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Six supervisors in the Collin County District Clerk's office were indicted by a Collin County Grand Jury today for "Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity" - a felony.
The six are:
- Patricia Crigger, Chief Deputy District Clerk
- Sherry Bell
- Rebecca Littrell
- Amy Mathis
- Lorrie Robertson
- Marcia Simpson
Patricia Crigger is the number 2 person in Hannah Kunkle's District Clerk's office. Ms. Crigger won the Republican Primary run-off to replace the retiring Ms. Kunkle. Since she faces no Democratic opposition, she is slated to be the next District Clerk on January 1, 2011. Her indictment casts doubt on her ability to assume that office.
The other 5 women are supervisors in the District Clerk's office. According to the Grand Jury report released today, the charges against all six county employees were brought by the Texas Rangers.
The Texas Rangers and other law enforcement personnel raided the District Clerk's office on June 3rd, seizing numerous records and computer drives. According to search warrant affidavits, it is alleged that Crigger and other supervisors were maintaining a double set of books on employees time, and then granting paid time off for various reasons, including time spent campaigning for Ms. Crigger.
So far, Hannah Kunkle has not been indicted. The Observer has heard rumors that both state and federal grand jury investigations may be underway.
Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity is a second degree felony. The Organized crime act is usually used against gangs and street gangs, not county courthouse personnel. Conviction could result in prison time from 2 to 20 years, a fine up to $10,000 and loss of many citizenship privileges.
The Collin County Observer has not heard if the six employees have been arrested or arraigned yet or when arraignment and bail hearings are scheduled.
Update July 30
This morning, District Judge Mark Rusch granted personal recognizance bonds to all six supervisors. However, he refused to waive their personal appearance for processing and gave them until Monday to surrender to the Collin County County Sheriff.
The granting of the PR bonds stopped the Texas Rangers from executing arrest warrants on these accused. There will be no 'perp walk' unless one or more fail to surrender on time.
I am noticing a trend here and it is a dangerous slope. Collin County Republicans are getting this "cowboy" image of we can do whatever we want. That is not the case. Accountability has escaped my Party and it is extremely dissapointing.
I can promise you, the future leaders of this Party believe in ethics...I would like to see some of the current leaders stand for the same...
the Republican Party. We need someone
in the District Clerks office that knows
the true definition of Integrity.
Other cities & their citizens would like the Texas Rangers to come in & clean house!
I am unable to post my comment on the website. Can you please post the following comment in under the story you posted last night about the clerk indictments.
"In my regretful ongoing involvement with the Collin county court personel I have found the employees listed to be the least criminal of all. (although still criminal)
There seem to be two explanations.
1. The agency(ies) investigating are aware that the corruption runs much deeper and they are starting from the top in order to gather as much information as possible on the bottom dwellers who will be charged last.
2. The bottom dwellers (judges, county office holders etc) are far reaching and deep enough into corruption that the 6 people listed for indictment are designated scapegoats, chosen to take the fall for all of the crime that has built up over the past 20 years. If this is the plan than Pride does come before the fall.
I pray it is the former and not the latter. Either way the wind is shaking that house of cards."
You outfoxed the Dallas Morning News
they are having a hard time keeping up with your records,
like a "day late, & a dollar short".
The Observer responds:
She is the elected nominee. The Party has no control as to if she is on the ballot or not.
As I understand it, if she withdraws from the race before September, the Republican precinct chairs could choose another candidate.
If she is convicted, the conviction is an absolute bar to taking office, the Board of District Judges would then choose her replacement in office.
I do believe there is still time for a write-in campaign to be launched. But those are very difficult to win.
Perhaps an election expert would care to elaborate more fully....
1. The investigative agency(ies) are aware that corruption runs much deeper than the clerks in the Collin County Government. In charging the lesser criminals they will hopefully accumulate more testimony and evidence to properly charge and incarcerate the Crime Boss(es).
2. The Judges, Commissioners etc who are the crime bosses are so arrogant fearless that they believe they can use the clerks as scapegoats for what they have all been doing the past 20 years. If this is the case read the bible...the pride come before the fall and your house of cards is tumbling down.
So who sits on the "Board of District
Just give us the unvarnished truth,
At issue is the systematic and ongoing misappropriation of taxpayer money and trust. I'm a Collin County taxpayer, as is everyone who lives and/or works in Collin County and I'm VERY angered. The "ladies" in question may not have been proven guilty yet, but in my mind, where there's smoke, there's fire.
To county watcher, yes....Hannah is an elected official and as such should be allowed to run her office as she sees fit, WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS of the law, and KNOWINGLY with full disclosure and in full view of the public. The Blue Book was a well-kept "secret" within the DC's office for years, and that is neither within the law nor within full view of the public.
