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  1. Lucas and Hankins attempted a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) to keep Harper from attending meeting Andy Lucas, Somervell County attorney, operating as the State of Texas, attempted to prevent Harper from attending the a meeting with an Application for a Restraining Order. Ron Hankins, one of the other Somervell County Hospital District members, supplied an affidavit. The judge denied that application. On 3/11/2015 the judge signed the order denying Paul’s anti‐slapp motion to dismiss.Note that Paul could not have put in an appeal regarding the anti‐slapp dismissal until after the judge signed the original order. Why did Andrew Lucas, with the help of Ron Hankins, want to prevent Paul from attending a meeting? Because Chip Harrison, the president of the Somervell County Hospital District, had put an agenda item on that meeting re: “The administrator/chief executive officer’s employment, evaluation, reassignment, duties, discipline or dismissal; complaints or charges against the administrator/chief executive officer”. Both seemed to want to look into the future via a crystal ball and stop any proceedings of a 7 member board. The administrator, according to the Hospital District bylaws, is supposed to be evaluated every year by the board and Ray Reynolds had not (and has not as of this writing of January 4, 2018, been evaluated ever. Ray Reynolds also was an at‐will employee. Following is part of the court reporter’s transcription of the callBestvsHarper-TRO.pdf Ron Hankins also involved himself in this case and put in an affidavit on why Paul Harper should be restrained from attending the meeting. 101 He said, in part As I mentioned earlier, I question why Ron Hankins felt it necessary to become part of this lawsuit action by submitting an affidavit. But of course, I didn't know until 2019 that Hankins was intimately involved, since he wrote the initial petition for removal, while hiding that fact publicly. And why, since he is admitting HE is the one that wrote the petition for removal, didn't he file the petition himself. Darrell Best Commandeered the Meetings During Breaks I did not attend most meetings but instead got my informed citizenry information by watching video or listening to audio or speaking to others who did attend hospital board meetings. Apparently on several different occasions, Darrell Best stood up in front of the assembled attendees and spoke disparagingly about the elected officials. And he did it during breaks in which, for example, the board members went into executive sessions and thus turned off the camera. No political opportunity was apparently too small to try to milk. At the meeting from January 20, 2015, someone called to tell me that Best had trashed Chip Harrison, the board president by quoting something Harrison had said in an interview with the newspaper. He also used the time to speak against other board members and politick for others. It isn''''t that anyone waiting patiently during a break in proceedings needs to be absolutely quiet or can''''t carry on conversations with their neighbors, it''''s that, by going to front and speaking to all, he was using a public government board meeting for his own purposes. For just one second, imagine that someone whose opinion you did not respect and whose political views you did not share, decided to commandeer the microphone at a meeting where every one was seated during an executive session- might you feel a little resentful that you were being USED by such a person for his own ends?For me, when I attend meetings, I am going to see the people I voted for or are elected in action, not kibbitzers from the audience who believe they have a selfish right to preach to a captive audience who must LEAVE THE ROOM to escape. Boorish! I wondered at the time why the hospital board didn''''t pass a decorum policy for the people in the audience who attend. Stuff like be QUIET during meetings, no cheering, stomping your feet, whistling, clapping or jumping up in front of the room to grab the mike. It''''s really not fair to people who attend who don''''t want the ugly spectacle of being involved watching a partisan politicking adventurer who has no respect not to drag trashing elected officials into what ought to be a neutral situation. If Mr Best actually wanted to run for office, perhaps a spot on the hospital board, why didn''''t he go grab a room for himself on a different occasion, pay for his own electronic equipment and invite people or is he afraid if he doesn''''t have a captive audience, no one might show up? Also, although the board was meeting in an adjacent room off the main room at the Citizens Center, good manners would dictate not working up the crowd into an unruly cheering, clapping mob where those sounds could be disruptive to the deliberative process going on in the other room. Of course, as he had already shown at the meeting, from Jan 22 2015, he had no problem whipping up a crowd on false pretenses. Hard to take someone seriously as a pillar of "Hometown boys" society when he orchestrated and encouraged the type of unprofessional and disrespectful behaviour towards board members, from the crowd in attendance, including his own family. The microphones are supposed to be turned off while board members are in executive session. Because they neglected to do that at a meeting in March 2015, Darrell Best saw a perfect opportunity to grab the live microphone and trash the elected officials in front of the room. Again. If a circus ever comes to town and needs a barker, it won''''t have far to look to fill the job.If Best truly wanted to use the assembled citizens at a posted public hearing for his own agenda, he should have taken it outside or left the room so that anyone that didn''''t want to hear his baloney wasn''''t a sitting duck that would themselves be forced to leave the room not to hear him. After all, it was a public meeting, not comprised exclusively of partisans of one man''''s ideology. I''''m sure not every single person was there to enjoy and marvel at Best''''s rants. Plus, tht part of the meeting is not recorded, as public comments properly done that EVERYONE IN SOMERVELL COUNTY could know about and enjoy ON THE RECORD. It''''s his own little sideshow. Let''''s carry this out to a hilarious example. Suppose that EVERY political opportunist that wanted to commandeer the room did it during executive session. Why, they''''d probably have to challenge Best for use of the mike. We could have a WINNER GETS THE MIKE moment and make up signs advertising "Wrestling during executive sessions" and pass the hat! Who does fire eating and snake charming? Is that fortune teller still living in Glen Rose? It could be a very entertaining way to pass the time waiting for those DANG serious elected officials to finish their business. Continuing with Best’s silly tradition of shamelessly using the people who attend a government meeting as captive listeners to whom he could convey his own political opinions, he did it again in April 2015 Because the executive session required clearing the room, everyone in attendance went outside the citizens center to the parking lot. (The good news about that is that, unlike having to LEAVE the room when he''''s pulled this stunt before, anyone could make sure to walk freely away from him in the parking lot.. I was not at the meeting but was told this by someone who was outside and amused by his behaviour and comments. After patting himself on the back a while, Best told people to vote for "Our Hometown Boys". He did NOT mention Jimmy Thompson, who has lived in Somervell County all his life, but only Ron Hankins and Brett Nabors. What I find hilarious is that Darrell Best is not himself a *hometown boy* but someone who came here a relatively short time ago, but what''''s a little hyperbole and exaggeration among willingly gullible pals? Ron Hankins voted against Indemnifying Harper The Somervell County Hospital District was supposed to come up with the $25,000 that insurance wouldn''''t cover for the lawsuit, ie, an indemnification process. Note that Ron Hankins should have recused himself from voting, as Harper did. Why? Because Hankins was actually the one that had created the petition to remove Harper in the first place, even while keeping it quiet that he had done so. Imagine how dishonest it is to be involved with this type of clear conflict of interest while purposely hiding his involvement in the lawsuit while voting to ensure that the lawsuit would not protect elected officials. Do listen to hear what Chip Harrison, who was then board president, said. What were some other hospital board meetings like? A Zoo. Impressions of the Somervell County Hospital Board Meeting of May 28 2014 Disclaimer that the following is MY opinion alone and doesn''''t represent anyone else but me. Saw that the hospital board has put video that they recorded up on Youtube. I didn''''t attend the meeting so am really glad that they are doing this.