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Taylor's Missing $ Millions Crime Problem

Taylor TX., April 29, 2016 -   How do you protect your political associates if you are in political office?  Well, if those associates have committed a crime, you can keep quiet and do little or nothing, and that will help. 

Intended or not, Taylor’s Mayor Jessie Ancira gave me that clear view of corruption “in progress” during an interview on April 28, 2016.  This involves a crime that, according to sworn civil court documents, swindled more than $2 million in real estate and millions more in continuing rent profits out of the Taylor Housing Authority (THA).   

 

 

The current and past Taylor Mayors have major responsibility in the missing $ millions matter because THA is a political subdivision of the City of Taylor.  Texas law gives city mayors the authority to appoint and remove the housing authority board commissioners.  (Sec 392.031, Subchapter C, Texas Local Government Code.) 

That means the Taylor Mayor absolutely controls the housing authority and has the sole responsibility for what the THA board and management does, or fails to do.  

Why are the past and present mayors responsible?  Because, if the Mayor sees the need to change a housing board decision, or the board’s failure to act, the Taylor Mayor, can take the initiative and change that board.  No city council vote or anything else is required, the Taylor Mayor can do it with a pen as fast as he can write his signature. 

For example, if the housing authority director and board refused to report a crime to law enforcement, the Mayor could remove the commissioners and replace them with commissioners who would make the director file a formal detailed criminal complaint with the appropriate authorities. 

Or, if the Mayor wants to ignore the crime, and protect associates, he could simply do nothing that would require anyone report the crime and the thereby avoid the possibility of a criminal investigation.

 

 

But, more than likely, a mayor cannot ignore a multi-million dollar crime if the public knows about it.  Being swindled out of $2 million in assets and many more millions in annual cash flow in a town with an average annual income under $30,000 will create hard feelings and demands for accountability. 

So, it would be better for the criminal suspects if there was no mention of the crime in any publications or announcements.   And, that is what happened. 

From 2008 until 2014, there was no public announcement about the housing authority missing $2 million from any Taylor Mayor, THA, or the city administration.  The illegally transferred property and cash flow matter was kept quiet.  That took focused “do nothing” teamwork.

No crime reporting, no publicity, just keep quiet and don’t rock the boat.  That allowed the rent money to continue flowing to the associates’ control while the criminal statute of limitations expire.  Over $2 million was stolen from a government unit of Taylor, Texas in 2008, and nobody was doing anything about it.  How fortunate can the political associates be?

It almost worked, years began passing.  Then, somebody made an anonymous tip to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Inspector General and suddenly there needed to be some accountability.  The HUD Inspector General report charged the city with the responsibility for cleaning up the mess involving $ millions and to get control of the stolen assets. 

What could a politician do about the scathing HUD report that gave probable cause to suspect felony crimes were committed?  Especially, if political associates are involved?  A criminal investigation could get very complex with people pointing all around, trying to cover, make deals, and protect themselves.

It would be better to avoid the criminal investigation and jump straight to a civil complaint?  If anyone asks, that civil complaint would make it look like something is being done.  Do something minimal, but legal.  Like a civil lawsuit that meets the HUD requirement of getting the property and cash flow back while ignoring the crimes. 

Sure, the associates would have to deal with a civil suit.  But, a civil suit is better than a detailed criminal investigation that tracks where the money is going.  Then, there can be counter arguments that the property was managed and maintained which required labor and management for all those years.  Those would be civil, not criminal, arguments that THA wasn’t all that harmed. 

The money, already taken by the culprits, could be deemed to cover those expenses they incurred to maintain and operate the illegally transferred property.  The criminal acts would fall by the wayside.

If you are in a county, like Williamson, where the good old boy system works, the civil lawsuit approach can be managed.   Maybe some token legal and payback costs, nothing like what was taken, and the property goes back to the housing authority and everybody goes home. 

With the civil suit strategy avoiding a criminal investigation, no associate goes to jail for any crime.  Not for filing fraudulent documents, not for years and years of illegal cash flow, not for the financial cost that had to be paid to replace the cash flow.  Not for the cost to citizens.  Not for betraying citizen's trust and ignoring our principles of justice.

 

 

Then, the mayor can make a public announcement that the civil suit has settled everything, the culprits have been dealt with as much as the law allows and citizens will never have to worry again.

It all says crime and corruption does pay if you know the right people.  It says there are two sets of rules, one for the insiders and good old boys and one for the common citizen.   The common citizen who is so busy working, managing a family, and making ends meet, that they don’t have time to become informed.  It is corruption that benefits the privileged, and it is all about money. 

The THA debacle began in 2008, when the money flow changed.  How high does it go?  We won’t really know until the Taylor City Council makes our law enforcement system accountable with a demand for a full criminal investigation. 

The only constant player involved from 2008 until today is the THA attorney, who is also the Taylor City attorney.  While the THA board and City Attorney should have been aware the money flow changed in 2008, no legal action was filed until after the HUD report became public in 2014.  The “no criminal action” legal counsel let the criminal statute of limitations clock run, for years.  And, it seems like that was very deliberate.  

Taylor City Council can formally file a written complaint, request an external law enforcement entity examine the probable cause evidence and investigate all aspects to determine what, if any, crimes were committed.   But, I would not trust any Williamson County conducted investigation. 

 

 

Taylor City Council should make a written request to a quality external law enforcement agency for criminal investigation.  If they refuse, then the Taylor City Council should request that response in writing from the refusing agency and make it public.  Citizens should know why they cannot get fair and honest law enforcement. 

If a criminal investigation is conducted, the completed investigation report should be made available to the public so citizens can make their own decisions about the quality of the investigation and the ability of our politicians to deliver justice. 

We have seen so much injustice and corruption in Williamson County and Taylor that it is now difficult to trust any government official, judge, or law enforcement agency.   We desperately need those hard to find men and women politicians who will stand up for the principles they swear to uphold and the citizens they claim to serve.

Please, get informed and demand your city council member and candidates talk about the THA problem.  And, make sure you vote.

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"Corruption in our courts and government will not be stopped by those at the top, they benefit too much.  It can only be stopped from the bottom, by each voter becoming informed and holding city and county elected officials responsible."

Tom Mowdy

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                   by Tom Mowdy
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