The current witch hunt may be politically motivated, I really don’t care. I say let’s have more political motivation if it brings to light these abuses of power…..no candidate or elected official need worry if they haven’t participated in any illegal activity. Good incentive to stay on the right side of the law (and ethics, which are not one and the same), if you ask me!
I want to make a couple of points that seem germane:
1. It doesn't matter if Alma Hays, John Roach, Mother Theresa or Joseph Stalin first brought the charges against these supervisors. The fact is that the charges were investigated by an independent detective -- Texas Ranger A.P. Davidson, whose reputation is sterling. He's no pawn of either the DA nor of any political campaign.
2. While these ladies are innocent until found guilty in a court of law, the evidence that has so far been released appears to be damning enough that they should be immediately placed on a leave of absence. To have them working for the courts while under this cloud makes a mockery of our judicial system.
3. I am not alone in finding it hard to believe that Hannah Kunkle was not aware of and, in fact approved, the entire "Blue Book" system. She needs to step down immediately from day to day operations, or the Commissioners Court should take action to see that she in no way can control the operations of the District Clerk's Office. I believe she will, in the end, be indicted. When that happens, a Removal Petition should be filed, seeking her removal from office.
4. It is the integrity of our courts that is important here. Judge Rusch was correct in recusing himself. The District Attorney's office should do the same. These cases cry out for an independent prosecuter.
5. Our system of government is, in a large part, based on trust. If we lose faith in the fairness of our courts, we lose faith in ourselves as Americans. Once again I'll say that it is the integrity of our court system that is important here. Those who serve our courts must hold themselves to the absolute highest standard of honesty and fairness. Our Democracy requires no less.
Again we need integrity restored to this office.
NOTHING WILL CHANGE UNTIL THE FACES THEMSELVES ARE CHANED AS WELL AS THE AFFILIATION! Say what you will about Democrats, they CANNOT be as corrupt as this group, the DA's office, the Commissioners and the various JPs and courts. If you don't think so, just look at the records. Proof in knee-deep in the pudding.
Uh, no they didn't just "up and decide" to start breaking the law; it appears as if breaking the law was standard operating procedure in the clerk's office for a really, really long time.
Let the facts come out, and then let the investigations continue into corruption and sexual escapades of the JP's offices, and how Sheriff's dept employees cover for troublesome kinfolk. BTW Scuttlebut is Hannah's indictment will come next week.
God bless the indicted employees in the District Clerks office. Just remember the Lord walks with each of you every day. Be strong and the good in all will perservere.
Our corruption is far worse than this.
First of all, I did not support either candidate for this race - although I figured Crigger would win with all of the support from the DC's office and other elected officials, especially judges & attorneys. I honestly didn't care who won, as long as the new District Clerk would run an efficient and ethical office. Still, to this day, I don't fully understand why this is even an elected position - although I have been told that if it were appointed or hired, it would be even more corrupt, which may very well be true. The DC does not have any legislative or judicial power - so their party affiliation makes no difference to me, as long as they are competent and ethical.
My main issue with your comments (and others that I've read on this topic from your fellow Crigger supporters) is that somehow you seem to feel that these supervisors were entitled to reward their employees with illegal, back-door perks on the taxpayer's dime - simply because you think that they weren't paid enough to begin with?? Really?? You blame the Commissioners for not approving raises or paying the employees adequately... and it is obvious that you are one of those that benefited from these perks - or you are somehow otherwise very close to this situation. So, using your alternate rules as justification for additional compensation, would you also lobby for allowing the employees in the District Clerk's office to help themselves to the office supply cabinet for their own personal use? How about taking home coffee when they happened to run out of their own personal stash at home? Or use the color copier to make copies of their personal Christmas letters? All of these are examples of EMPLOYEE THEFT - and they cost us taxpayers real money!!! Your rationale of excusing the actions of Crigger and the other supervisors just because you felt like the employees weren't paid enough is deplorable! I hope you are NEVER elevated to a position of supervisor with those kind of ethics... but who knows, you may already be there... God help us all...
Maybe if you were "such a concerned citizen" you would go to bat for your county employees and see that they get just pay for all that they do for you. Most of these departments are NOT allowed to earn overtime.You don't have to be an employee to know this.Read the commsioners court notes. I can empathise with these employees and am not employed by the county. Gosh I guess you think someone has to work there to be able to think people are human? These people have made mistakes and need to be held accountable but they are not murders or child molesters.
Yet many times you have employees that are dedicated to the customer they are trying to assist and therefore stay over to complete the task. But I guess you wouldn't have a problem if they worked for free would you? Oh but yes you stated you are a CONSERVATIVE FRISCO VOTER. As in conservative does that mean you don't vote but can certainly criticize when when you did nothing to help on either side? My you are conservative. You failed to acknowledge that I believe they should be held accountable for time they abused. They should have to compensate their employers for any time wrongly used. Whether it be deducted from their paychecks or whatever form the county uses to balance their system. But just as sonmeone stated in a previous email.Many people make a personal phone call on company time or run late coming back from lunch or leave a "few" minutes early. These too are theft. What about leaving something in your car that you need to check on personally and running back out to retrieve it. That too is squandering your employers money.