(Side note that I recorded one video of a previous meeting as a private citizen standing in the foyer; didn''''t process it or post it because I was so disgusted with the boorish behaviour of the audience, but I may make some selected clips to clear up bullchit gossip). Have heard via the gossip chain that some people who apparently didn''''t attend the previous meeting and didn''''t listen to the audio, think that the meeting the week before was halted because it was illegal. Anyone that was there knows that isn''''t the case, that the meeting was adjourned because Dr Justus Peters threatened a lawsuit because he said the school board meeting room was not in compliance with ADA standards. (Note that he certainly didn''''t bring this up BEFORE the meeting, where a modicum of courtesy might have led him to call ahead to make sure he could be accommodated rather than bringing it up and threatening to sue. Also heard today from someone that works at the hospital that she believed Peters talked about a lawsuit AFTER Chip Harrison spoke to him. Not so. Previous meeting chop Yes, Ron Hankins did bring up something about the meeting not being a legal meeting and some things he thought were not legal on the agenda (but that isn''''t why the meeting was adjourned) . But let''''s look at this. The bylaws for the hospital board say that the people who are elected to the board are to be GIVEN a copy of the bylaws and a certain number of months of minutes. Did ANYONE at that first meeting when everyone was sworn in bring that up, INCLUDING Ron Hankins, who presumably would have known, first, that the meeting they voted on might be illegal AND known there were even bylaws to begin with? Nope. In fact, that meeting itself was possibly illegal according to the bylaws. I don''''t recall after watching the video that Ron Hankins raised his hand to tell everyone "HEY THIS IS NOT RIGHT" in that meeting. Look for yourself via the video below. Should people who are supposed to get copies of bylaws be faulted for not even KNOWING they should be given copies because it says IN THE BYLAWS that they should? (You do understand, right, that if you don''''t know something exists that presumably the departing board should have supplied or arranged, how are you supposed to know what it says?) From the bylaws Even then, did Ron Hankins have ANY obligation to, uh, get on the phone and bring this up to board members BEFORE the meeting instead of showboating and looking like he''''s trying to sink the board as a spoiler? Anyone can do a cheap shot parlaying off the ignorance of other people but in my book you don''''t get a right to complain if you do squat to try to rectify the situation FIRST. (Go look at this video starting from about 9:20 in‐do you see Ron Hankins saying anything?)124 Also heard that some people wrongly think that Wayne Rotan said the meeting wasn''''t legal. Hah! Again, these must be uniformed people who have spent zero time actually checking out what Mr Rotan said. Instead of people whispering bullchit, maybe they should CALL and TALK to the person who was arranging that room and FIND OUT what happened, or go listen to the audio of the meeting. All else is baloney. And what about the temporary board that couldn''''t WAIT to get out of there and didn''''t even spend one iota of effort to OPEN the envelope with the certified results before voting that the election was valid (thus, incidentally, putting a rest to all the whiners who want to kibbitz about whether the election results were valid or not)? Former Judge Walter Maynard called them out and said that he''''d never been in a situation where the board didn''''t at least OPEN the envelope. (Nor have I, and I"ve been to board meetings of the county where the commissioners sure did do due diligence). The board basically said that they had no idea what they were looking at anyway, why they would want to look like a bunch of do‐nothing ignoramuses I don''''t understand, instead of at least PRETENDING to follow a legal process. And if THEY followed the bylaws and knew that the bylaws were to be given to the new board, etc, then why the fool didn''''t THEY make sure to do it? Pfffffftttttt. That brings up a second point. Why the FOOL didn''''t the Somervell County Hospital Board vote to start getting an attorney, at least start the process of figuring going out looking, even if it required a board vote after? That was on the agenda Tell you what, if I was on the board and somebody like Dr Peters threatened a lawsuit, the first shot out of the box the very next day would have been to get an attorney that the new board likes (and guess what, a new board has the right to get an attorney they all agree upon and discard previous ones) and I would not have wasted any time doing it. After listening to the board audio, I agree that it should be something the board votes on, but the process to get a new attorney or at least start having *conversations* about it could have started. I could well understand that some on the board might not like the current attorney, Kevin Reed and his associates, but why in the world is there any delay? The people that at least some of us specifically voted for said they were going to do an RFP as soon as possible to find out about getting rid of the debt and leasing the hospital out to a private entity, in the same way that Hood County has made a deal with Lake Granbury. But there isn''''t any way that anyone of those board members should be working on an RFP without an attorney working with them. Were I more cynical, I might wonder what the fool happened to the people who were so eager and WERE VOTED FOR ON THE BASIS OF GETTING RID OF THE TAX, and ask if they are slow‐rolling the process. There is a deadline, according to Wes Rollins, who came in and did a presentation on the tax, in a few months at which point the tax rate is going to have to be voted on and decided and every single person in THIS county (doesn''''t include the moochers in Hood at Pecan Plantation) will be paying taxes. But there is time NOW if these board members will get off the you‐know‐what and do the job we VOTED THEM IN FOR and get the dang attorney and RFPs for this to possibly be resolved BEFORE tax season. So why aren''''t they? I understand that a lot of people did NOT vote for some of them, but enough people who DID want the tax gone DID vote for them, so I certainly hope they aren''''t thinking about pandering to the people who probably never would have voted for them anyway (and apparently believe by being cowardly ruffians at a meeting they can actively disrespect lawfully elected board members) . Somebody apparently brought up Pecan Plantation again AS IF it''''s some kind of public clinic that Somervell County residents can just walk in and use. Guess what. They CAN''''T. Take a step back‐what do you think the purpose of a hospital district is, anyway? Is it for the benefit of SOME OTHER COUNTY THAT PAYS ZIP IN TAXES or is it for the people who pay taxes IN THAT county, to help out people in THAT county, and for those who may be indigent. Not to help out by having a clinic that you can only get to by being approved to get through a gate, is NOT a walk in clinic according to the practice manager, and only because you have an appointment with a specific doctor. According to the practice manager, Dr Bruce Carpenter is not taking any new patients. Dr Justus Peters told me that Carpenter ONLY has patients from Pecan Plantation, was Dr Peters mistaken? Even if Dr Peters takes Somervell County residents, you cannot just to go the clinic unless you are approved to go through the gate first and you have an appointment. Think you could go up there and say "None of your business what my name is" and get through the gate? If you can, then the security for the Golf‐Lovin'''' Pecan Plantation Folks isn''''t worth much, is it? People that already work for the hospital and are probably KNOWN as such don''''t count, nor anyone that has an appointment or has had a call made to the clinic to okay them coming in‐ I would imagine if someone is known to be affiliated with the hospital or the board that they might just get waved on through and further believe there''''s probably a daily list that has the people who are allowed to come in. And that''''s not even the issue. I don''''t even get why ANYONE thinks it''''s appropriate to spend tax dollars in some other hospital district. If people really want a clinic in another district, then why aren''''t they pushing for what Gary Marks had before? A PRIVATE HOSPITAL run by their own money and not by taxes. I wonder about the ethics of people who think this type of thing is okay. Finally, and I only watched a bit of the video from this last meeting but when I get time I intend to say more. I heard that apparently the boors that don''''t know how to behave in a Texas Open Meeting were back‐must have arrived in their clown cars because they STILL didn''''t know how to behave, at least for some parts of the meeting. I thought the beginning of what I saw was pretty good. Looks like Chip who runs the meeting was following Roberts Rules of Order and the crowd at that point was orderly. Why, the board apparently arranged