church official according to him as of today. DA Lee Hon's office does not have a case listed according to his office spokesperson today. The allegations that this member forged signatures that required a notary seal to cash in CD's belonging to the church, confirmed by a church official, do not warrant an investigation according Ranger Young unless someone brings him some evidence. "We don't start an investigation on a say so", the Ranger clarified. The Baptist General Convention lead counsel clamped down on any information and all the members are being told DO NOT discuss the case with anyone.
The Sentinel investigation continues. The church documents nor the bank documents are subject to open records laws but sources indicate there may be other places to look related to public funds that are subject to open records.