You were the one that went to great lengths about theft of coffee, printer use etc. Sounds as if you are quite the accomplished employment abuser. Can you look in the mirror and say with all honesty that you have not committed any of these infractions? If you can then good for you. The world should have more people like you that give employers 100% in their alloted work time. Like I stated previously until you work in the office where the allegations have taken place no one including myself knows the entire story. And if you think people are convicted on lies then read the newspaper . There is hardly a day that goes by that someone is being released from prison for false imprisonment. So Conservative Frisco Voter think about that before you want these people terminated and sent to jail. What if it were your aunt or sister or neighbor or friend. Would you not believe in the right to a fair trial. You obviously live is a very sheltered world and are not aware of what goes on in day to day life. Good luck to you when the real world shows up someday.
Every employee at the County has an employee handbook, with HR's clearly stated policies regarding timekeeping in it. That is the employee's go to reference for what is allowed or not allowed. Beyond that, anyone with even a small bit of sense could tell that being compensated for the same time twice is wrong, it's double dipping. They took PAID time off to work on Crigger's campaign (paid once), then were badged in and out as if they were at work for an equal amount of time to compensate them for having used PTO for the campaign (paid twice). How can anyone not see the wrong in that?
• Yes, I do know that there’s scandal in many government offices – however, I’m more surprised when I see people openly try to justify or explain the behavior, as you have here on this forum.
• Why should I go to bat for the county employees if they are being paid commensurate to their job duties and in line with other counties? I trust the commissioners and the human resources department to figure all of that out – that’s part of what my taxes pay for. Besides, the employees have accepted their positions of employment with the county – and if they feel they deserve more, that’s up to them to justify it for themselves. I do know that the benefits package currently offered to county employees is very lucrative – much beyond what is available in the majority of the private sector to the rest of us (i.e. 17% match on retirement for example). These employees also were aware that they could not earn overtime when they accepted the job – so I don’t feel sorry for them at all.
• Thinking people are human is not the issue – I do realize that Ms. Crigger and the rest of those indicted are human (but not “victims” as you stated) – and I don’t see that they are being treated as anything less than human. Nobody has called them murderers or child molesters – unless it has been others who have commented on the blog.
• No, I don’t have a problem if they work for free – that’s their choice. As far as I understand, they close early for many services so they can finish their work after the customers were no longer in the office. But, I do not think the county should be obligated to pay people if they choose to stay late. All of those policies and procedures are spelled out in the county guidelines –
• As I stated, yes, I voted – and endorsed many candidates on the ballot… just not either one for District Clerk. I walked for some candidates, financially backed others, put up signs for 3 throughout our precinct, and sent out several e-mails with our personal recommendations. However, I was not passionate about this race for the reasons stated earlier.
• I’m glad that you believe they should be held accountable – but please, don’t undermine your own position by trying to justify the behavior.
• Yes, those other examples you gave are also theft of time, and no, I’m not the employment abuser – but I’ve seen it happen plenty of times and it’s wrong (but thanks anyway for trying to throw me under the bus with the others – but you failed).
• Yes, I can look in the mirror and say that I haven’t done that – can you? I hope so, and if so – good for you as well. I have the same sentiments (there should be more…)
• You’re right, we don’t know the entire story, but apparently there was enough evidence for indictment – which is where my problem is… I haven’t commented or spoken of this until now – because I was hoping it wasn’t as bad as was reported… Sadly, it was.
• Yes, people are convicted on lies all the time – however, in this case, the practice is well documented and information came from multiple sources. Yes, I believe in the right to a fair trial – and if the evidence is false, then their defense attorneys have a lot of work to do. However, I do expect that the attorneys will spend most of their time trying to get the evidence deemed as inadmissible in court – not coming up with new evidence to support their innocence. But, we will see – and if they are innocent – there should be an investigation into how the evidence was strong enough in the first place to indict.
• No, I’m not living in a sheltered world at all – and I do realize that this happens frequently. I just wish it was discovered and investigated more often as well.
I don't know what any of them were paid, but I KNOW FOR A FACT that at least one of them averaged several vacations a year, to Paris, Cancun, New York, ect...and it wasn't on the husbands dime because there wasn't a husband. This same employee has recently invested in new vehicles and expensive toys...a 12,000 dollar fully loaded four wheeler for example. looked like to me the county must have been compensating pretty well. And it certainly seems as if there was plenty of time off for vacations.
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