for the sheriff''''s department to be there based on the ill‐behaved raucous crowd that showed up the week before. Also appears that they got microphones, speakers and arrangements for Dr Peters so that he could properly hear, which is entirely appropriate. Will probably update this with an audio or video clip after I watch it IF it turns out that these people still had no respect and self‐control; they sure didn''''t last week. That includes Mr Best, who I can clearly hear yelling out from the crowd as I''''m listening, wish he had been escorted out by the deputy. Makes me especially glad he was not elected as judge, and I highly doubt that the disruptive tactics he''''s pulling in these meetings would fly if it had been HIS meeting‐he also cannot claim ignorance of TOMA since he was on the economic development board‐you know, the one that voted to loan 80 thousand dollars to Land of the Dinosaurs and also decided to give money to the Chamber of Commerce that he also was head of at the time. More on poor Mr Best''''s ill‐fated investments. Even during public comments, this audience thought they were at a game show and decided to clap it up‐no decorum for them, nor respect for others even where they don''''t agree. Would they have booed and hissed at another public commenter that didn''''t share their opinions and would anyone who saw that behaviour have been deterred from speaking out? I"m also not sure why one man was not stopped after 2 minutes while the other 2 public commenters were, should have been consistency and fairness. Also, Michael Honea wanted to make what he called a *personal comment* from the audience and instead of being told to wait for the public comment section OR AT LEAST STEP UP TO THE MICROPHONE, he just up and said some rambling thing about religion. At the end of what he said, I heard Eugene Brode say "I couldn''''t hear what he said". Right. He shouldn''''t been allowed to speak out of turn and when he did, he should have been treated like everyone else and been made to speak in the microphone. Overall, I really like how the board discussed items, thought everybody did a pretty great job despite the disrupters. I believe open meetings should be conducted in the public eye, and even where people don''''t agree, the more people talk about it the better. I refer to the elected people, not the rude kibbitzers in the audience. The Zoo at the Somervell County Hospital District Board Meetings The following, including video, is from a meeting on September 13, 2014. Chip Harrison, board president, didn’t control the meetings and require both the board and the audience to be professional, to be quiet or leave the room if they couldn’t seem to exercise some self-control. Nothing wrong with heated and spirited conversations at the board level, but this is ridiculous. Audience seemed to think they were in a game show with signs to clap, cheer, whistle, call out, etc if something came up from anyone that they didn’t agree with. At least one of the spouses of a board member also exhibited that poor conduct. Ron Hankins badgered Paul Harper and insinuated that Harper was hiding something or doing something wrong. Ron Hankins also seemed to be egging on the audience, and, in one instance, taking instruction from the audience, and again, even if Hankins choose to act like a game show host rather than a mannerly board member, Mr Harrison did nothing to maintain order and at least a modicum of respect for ALL elected representatives. I highly doubt that they would have acted this way in ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT MEETING and this, again, showed a lack of respect for ALL in attendance. Would it have been okay if the audience had largely been those who actually do believe contracts should be followed and had shouted, whistled, clapped, called out? No. There''''s a presumption at government meetings that government meetings should be orderly, that they are open meetings rather than *public meetings* and that those who cannot control themselves and are disruptive are asked to be quiet or leave the room. Chip Harrison, for some reason I cannot fathom, could not bring himself to actually control the room. You can see all this by watching the video Allen Sumners got in Paul Harper''''s face after one meeting ended and had to be pulled away by his friend Darrell Best I can''''t make exactly what was said but this is part of it "Paul, you sure do think ..... Coward." Paul responds with "anything else?" to what looks like Sumners hand clenched into a fist. Even after Best starts to pull him off, Sumners moved in again. I guess Sumners can''''t control himself very well, or maybe he is starting to take advice from Ron Hankins who said at a previous meeting that he’d like to punch people in the mouth Hankins filed a complaint against a Letter to the Editor writer After Ron Hankins misguided opinion that an elected official who actually ran on a particular agenda that tried to implement that agenda, should "expect to be sued", I wrote a letter to the editor of the Glen Rose Report criticizing Hankins. The letter is no longer on the Glen Rose Reporter website; here is a snap of it. A week later, on 6/20/2015, someone else, an Annie McGee, wrote a letter to the editor about the same issue. Of course, Hankins real point seems to not be whether one runs on an agenda, but whether one will stop trying to get an agenda done once elected, based on whether the newbie agrees with Hankin's opinion, and I say OPINION, on how government should be run. Ron Hankins decided to issue a complaint to the sheriff's department about the second letter writer. Get the Police Involved for a Letter to the Editor! On a Thursday afternoon in June 2015, a friend called me up about 4 in the afternoon. She said, "You''''re not going to believe what just happened to me". She said a sheriff''''s car had come up her driveway as she was preparing to go on an errand and a deputy got out and approached. He told her he was investigating a complaint by Ron Hankins about a letter that had been written the previous week to the editor of the Glen Rose Reporter, some kind of false identity thing. (Ron Hankins was Somervell County Attorney for a number of years and is now an elected official on the Somervell County Hospital Board).Further, the deputy had been by the Glen Rose Reporter first and at some point got the real name of the pen name writer and went to her house. My friend had written the letter under a pen name, Annie McGee, with the full permission and knowledge of who she actually was of then editor Colleen Horning. She explained this to the deputy and he asked if he could have a copy of the email between she and Colleen Horning and she supplied it. The letter is not threatening, etc and was not written under Ron Hankins name, ie, the letter writer was NOT impersonating HIM. See if you agree with me that what she wrote was only objectionable to someone who believes himself to be above criticism and highly thin-skinned. Then she was shaking, sitting there in her car. She couldn't imagine any circumstance in which writing a letter to the editor voicing an opinion should subject her to a police investigation. She had not asked to see the original complaint and I also wondered, what the fool, so when we got off the phone, I drove down to the Somervell County Sheriff's office to put in an open records request for Ron Hankin's complaint. What and WHY had he used the police to bully and harass someone like this? The writer also put in an open records request. Got back the request the next Wednesday (ANY CITIZEN CAN ASK FOR A PUBLIC RECORD). This is only the offense summary page and not the complaint itself because for some mind-boggling reason, at that point I was told I couldn't get a copy of the complaint because the investigation is still open. What? WHY? Once the writer supplied the evidence, which is ridiculous that she had to do in the first place, shouldn't this have been IMMEDIATELY closed as a frivolous complaint?? Could it be at all possible that the complaint will be held open for a very long time in order to try to bury it from public view since it's ridiculous? Same thing happened to her, she also asked for her file and was also not given the full complaint. Note the charge ONLINE IMPERSONATION. So, someone writing a letter under a pen name, NOT RON HANKINS NAME, is not impersonating him, right? It''s also in the printed paper, so it''''s not online either. But even if you consider that GR Reporter puts its news online, that''''s still surely not a crime. I had been told by one of the Somervell County Sheriff''''s Department law enforcement officers that the way complaints are taken seriously and investigated are when Andy Lucas, county attorney, gives his okay. So, Poor Poor Ron Hankins apparently didn't like it that someone objected and voiced an opinion in the newspaper about what he clearly said at a public government meeting. Don''t forget I had written a letter taking Hankins to task a week or two before that. I have talked to many people who agree with me that what Ron Hankins said at the hospital