HENDERSON COUNTY — The small town of Coffee City should be a tourist draw. A city. With coffee in its name? Hmmm. It’s pretty corrupt, according to the Concerned Citizens of Coffee City (link here: http://concernedcitizenscoffeecity.com/coffeecity/):
Rule of thumb: never set foot in Cherokee County.It was corrupt 30 years ago; it is corrupt now.
Cherokee County systematically goes after those who file complaints and lawsuits against them. County newspapers fearing reprisal don’t mention the railroading of innocent people, nor the colossal cost to the taxpayer when the district courts play out their political vendettas. Locals associated with the courthouse agenda openly publicize their businesses in these small town rags, minus legally required occupational licenses. Homegrown fake real estate brokers, insurance agents and therapists openly advertise themselves on the Internet and in local papers without the fear of prosecution.
Scrutiny is deftly shunted from those in judges’ and prosecutors’ inner circle caught falsely advertising and accepting illegal sales commissions. By detouring their embedded reporters down rabbit trails, they turn readers’ and their constituents’ attention elsewhere. Last week, Austin AM Radio talk show host Randall Kelton was convicted of operating an “investigation company” without a license, while at the same time Cherokee County uses relatives of law enforcement as taxpayer paid confidential informants. Conflicts of interest by community leaders are ignored for decades. For example, no one in the county would expect the Cherokee County Republican Party chairman — ousted from his Adult Protective Services position for renting his properties to patients – to have a license to run assisted living quarters. (Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress, April 16, 2011 “GOP confirms calls for Looney’s resignation”) Anywhere west of the Neches River, this in-your-face corruption would be seen as a black eye on the community. Not in Cherokee County; they know there are no repercussions whatsoever for this level of criminality.
Outsiders beware: you may answer to a Cherokee County grand jury as a smokescreen, just for passing through the county.
The Cherokee County grand jury serves a two-fold purpose when used for political maneuvering. The number one way is to go after personal enemies who openly talk negatively about the current status quo. Secondly, District Attorney Elmer Beckworth and County Attorney Craig Caldwell also call a handpicked grand jury to publicly exonerate those accused of corruption. As recently as 2 years ago, Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace James Morris filed a complaint against the commissioners’ court with the Texas Attorney General, which resulted in a quick No-Bill by the Cherokee County grand jury. (Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress, August 13, 2009 “Commissioners’ grand jury case is no-billed”) Afterwards, JP Morris alleged a “cover up” to Tyler’s Channel 19. (Source: CBS 19 “Commissioners No Billed, Judge Alleges Cover-Up“)
Precinct 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti was summoned to a grand jury for no better reason than paving a mislabeled road, while her counterparts and predecessors have been maintaining private properties for decades with complete impunity. The most blatant attempts at convincing the locals that private property improvements by Cherokee County commissioners were legal was the attempt back in 1978 to have it “voted on” by “constitutional amendment” within the county. However statewide, Prop. 7 as it was called back then, only allowed for counties fewer than 5,000 people. That didn’t stop the City of Rusk, TX from building the private golf course for the Birmingham Golf Club represented by then County Attorney Charles Holcomb, and Jon Kelsey owner of the New Southern Motor Hotel. As president of the golf club, Charles Holcomb simultaneously pushed for increases in his public salary as County Attorney, while simultaneously acquiring the rights to the newly renovated private golf course.