The place to be on Friday afternoon was the 151st District Court. Dave Wilson, the recently elected Houston Community College board member, was under fire and the threat of removal because, according to Vince Ryan, he “may not reside” where he says he does. This is the third challenge to Dave’s residency and more challenges are expected from County Attorney Vince Ryan.
The bold truth is that Vince Ryan is trying to overturn an election. The election process is just that, a process. A candidate submits an application to be on the ballot and, following an eligibility determination, the candidate is placed on the ballot. The election occurs and the candidate either wins or loses. The fact remains that Vince thinks it is okay to overturn the will of the voters. Remember that this did not turn out well when Annise Parker tried to overturn the red light camera election. I expect a similar fate for County Attorney Ryan.
Vince Ryan claims to have credible information that Dave does not really “reside” at his residence. This action seems to be carefully choreographed between the City of Houston (think $350,000 a year City Attorney David Feldman) and Vince’s henchmen, passing information between each other concerning Dave’s residential occupancy permit, photos, filings, along with other information. The stakes are high and the HCC board has been a hotbed of impropriety for years: building facilities in Qatar, board members steering contracts, self-dealing – you name it, they’ve been accused of it.
On Friday, Judge Engelhart, presiding judge of the 151st District Court and a democrat, seemed well briefed by the County Attorney’s office. He seemingly had reviewed some of the County’s points – there were only a few. The Judge asked the attorney’s to brief their issues and he would get back with them in ten days to set a trial schedule. There was an interesting discussion on the viability of injunctive relief. The proceeding does not allow for injunctive relief; so, injunctions and restraining orders are not a legitimate remedy. The Texas Election Code assumes someone is elected until a formal proceeding can be held.
The problem for the County is that the rules of a quo warranto proceeding are very specific. The case law is entirely on Dave’s side. Dave has been duly elected, and according to his attorney, Keith Gross, Dave does not even have to receive the oath in order to be seated as an HCC board member. Unfortunately for Wilson’s foes, the bar to remove an elected official is very high. Just ask former Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole.
Folks are very nervous, which explains the high level of legal activity. Think about all of the vendor contracts stacked up from the recent bond sale. Dave will certainly investigate all of the connections and sniff out any impropriety.
The office of Vince Ryan, a Democrat, will soon be flooded with a number of requests for residency investigations. Let’s take Jessica Farrar. Her husband has a law practice in Austin. Does Jessica Farrar not sleep with her husband in Austin? Or Jack Christie – he lists his chiropractic office as his residence while really living in Bunker Hill. I have received information and evidence that a lot of people don’t truly live where they say they live? Does anyone who lacks a four-slice toaster not qualify? I hope you see where I am going with this. The County Attorney has kicked over a can of worms that is going to wreak havoc with many elected officials and especially the County Attorney.
This story is not over. Judge Engelhart insinuated that he did not believe injunctive relief was applicable in this situation. He asked both sides to prepare briefs on the case, submit them to the court, and he would make a decision regarding the applicability of injunctive relief. Instead, Vince Ryan decided to file a new temporary restraining order. The original restraining order expires today, if it was ever valid. So, now, an ancillary judge will hear the county’s new application for a restraining order. Temporary restraining orders are heard by the assigned ancillary judge, a rotating position. The quo warranto case is filed in the 151st District Court with Judge Engelhart. Certainly Vince Ryan isn’t forum shopping, right?
The newly filed temporary restraining order is scheduled to be heard in the 270th District Court by Judge Brent Gamble at 10:30 this morning.
This week, Dave will attend the board meeting and take his seat on the board. He may even lobby the board to make him chairman. I think that he would make a good one.
Dan O'Hara says
What’s driving Vince Ryan? Why is he be spending public money fighting Dave Wilson? Why is Vince Ryan tying up the courts? In an interview it was said “it was brought to my attention”. By who? There is a great old Dylan song, “Gotta Serve Somebody”
Dave Wilson worked hard to elect Herlinda Garcia and Yolanda Navarro Flores, the two most corrupt members of the board. Thankfully, voters rejected them, but his actions prove Dave Wilson has no interest in removing corruption. He would keep corrupt incumbents if they would vote his way. The idea that Dave Wilson is a savior to the corruption of the board is dishonesty hackery, and Big Jolly should be ashamed to have it published on this site.
I’m sure you have documented evidence to back up your assertions. . . . . .
“Big Jolly should be ashamed to have it published on this site.” I don’t know, dude. . . he lets YOU post stuff here!
John Q says
I think that we’ve now discovered who made the complaint.
This article was about people over turning elections. I do not know either of the people you are speaking about. I did attend a forum at the Westin Galleria where Ms. Flores spoke out against the corruption at HCC and the lack of need for a construction bond authorization because of HCC’s declining enrollment and empty class rooms.
The author of this article is Don Hooper, which is me.
If you don’t know anything about Yolanda Navarro Flores, how qualified are you to speak about the goings-on at HCC?
Dan O'Hara says
What actually happened in court today? What happened to Judge Gamble? Is Dave Wilson on the board or not? In Texas, is “swearing in” only a formality? There should be complete clarification prior to Thursday’s HCC Trustee’s meeting to prevent misunderstandings.
I was not in court today and had to leave before the preceding started. However, the ancillary Judge was to be Brent Gamble. My guess is that the County attorney assumed that a Republican was not going to play along and asked Engelhart to rule. The County Attorney was trying to expand the TRO and Engelhart to his credit would not allow it. He did however extend the original TRO preventing Dave Wilson from being sworn in. I am not sure anything was accomplished because Dave has already been sworn in. I suspect the County Attorney will wait and see who the new ancillary Judge is on the 15th. I have a feeling a lot of Judges are not wanting any part of this. This is all an informed guess. I invite anyone that was present to comment. I have spoke to two people who were inside the court room.
My apologies, when the hearing time was moved I could not break a prior commitment.
I was there at this morning’s lame attempt to not only extend, but expand the Restraining Order. The Judge told the County that if they wanted to stop Dave Wilson from acting as a duly elected Trustee, to go up to the Ancillary (Republican) Judge and convince him. Obviously the County Attorney did not want to do that.
Also, Wilson’s attorney put 40 exhibits of “proof of residency” into the record, and will be filing an appeal this evening. If the appeals court reverses the Judge, all the money and resources Vince Ryan squandered to harass Wilson, who is trying to root out corruption and cronyism, could have been better spent going after, say, Trevino.
Video clip has not been updated, still the 11 AM clip
It looks like there is a pause in the hostilities.
Don Hooper says
Well that did not last long. Vince Ryan is taking Dave before another ancillary Judge tomorrow. This time they are including HCC in the preceding itself.
Dan O'Hara says
Really really disappointing. Thank you for keeping people informed.