district board meeting was absurd. It wasn't good enough that in our country, which I remind is the United States of America with first amendment Freedom of Speech, people can exercise that freedom. One would also think that this would be an issue strictly between the Glen Rose Reporter and the writer. If Colleen, the editor, had no problem, since she KNEW who this was, of allowing the writer to write under a pen name, why did Ron Hankins, the Bully, see it as a matter that required the police? Would he now form an Anti-Freedom of Speech unit to troll the countryside looking for anyone that gets under his skin? Heck, maybe this is an indication he already is. And WHY did the police and Andy Lucas, Somervell County Attorney, agree to investigate this? You''''d think they would see how ridiculous this is and not waste one dang cent on police resources. The letter was published on a Thursday. The next day, that Friday, I heard from someone that Ron Hankins wife had gone to the reporter offices and had words with Colleen, the editor. Colleen quit that day and I was told she felt humiliated. The funny thing is that Colleen had only recently started as editor and had just that morning been planning some happy forward looking articles. I speculate that Hankins wife didn’t like the letter and told Colleen to tell her who wrote it. Apparently Colleen did not do so, and why should she, without a warrant or some official reason? If there was an issue about someone writing a letter with a pen name, shouldn’t that have been between Colleen’s bosses and her? Also, seems like if poor poor Ron’s feelings had been hurt over being criticized for what he said, why complain about online impersonation? The letter writer wasn’t impersonating Ron, and the letter was printed in the newspaper. For whatever reason , the Hankins chose to go to the police about this, over something a grade schooler knows is one of our freedoms as Americans. Later on my friend wrote a letter to her friends and members of her church. I didn’t ask, but I wonder if she had any slight concern about her reputation being sullied by a criminal complaint being made about her for writing a letter to the paper. P.P.S I just ran across this speech for the 4th that Senator Brian Birdwell, who is our Texas senator in this district, said today re: Katie Lang of Hood County who didn''''t want to uphold the Constitution by issuing marriage licenses for gays. While his topic was actually to support bigot Lang, he had some words regarding freedom of speech that I agree with. Note that he explicitly says, as a PUBLIC OFFICIAL, that it is the "right of every citizen to agree or disagree with my views". Seems to me a large part of this applies and that Birdwell should go help Ron Hankins understand this. There''s another question about this as well Who Decided to treat Ron Hankins clearly frivolous whiny complaint seriously? So, Ron Hankins widdle feelings were apparently hurt that someone dared to criticize him, as a public figure, for some comments he made at a public meeting for the Somervell County Hospital District. That person, a woman, wrote a letter to the editor about it, under a pen name, and this apparently upset Mr Hankins so much that he decided he needed to go down to *advise* the Somervell County LEC (Law Enforcement Center) "there was a letter to the editor from an Annie McGee stating some wrongdoing on the complainant''s part.". The offense, mindboggingly, was "Online impersonation" even though the letter to the editor was in the printed newspaper and wasn''''t signed, er, by him,. In what way did he believe someone was impersonating him? Was it his magic hat? The lady who did write the letter, whom I know, and a lot of you do too, told me after the deputy showed up at her door, she wondered if Ron Hankins was going to come to her house once he knew it was she that wrote the letter. Remember, he had no idea who wrote that letter, just that, dang it, someone had exercised their Freedom of Speech rights and he was having NONE of it, he was going to find out who that person was, and get that person charged with a CRIME. What, maybe he would have come knocking at her door so he could chew her out for daring to express an opinion about him? Poor Mr Hankins apparently didn’t have a tough enough skin to be in the public eye if he couldn’t take the heat when a taxpaying citizen didn''''t like his opinion. Will Hankins now wander Somervell County seeking out each person that doesn''''t agree with him so he can find some action to take against those who believe as US Citizens they can write letters to the paper? Hankins was no longer the county attorney, although this action seems to say that he pined for the Good Old Days, where he had the clout to go after innocent people for thoughts they have in the paper. He was, however, an elected public figure that serves on a board. Perhaps he believed that gave him the authority to go running down to the Sheriff''''s office every time he read or heard something he didn''''t like. One could almost say that this is an intimidation factor‐if YOU know that Ron Hankins was going to go to the sheriff''''s office to *advise* them about a possible crime because YOU wrote a letter to the paper, would that slow you down from criticizing Mr Hankins next time he does something you find objectionable? Maybe. And maybe that''''s the point. Why else spend that kind of effort on a friggin'''' letter to the editor? Mr Hankins also was apparently not well‐read, and didn't realize that people write opinions all over the place about politicians and government officials, and do so freely. What's astonishing to me is that ANYONE from the Somervell County Attorney’s office or Sheriff's Department treated this seriously AT ALL. This is an abuse of police power and a waste of taxpayer resources to spend even one minute or one dime over a letter in the newspaper. At some point the complaint went back to the county attorney''''s office and was dismissed. OF COURSE it was. What would be the next outrageous and irresponsible act Ron Hankins did, although it will be hard to top this for sheer nuttiness and audacity? Please don''''t ANYONE stop writing letters to the editor with your opinions simply because Ron Hankins may not like it and try to charge you with a crime. P.S. Comment from Chris Bryant re: who would have approved even looking into this in the first place. P.P.S. Both the letter writer and I wanted to get a copy of the file to see what the heck! Because, in the first place, they had opened a case and it was still open, neither she nor I could get a copy. Then, it apparently went back to Andy Lucas, he saw it was nonsense and closed it without charges. Because it was closed without charges being brought, we ALSO couldn't get a copy of the case in that circumstance. What I got back, though, was a letter from the Attorney General explaining this. Look at this. Rather than *online impersonation* as the sheriff's event log showed, this was apparently *computer fraud*. Hun? In what world is it computer fraud for a person to write a letter to the editor which the newspaper publishes? One can only laugh. I do have a theory that could explain why in the world Ron Hankins went after the anonymous letter writer. The theory also posits that Hankins had a stake in wanting to see Paul removed from office. We now know, as of 2019, that that part is true, as Hankins wrote the original removal petition and sent it to Best. The second, flimsy, charge that Paul had written the blog post about the Somervell County Hospital District slush fund or had instructed me to write it rests on the belief that Paul was somehow not open enough to post under his own name. By the time this action against "Annie McGee" took place, I had written extensively about how outraged I was that my own content on my own blog was being falsely attributed to Paul. If Hankins and Lucas could have proven that, rather than the innocent citizen that actually did write that anonymous letter, it was actually Paul that did so, they might have had an action that would prove their baloney petition charge, ie "Online impersonation". Assuming for a moment I am right, although this can't be proven without putting Hankins under oath and asking him, it must have been a huge letdown for Hankins, Lucas and Best to find out that they were so grossly wrong and that they had abused the power of the state to go after an innocent person whose only "crime" was that the criticized Hankins in a letter to the editor. My personal opinion is that Hankins went after this letter to the editor writer, who was exercising freedom of speech, because he thought maybe the letter writer had something to do with this case. Hankins was asked about this in the deposition in 2019. Ron Hankins was the County Attorney for Somervell County for almost 20 years and then became an elected board member on the Somervell County Hospital District. Back in 2015, Ron Hankins said at an open meeting of the Somervell County Hospital District board that if someone got elected based on an agenda he or she ran on, and got elected, that they should expect to be sued. That seemed to me to be out of line and I wrote a letter to the editor of the Glen Rose Reporter. I wasn't the only one. Unbeknowst to me, a friend of mine also wrote a letter the next week which she did under a pen name with the permission and knowledge of then editor Colleen Horning. Apparently, anyone that criticizes Ron Hankins deserved to have a criminal complaint lodged against them at the Somervell County Sheriff''s Department. (I wrote about it at the time in July 2015 after my friend called me up to tell me that I wouldn't believe what had just happened to her). I've always wondered since then why the fool Ron Hankins wanted to see her potentially charged as a criminal simply for exercising freedom of speech to the paper. He was asked about this incident in May 2019. Basic civics classes should have educated Hankins about the freedom of speech and press that we are guaranteed in the US Constitution. The Somervell County Hospital District Meeting I Call the *Hate Fest* from January 22, 2015 where you can read my entire writeup. A few after the fact highlights, with video here. First, before that meeting, Ron Hankin''s wife hand carried a threat letter to John Parker, one of the board members. He, not to be intimidated, had it on his Red Barn website for quite a long time. The meeting on January 22, 2015 was supposed to be for a required evaluation of employee Ray Reynolds. Instead, Darrell Best, among others, sought to turn it into a crowd event in which some people thought the hospital was to be closed. Ann Best and her mother, Mary Best-that''s Darrell Best hanging out on the wall and laughing when his wife and daughter flip off a board member Joan Taylor insulting the board Dr Peters threatening board member with dialogue from "Pulp Fiction" Alan Sumners passing a jar for money collections. One man not even from this county, apparently, threatening the board Darrell Best's daughter, Ann, gave the finger to Harper at Somervell County Hospital District Board Meeting On January 22, 2015, Somervell County Hospital District held a board meeting to discuss Ray Reynolds, employee's evaluation. Andy Lucas with the affidavit of Ron Hankins, had attempted to keep Harper from attending, but the judge said no. I had gone to the meeting with my video camera and was sitting on the left hand side of the citizens center.It was actually a pretty awful meeting, along with other videos of rude people, and people threatening the board. In this post, however, I want to point out the actions of the Best family, to include Darrell Best, Mary Best, his wife, and daughter Ann Best Ann Best was working for a local hospital in another county and she was fired after this. Imagine being a mother and coming with your adult child to the dais with your arm around her and supporting her while she flips off the board. And then your husband laughs, on camera. At least for me, these are certainly not people I wish to emulate.
  2. Frivolous lawsuit of State of Texas ex rel Darrell Best v Paul Harper OVER: Somervell County and Darrell Best PAID Somervell County County Commissioners (Glen Rose, Texas) voted 5/0 on August 31, 2020 to pay Harper $165,000 in settlement. Darrell Best has separate settlement agreement to pay Harper $45,000. Why? Darrell Best, local Glen Rose resident, with Ronald D Hankins (former Somervell County Attorney and current Somervell County Hospital District board member) writing the legal petition behind the scenes, attempted to remove duly elected official Paul Harper from the Somervell County Hospital District board via a civil removal petition. Note Hankins expression when he is caught red-handed. Darrell Best could have done nothing, however, were it not for Andy Lucas, Somervell County Attorney, taking on the petition for all purposes as the State of Texas. (A citizen can petition to remove an elected official but the State of Texas must decide, at its discretion, to bring it forward) Andrew Lucas failed to remove Harper at the District Court level, Harper took the defensive action of an anti-slapp motion (Texas Citizens Participation Act -TCPA) and won at the 10th court of appeals. Rather than that ending the suit, Andy Lucas chose to pursue appealing the 10th court of appeals decision all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. Note who paid for the attorney bills for Andy Lucas as the representative of the State of Texas - Somervell County taxpayers did, via Somervell County Commissioners Court The judgment of the Texas Supreme Court went against the State of Texas. Coming back down to District Court level, the money judgment was against the State of Texas and Darrell Best. Somervell County, or rather Somervell County taxpayers had been paying the attorney bills for Andrew Lucas who was acting as the State of Texas, and the Texas AG's office told Somervell County they were responsible to pay the judgment since what Andy Lucas did as the State of Texas was discretionary and the State of Texas AG''s office was not involved. Some 6 years later, Somervell County has now paid $165,000 to settle and Darrell Best has a settlement agreement to pay $45,000. Some additional video Why did Ron Hankins keep the fact he wrote the petition a secret? Because "I was on the board". That, in turn, would have led to him having to recuse himself in any votes that dealt with the case; Ron Hankins sicc''d the police on a letter to the editor writer. Humorously, he took umbrage to the letter signatory being anonymous even though he hid his involvement with the petition '
  3. District Judge dismissed Anti-SLAPP; Harper appeals the District judge had dismissed the anti-slapp motion. Lucas was supposed to have presented his evidence with clear and specific evidence; he did not. Harper and his attorneys filed a notice of accelerated appeal on March 29 2015 with the 10th Court of Appeals in Waco. Specifically What is a SLAPP Suit and an Anti-SLAPP action? From Wikipedia- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic ... ticipation See also A Primer on Anti-Slapp law https://slappedintexas.com/primer/ '
  4. 'Briefs Filed from Both Sides with the 10th Court of Appeals Briefs were filed from both sides and on November 4, 2015, oral arguments were heard by the justices on the appeals court. Harper''s brief Andy Lucas as the State of Texas brief Lucas, as the State of Texas, essentially argued that Removal Actions are exempt from the TCPA, that the TCPA was not intended to apply to a removal action, and that the State established a clear and specific case for removal. As have mentioned elsewhere, it was entirely discretionary for Andrew Lucas to take on Darrell Best’s petition. He could have ignored it as specious and frivolous and realized Best was trampling upon the first amendment of the constitution. 158 Oral Arguments Nov 4 2015-Lucas told the 10th Court of Appeals justices that he didn''t have to pursue the case We showed up at the Waco 10th Court of Appeals early on November 4, 2015 . I had been there once before, in support of a local resident named Joelle Ogletree, so I remembered that the courtroom was spacious, with the justices sitting behind a dais at the front, and about 3‐4 rows of seats on each side. Paul’s attorneys were there, the lead attorney, Mary, had come prepared with a poster and presentation on just what the TCPA was and how this case fit the criteria. What was odd to me was that when Andy Lucas came in, instead of sitting on the other side of the room, he sat on our side, behind Mary. There was one appeal that was being heard before us, so we patiently waited for them to make their case before the court. I did not know that the justices would, besides hearing the case presented to them, be asking questions. In fact, it was wonderful that they did, because they were able to find out particulars from both Paul’s attorneys and from Andy Lucas that they would not have known in a different court venue, as, for example, Andy Lucas wouldn’t have been questioned in district court. About whether other districts paid no taxes‐ Hood County doesn’t. (In fact, a couple of the Somervell County Commissioners had previously gone to Lake Granbury Medical Center to discuss a 3rd party deal before the hospital district passed. They wanted to try to get the same no‐tax hospital district deal that Hood County has.) About 3rd party private hospitals run by business. One judge liked that. One of the most fascinating parts of the hearing was when Lucas was asked by the justices his motivations and actions regarding the petition. “Did you Have to Act On the Petition? Asked if he *had* to act on the petition. At first he said yes, and then he said no he didn’t have to Asked about why he did it. Said he was concerned that Paul was trying to harm the district (hospital?) Asked if he would have done the same if it was a drunk. He said he didn’t know. What’s absurd about that answer is that intoxication is one of the 3 valid reasons for trying to remove an elected official from office, and Lucas apparently didn’t take that seriously. Lucas threatened Harper in the hallway after the court hearing. We were standing there with Paul''s attorneys and Andy said "“I’m still going to go after Paul with a jury trial after this is over”. Arrogance. As if the appeal was a mere blip in the road that prevented him from harassing Paul some more with a jury trial. Before the Ruling, Insurance Company Required Harper to offer to settle Paul Harper put in an offer to settle May 2016 Paul was called by his attorney in May 2016 and told that the insurance company wanted to make a settlement offer to Andy Lucas. The offer was actually pretty good. The insurance company would forgo the entire amount of the lawsuit sans the 25k that Paul was owed and another 25k. Paul did not want to do it as he was certain he would win out in the Motion for Rehearing that Lucas had filed, but the insurance company said that if he didn’t, they could decide not to cover any more of the lawsuit. The offer was made, and astoundingly, Lucas turned it down. He said there was no money to pay it, and he’d ride it out. I have to think he must have thought Paul was making the offer because he thought he would lose and that gave Lucas confidence to ignore the offer. Alternatively, Somervell County was also involved in a lawsuit with Luminant over property taxes at that time, and were cutting back on other government services in response. 10th Court of Appeals Opinion April 2016 "We Agree with Harper" On April 21, 2016, the appeals court ruled in Paul’s favor on all counts and issued a judgement against the State of Texas The Judgment went against the State of Texas State of Texas Filed Motion for Rehearing in the 10th Court of Appeals May 2016 Motion for Rehearing was filed on May 2016, the 10th COA asked for a response from Harper, and State of Texas Motion for Rehearing was denied on July 13, 2016. Brief from Andy Lucas on Motion for Rehearing from the 10th court of appeals There were, besides others, two very bizarre arguments made in this brief. One is that maybe the TCPA wasn’t a legal action. The second was that “denying a citizen’s right to petition for removal of a public official is contrary to the purpose of the TCPA.” The Texas Supreme Court ruled that TCPA IS a legal action. And the issue is simply ridiculous about whether Darrell Best was denied his right to petition for removal of a public official. Of course he was entitled to do so, but Lucas did not have to choose to join his petition. Gives the appearance that perhaps behind the scenes it had already been decided to press forward by any means to try to remove Paul, regardless of whether it violated constitutional protections. Response to State’s Motion for Rehearing 10th court of appeals Paul’s attorneys main points were 1. The State Relinquished Sovereign Immunity ..................................... 1 A. State Waived Immunity from Suit When it Became a Plaintiff ..................................................................... 2 i. The County Attorney Was Not Obligated to Continue the Removal Suit ....................................................... 4 ii. State Must Be Held to Same Standards as All Other Litigants ............................................................................ 5 B. The State Waived Immunity from Liability By Failing to Plead It ...................................................................... 6 C. Governmental Entities Are Not Exempt from the TCPA ..................................................................................... 7 i. TCPA Waives Sovereign Immunity ......................................... 7 ii. The Removal Statute Should Not Limit Procedures Available to Defendants .................................................. 10 2. Remand for a Determination of Costs, Reasonable Attorneys’ Fees, and Sanctions Tacitly Concludes that Such an Award against the State is Proper ........................................ 11 3. The State’s Arguments Regarding Application of the TCPA and Preemption, if Not Waived, Lack Merit ......................... 13 A. The TCPA Applies in Any Suit in Which an Exception Does Not Apply ...................................................... 13 B. The Removal Action is a Legal Action .................................. 14 C. Preemption Does Not Apply ................................................... 16 States Reply to Harper''s Response to Motion for Rehearing 10th court of appeals A few points. The State tried to argue again that they didn’t file the removal action. Right, they didn’t file the petition of George Darrell Best, but Andrew Lucas chose to take it on as well as add an additional TOMA charge. Lucas attorneys, (for he at this point had contracted with a legal firm to represent him rather than himself) also argued that the State had sovereign immunity. Also argued that the Anti‐slapp motion by Harper didn’t ask specifically for the judgement to be against the State. Lucas attorneys wanted the 10th court of appeals to withdraw their opinion and modify judgement to remove taxation of appellate costs against the State. Andy Lucas changes the stylings of the lawsuit after he lost in 10th court of appeals I found this interesting. In every case style that included Lucas as the State of Texas, he styled the case as “The State of Texas on the relation of George Darrell Best, Plaintiff. Except for the Motion for rehearing, which was styled as if it was a case between Harper and Best The 10th Court of Appeals was not confused by this, but instead set it right in their ruling which denied State of Texas Motion to Rehear. Notice the proper style is "State of Texas ex rel George Darrell Best". Motion for Rehearing Denied by !0th Court of Appeals (bolding mine) Lucas called Harper''s Attorney After Motion for Rehearing Denied Sep 9 2016 Andy Lucas, who had already turned down a different settlement offer made before the appeals court came back with his motion for a rehearing shot down, had his own offer to make on September 9, 2016. Lucas called Paul’s attorneys . Paul rejected the below. 1. Lucas had hoped that the Texas Attorney General’s office would take on his case. They said no. 2. Although Lucas had been spending county funds on an outside attorney, Somervell County apparently told him (with no public meeting) that they weren’t going to spend any more money on that. 3. Lucas was asking if Paul would agree to just hold Best responsible and not the State of Texas. 4. Overall, Lucas said the county had no more money to spend on this. Keep in mind that this was during the time they were in a lawsuit with Luminant, who was seeking to pay significantly less property taxes and it was causing budget cuts and reductions at all levels. 5. Seemed like Lucas was fishing to see how the judgement was to be enforced, and fishing for an appropriate settlement offer. '
  5. State of Texas (Andy Lucas) Appeals Defeat to the Texas Supreme Court Paul Harper won 3 times, Andy Lucas lost 3 times. The judgement on the Anti‐Slapp Motion to Dismiss was against the State of Texas. For whatever reason, Lucas wanted to continue to press his case. One factor may have been that he was able to use taxpayer money to pay for not only his own filings but the outside advice he got from more presumably experienced attorneys. Lucas wasn’t quite ready to make it an official brief but requested 30 more days to presumably see if he could figure out some way to avoid taking responsibility for the case, and he couldn’t. All of that took another month. And, understand, one never knows for sure each time how the courts might rule. And what about the money? If you’re not rich or at least well to do, do you even have money to spend on attorneys? Paul had to hire an attorney to fight the suit in the first place‐What the Amicus Brief said. The last day that Andy Lucas, as the State of Texas, could appeal the loss at the 10th court of appeals, to the Texas Supreme Court was August 26, 2016. I had gone to the Somervell County Commissioners Court meeting that day, and left the camera running after the meeting ended. I did that, not because of the case, but because I wondered why, after a meeting adjourned, there was still a quorum on the dais. However, interestingly, Ron Hankins attended this meeting, which, at least for the meetings I recorded, he didn''t typically do. I want you to notice when you watch the people who stick around after the meeting, and after Danny Chambers gives a head nod, go out of the room with him. About an hour later, the appeal to the Texas Supreme Court was filed. Going to remind again, because Ron Hankins was clearly part of this, that Ron Hankins is the one, although unknown at the time, who wrote up the original petition that Darrell Best used to go after Paul. Ron Hankins didn''t want anyone to know he did this, at least not publicly. Did all the people in this meeting, including Danny Chambers, know that Hankins was actually the one behind all this trouble and violation of the rights of Paul? As a side note, I had been informally told by a friend of mine that Judge Chambers was not going to let Lucas go to the Texas Supreme Court. Apparently he changed his mind, and that decision caused more attorney fees to rack up, as well as the prospect should the judgement go against the State of Texas again (and it did), taxpayers would pay it Andy’s brief “Petitioner’s Brief on the Merits (Texas Supreme Court) filed on behalf of the State of Texas” was filed 2/21/2017 His attorney argued that a removal petition is not subject to dismissal under the Citizens Participation Act and again, that the State of Texas should not have to pay the judgement. Mary H Barkley’s brief, “Respondent’s Brief on the Merits (Texas Supreme Court) filed on behalf of Paul Harper was filed 3/13/2017 Andy’s reply brief (Texas Supreme Court) Tried again to argue that somehow Lucas HAD to prosecute this case. Of course he did not and had said so when asked by the justices of the 10th court of appeals in oral arguments Texas Supreme Court asked both sides for briefs on why the case should not be moot. Andy’s brief filed on 11/15/2017 txscotpostsubmissionbrieflucas0FC.pdf Mary’s brief filed on 11/16/2017 postsubmissionbriefharper1FA.pdf Andy’s reply to Respondent Brief filed 11/20/2017 112017replytobrieflucas20A.pdf Amicus Letter filed by Cleve Doty 11/29/2017 Amicus letter‐ Clevel Doty Freedom of Information Texas put in Amicus Brief 12/28/2017 amicusbriefffoit17E.pdf Even Empower Texas with which entity I share few political views amicusbreifemplowertexas124.pdf Oral Argument at the Texas Supreme Court Andy Lucas hired an attorney to represent him at the Texas Supreme Court. As a side note, who paid for that? Somervell County taxpayers did. Paul Harper Wins at Texas Supreme Court- Judgement Against the State of Texas The Texas Supreme Court ruled in Harper''s favor on 6/29/2018. The Texas Supreme Court recognized and spoke about this harassment of Harper when they said, in their opinion Because no one can ever express an opinion based on what someone else tells them, or from watching a video, listening to an audio or reading pertinent documents. Seems that someone had a thin skin about criticism. Maybe that person or those persons should think twice about running for public office. State of Texas (Andy Lucas) Asks for Motion to Rehear on 7/20/2018 Motion to Rehear denied on December 2018. More than 4 years after the original lawsuit was filed. Amicus Brief from Thomas Cowart 7/16/2018 8/23/2018 the Texas Attorney General’s office put in an Amicus Brief amicusbriefthomascowart026.pdf Note the contradiction between what the AG had already said in a different case in which they cited Harper’s TCPA argument on the TOMA claim as not being an enforcement action. ENFORCEMENTACTION2017.pdf Response to amicus brief 9/11/2018 Response to amicus brieflafond2eb Supplement to Thomas B Cowart amicus brief 10/9/2018 '
  6. 'Andy Lucas, bizarrely, puts in an answer to the original Anti-Slapp motion. Darrell Best was told by Andy Lucas, when the Texas Supreme Court ruled against the State of Texas, that the next step was going to be coming back down to district court to determine fees and sanctions. NOT to try the entire case over again from scratch. Judge Weeks Rules for Judgment Against State of Texas and Darrell Best As part of the hearing in August 2019, Chip Harrison testified under oath that he had been threatened by Andy Lucas. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=17312 Here''s part of that Now, you see that Andy Lucas says "Okay" to Chips comments about threatening and bullying, instead of contesting them. Also, and this is a critical part, IF it were 1 that Harper was violating TOMA with a walking quorum, then rightly the OTHER PEOPLE IN THAT So-CALLED QUORUM should also have been charged. They weren''t, ONLY Harper, which definitely gives the appearance Harper was being singled out and it wasn''t about TOMA. Also, John Parker testified that he had been threatened to be sued by the chief deputy of the Sheriff''s Department. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=17319. Part of that And John Parker said he was actually threatened by someone who works for the Somervell County Sheriff''s Department. That was probably the meeting held on 3/20/2015 at which the indemnification was discussed. According to John Parker, the person that threatened him was Dwayne Griffin. Note that at the meeting in which this was voted on after this,on May 28 2015, the hospital attorney had said that he agreed Harper should be paid the $25,000 from hospital funds. From the minutes http://salon.glenrose.net/img/may282015minutes.JPG Ron Hankins, who had secretly written the petition for removal, and did not recuse himself for some reason from the vote,voted against. https://youtu.be/QUhFVXf4tv8 At this same hearing, the money amounts were discussed in detail, Judge Weeks rendered judgment for Paul Harper in these amounts. Notice that some of this judgment was in case Lucas, as the State of Texas, decided to appeal this judgment. He did not and thus any opportunity to contest whether the judgment was fair or not is gone. What was telling was that Andy Lucas attorney tried to take out Lucas responsibility for the case by trying to take out the text that showed the State of Texas appeared through its counsel AND REPRESENTATIVE AND also attempted to exempt Somervell County, who was not a specific party to the case from having to pay the judgement, as well as the Somervell County Attorney. The judge, OF COURSE, said no to the latter. Have said multiple times in this forum that Somervell County paid for the case anyway; they paid for Andy Lucas'' attorney, all filing fees, anything that had to do with getting the case ready, and the Somervell County Commissioners Court voted multiple times to pay for it from county funds. That''s not to mention that the Texas AG''s office said in a letter that the county was responsible because what Lucas did as the State of Texas was discretionary. Darrell Best Tries Bankruptcy to get out of judgment, Fails, Pays $45,000 George Darrell Best, usually known as Darrell Best, is the one who originally brought the Petition for Removal, which was secretly written by Ron Hankins, former Somervell County Attorney and current Somervell County Hospital District board member. The judgment went against him and also the State of Texas. Best didn''t want to have to pay. Best filed bankruptcy on January 13, 2020 in the US Western District Bankruptcy Court, Case #20-60034-rbk. Here is Best''s bankruptcy petition which included a list of his debts, debtors and assets. gdbestinitialpetition180125392728.pdf Darrell Best went through a credit counselor before filing gdbestcreditcounseling180125392731.pdf His bankruptcy also included employing an auctioneer to sell property, including, among other items, a 1925 Model T Firetruck and a 1945 Buffalo Firetruck abestmotiontosellproperty180125842193 (1).pdf Harper objected to Best trying to get out of the judgment and filed an adversary case on April 17, 2020 Case 20- (bolding is mine) Best then went to the State of Texas (ie, Andy Lucas) to try to be part of a deal for Harper, but Lucas told him that they weren''t paying. That, in my opinion, left Best hanging out to dry. Best then made his own deal with Harper to pay part of the judgment. The bankruptcy court put up Best''s firetrucks to sell. His 1925 Ford Model T Firetruck sold for $4,900 and the 1945 Buffalo Firetruck sold for $1,700. 20210201bestsale.pdf Who Paid for the State of Texas to Pursue This and for Lucas's attorneys? You did Some people in the community, including some on the Somervell County Commissioners Court, thought the case was a private one between Darrell Best and Paul. I have no idea if they were honestly fooled, or considered it a better public stance to pretend the case would simply go away. They ignored the fact that Andy Lucas, as the State of Texas, had decided to take on Darrell Best’s specious claims and added one of his own, and was thus moving through the system as either the appellee or the appellant, depending on which court he was pleading in. Consider that if Andy Lucas were truly and solely concerned with a TOMA (Texas Open Meeting Act) violation, he could have done that separately and it would have been appropriate, nay, really necessary, for him to also include the others he alleged were violating TOMA via a walking quorum, which would involve multiple people. He did not. Certainly the clue for who is responsible would have been that the styling was not merely Darrell Best but Andy as the State of Texas in relation to Best. Besides this, Somervell County Commissioners Court voted on at least two occasions to pay for Andy Lucas legal fees in this case. Andy apparently didn’t believe he had the legal expertise to act on his own behalf so he hired an attorney. One of the attorneys from the law firm he contracted with did the oral argument pleading before the Texas Supreme Court, not Andy. Andy Lucas does have a budget but a budget transfer was done from taxpayer funds to pay for that extra attorney. The last time I looked at this was in August 2016, when the outside legal expenses for this case were $4,726.50. 159 No mention was ever given in budgeting sessions for upcoming years, nor did, apparently, Somervell County Commissioners Court have even one meeting about this lawsuit. I consider that irresponsible. It may be that the case, when it finally wound through the courts, would end up favoring Andy Lucas, but the commissioners court had no way of knowing that and keeping the commissioners informed through properly posted open meetings, even if held in closed session, was imperative. I spoke to a commissioner at one point and he said he knew about the case. I told him it shouldn’t be just a gossip issue but a losing verdict would affect taxpayers. I was also told, anecdotally, that Andy Lucas at one point went around to the commissioners’ offices to tell them, in groups of two, that he was probably going to lose. Not only did that sound like a walking quorum, but it skirts the very idea of public service governance. Lucas had no engagement letter with the attorney who represented him at the Texas Supreme Court. Somervell County paid that attorney''s invoices. "At least ELEVEN TIMES Where Somervell County Commissioners Court Paid the Bills for the State of Texas ex rel Best v Harper case" How is that done? One time I was at a Somervell County Commissioners Court meeting and Brian Watts, the auditor, mentioned that there was a budget transfer that needed to be made for Andy Lucas. No one on the court asked what that was, and I wondered, so I did an open records request. That led to finding that we, the taxpayer, were paying for two different attorneys who were doing work on the Best v Harper case. What? YOU had to hire an attorney, we got to use county resources! You don’t mind paying twice do you? I attended a Somervell County Commissioners meeting a while back, in July 2016. The county auditor, in presenting the budget transfers (parts of one account to be shifted and paid by another) mentioned moving money to pay the County Attorney’s outside legal expenses. Since Andy Lucas had most recently filed a “Motion for Rehearing” in the case, I not only wondered what the outside expenses might be, but also if Lucas had paid other attorneys to help him with his motion. Got the answer, yup, he paid out $4726.50 to a couple of different attorney firms. Other than that, his cost, besides his time, was for filing fees. The county, that is, the taxpayers of Somervell County, are the ones that are paying for this. The question is, what skin is off the county attorney’s nose to spend to fight frivolous cases in court? Not much, compared to the cost that Paul has had to pay out, which started with $25,000 and has gone up from there. To add insult to injury, because there was also an appraisal district property tax lawsuit going on with Luminant at the same time, I had to hear Judge Danny Chambers say that he thought Luminant should pay, they’d already lost twice,. I thought, and yes, so has Andy Lucas and the State of Texas, where is Paul Harper’s justice? Somervell County Judge and Commissioners Court pretended the suit didn’t exist What was appalling to me was that, even though should Paul have continue to prevail in winning against Lucas''s lawsuit, the Somervell County Commissioners Court did not hold one meeting, open or closed, to discuss it. One of the commissioners told me he was aware of it but only informally. That seems like a dereliction of duty. I did hear that Andy Lucas went around individually to the commissioners to tell them at one point that he thought the county had lost, but this was done as a sort of walking quorum, not in any type of public session. Where was the obligation to Somervell County taxpayers? https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=17358 Consider also that Somervell County Commissioners routinely approved, in Somervell County Commissioners Court meetings, paying for these invoices of Andy''s for the case without any type of discussion. Let me say that again. The commissioners not only didn't balk at paying attorney fees in this case that Lucas was primarily pursuing, but they didn''t even discuss it at all in meetings. Is there any way you would know that this was being done? Only on this site. Don''t forget that when Somervell County received notice of suit from Paul Harper for the judgment, they hired an attorney Mike Dixon to represent them (different attorney than the one Andy Lucas hired to represent him as the State of Texas) . You may wonder whether Danny Chambers knew already that the Texas Ag''s office told them via letter they were responsible to pay. Yes, they did. No, they did not until Paul filed suit and then almost a year later paid. I have not yet done an open records request for this amount but plan to in the future. Who paid? You, the taxpayer Update: I have now done, in June 2021 my final open records request to discover how much Somervell County paid for this lawsuit since the last time I asked. Last time I posted about the money spent was on 24 Nov 2019 and all bills were through the final judgment hearing I neglected to post the invoices on that article, which is now an archive, so putting them here Pricey for that Waco attorney to come to Glen Rose I wanted to know if there were more bills after that, because Somervell County DRAGGED their feet about paying the judgment. From 12/21/2019- notice that it''s not possible to split out the Texas Civil Rights call and Andy Lucas/Harper lawsuit so will split the difference and say the Harper call was $96.00. By my reckoning the total amount spent by Andy Lucas, himself an attorney, on other attorney services came to $2800.29 since Dec 2019. This is added to the amounts spent previously on this case to include May 2019 to Nov 2019 $6,342.64 Nov 2017-6 May 2019- $9,900.00 , Aug 2016 - 11,586.50 2016- $4634.00 -the total spent is around $35,263.43 - that doesn''t count the salary Andy Lucas got during those years while he was racking up money by using outside attorneys for a frivolous lawsuit that he did not have to take on and continually lost Somervell County Commissioners Court settles $165,000 Dec 2019-Harper sent a notice to sue to Somervell County. Don''t forget the judgment against the State of Texas was done in September of 2019, with zero accountability by the county, who pays for the State of Texas bills. Then Best was chased into his attempt to avoid payment by declaring bankruptcy court action 2020- Because of a lack of any action by Somervell County or the State of Texas to resolve this, Harper put in a Notice to sue Somervell County and the State of Texas -asking for a declaratory judgement. Ie, Who is the State of Texas? Is it the office in Austin where the Comptroller pays or is it the State of Texas, Andy Lucas? Remember that the State of Texas Attorney General''s office had already, apparently twice, sent a letter explaining that the county was responsible to pay. 2019 1107 State of Texas ex rel. Best v. Harper re Final Judgment.pdf Notice that the AG''s office says that Somervell County is responsible to pay, waived immunity for the costs, and because Lucas prosecuted the underlying legal action at (his) own discretion and without any involvement of the AG''s office. Somervell County reached out to settle and agreed to settle the case for $165,000 on August 31, 2020, some 6 years after the original Petition for Removal was filed. The following is from the agenda and minutes on August 31, 2020 Somervell County Commissioners Court Notice that all the county commissioners voted to pay this. And that the money came from the *contingency* fund. Personally, I believe that a contingency fund ought to be used for more important things that covering the ass of an out of control county attorney Why did Somervell County pay? The State of Texas as represented by County Attorney Andrew Lucas was responsible to pay the judgment. Here''s the rub. Lucas took on the frivolous petition by Darrell Best (and secretly written by Ron Hankins) for all purposes and added an item of his own. He did so, not as the Somervell County Attorney but as the State of Texas. When the judgment came down from Judge Weeks in District Court in 2019, The State of Texas and Darrell Best were jointly and severally responsible for the money judgment. Somervell County was not explicitly listed, because they had not been a party to the lawsuit. BUT..... Somervell County had been paying Lucas''s attorney bills for the case, including the Commissioners Court voting to pay those bills. The bills were not paid by the Comptroller''s office in Austin. The Texas Attorney General''s office sent a letter stating that the county was responsible to pay the State of Texas judgement because it was entirely discretionary on Lucas part to take on the case, he could have said, this is nonsense and turned it down and 2. the county is responsible for his bills. (see above) Cantey-Hanger was FANTASTIC!!! Paul was represented by Cantey-Hanger out of Fort Worth, specifically, Mary Barkley and Chris Brown. As an onlooker, I was so impressed with the quality of the work they did. It''s been six years and Brown, in particular, went from having no children to a number of them. '
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