One sleepy, hot day in August 2014, a friend of mine called me to ask why Darrell Best was suing my husband. Both my friend and I had known Darrell Best for years. My friend is one that conscientiously reads public filings included in a monthly newsletter and saw this before Paul had even been served. I couldn't imagine for what reason a suit was filed. Paul was a public figure because he had been elected to serve on the Somervell County Hospital District board as of May 2014. I knew there were some that were not happy with his having been elected, due to his views regarding bringing in a 3rd party hospital to run the district, to step spending taxpayer money outside the district in another defined hospital district territory, and changing hospital administration. (Paul would not have been elected, however, if there weren't a LOT of people who agreed with him; he got more votes than Ron Hankins). But surely there would have to be something substantial in that lawsuit! The citation for personal service was issued on August 29, 2014, with county attorney Andrew Lucas listed as the attorney representing Best (I was surprised to see taxpayer paid Lucas acting apparently as a personal attorney for Best).
Paul arranged to pick up the lawsuit from the sheriff department on Sept 4, 2014, I was with him and we drove to the post office. While in the parking lot, he and I started reading the lawsuit, which was a civil Petition for Removal from Office, filed by George Darrell Best, filed on August 27, 2014.
There were 2 charges in the petition by Darrell Best, one regarding a statement Harper made in a meeting in August 2014 in which he said he would vote for zero tax, and the other a complaint about a blog post I, not Paul, had done. I laughed, actually, when I saw that they were complaining about my blog post, so absurd to be blaming Paul for what I wrote, and especially since I believed (and still do) that Best knew better.
From Houston Chronicle - May 19 2009 "Citizens can remove local elected officials from office"
Using Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated regarding the local government code, Little explained that grounds for removal are 1. incompetency 2. official misconduct 3 intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage (except for cases in which the alcoholic beverage was on the direction and prescription of a licensed physician practicing in the state.
The rules, as laid out by Vernon's Texas Statutes and Laws Annotated, are as follows regarding the petition for removal. This information is directly quoted from the code.
"A proceeding for the removal of an officer is begun by filing a written petition for removal in a district court of the county in which the officer resides. ... Any resident of this state who has lived for at least six months in the county in which the petition is to be filed and who is not currently under indictment in the county may file the petition. At least one of the parties who files the petition must swear to it at or before the filing.
The petition must be addressed to the district judge of the court in which it is filed. The petition must set forth the grounds alleged for the removal of the officer in plain and intelligible language and must cite the time and place of the occurence of each act alleged as a ground for removal with as much certainly as the nature of the case permits
Doesn’t EVERYONE love a taxing Hospital District?
To understand the charged feelings about a hospital district, you have to understand some background about
the local hospital itself and how it came about that a hospital district as a new taxing entity came about, was
voted on and created.
I honestly have never thought about hospitals one way or the other, except to approve of public hospitals
funded by tax money. This presumes that there is a public service board whose interest is with those they
represent and have open and accessible meetings and records to hold themselves accountable to the public. In
Somervell County, there was a well‐known and beloved doctor named Marks who had started a hospital years
ago when the county was much smaller. At some point in time, with perhaps other backs and forths, Glen Rose
Medical Center was run as a private non‐profit by Dr Marks’s son Gary Marks. At the same time, in an adjoining
county, Hood County, the elected government officials made a contract with a 3rd party for profit hospital, Lake
Granbury Medical Center, to run services for Hood County Hospital District, a created governmental entity. The
taxpayers of Hood County paid no taxes at all for the hospital district, and in return, Lake Granbury Medical
Center supplied some services to the needy. Somervell County did not have a hospital district, but instead the
Somervell County Commissioners Court leased the land, buildings and equipment to Glen Rose Medical
Foundation for $1.00 a year.
Somervell County Salon blog post “More on the Certificates of Obligation in Somervell County and the GRMF lease”
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... nk&id=9996
What did catch my attention was when Somervell County Commissioners Court voted to take on 14.4 million
dollars worth of certificates of obligation (plus interest), to give to Glen Rose Medical Foundation. Walter
Maynard was county judge at the time and Mike Ford, who later became judge, was a commissioner. Because a
government entity can’t simply give money to a private entity, a public hearing, called a TEFRA (Tax Equity and
Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982) had to be held. What this mean was that notice of a public hearing had to be
published in the newspaper at least 14 days before the hearing date without approval before the hearing. This
would give interested citizens a chance to speak up at the public hearing. I heard about this 6 months after the
hearing by an interested and somewhat unhappy person. I vaguely remember seeing the TEFRA hearing listed in
the newspaper but it didn’t stand out then.
Here’s what happened in July 2009
Somervell County Salon blog post “Audio and Transcript from Somervell County March Hearing about the Certificate of
Obligation (2008) http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=10971
. Somervell County Commissioners Court had decided to issue 14.4 mill of
certificates of obligation bonds via Southwest Security to private hospital Glen Rose Medical Center. To do this,
they were first going to have to have a public hearing, per IRS regulations, in case there were any taxpaying
citizens who didn’t want to give this money to GRMF. But what appeared to have happened was that Gary
Marks did the work on getting the COs (certificates of obligation) prepared and then brought them to the
commissioners court for approval, as per the Southwest Securities man on audio. Southwest Securities was also
having discussions with Mike Ford about this.
Southwest Securities badly wanted the commissioners to approve starting the process so that they could be
finished by the meeting in April 2008, before even the TEFRA hearing. In fact, they had already printed up some
documents. Judge Maynard, to his credit, expressed some valid reservations to this rush job. One was that the
court might decide AFTER THE NOTIFICATION OF THE PUBLIC PERIOD not to issue the COs. Plus there was a
public hearing involved where reservations about county money going to a private entity could be expressed. At
the local level, citizens could have gotten up a petition to require that a vote on this money take place, but it
would have had to be done during the original notice to the public period. (As another side note, I saw recently
that Friendswood has, in their city charter, a requirement that any proposed allocation of funds through COs
MUST be taken to the public for a vote). My point is that even if this was not a public hearing period,
nonetheless, any decision regarding moving forward with the CO should NOT have been made UNTIL the notice
period was up.
And there was also a federal hearing process for TEFRA. Although apparently the commissioners could have
asked for the person doing the hearing to be one of them, for some reason the hearing officer was a guy FROM
Southwest Securities. Regardless, even though this was an IRS requirement, nonetheless, the commissioners
should have waited until at least after that hearing to make a determination, in my view, BECAUSE the point of
the TEFRA hearing is for the public to decide IF it's appropriate to give funds to a private, non‐governmental
entity. Because these are TAXATIVE bonds.
Maynard then says that he didn't intend for that meeting to be one in which a decision was made for final
action. "I thought if you had a public hearing you still had a chance to make your decision after the public
hearing". It is at that point that Southwest Securities applies some pressure, implying that if Somervell County
doesn't do the bonds after they've (SS) gone to so much work, the people who would buy them may not be
interested anymore. In fact, SS had already printed up a resolution which was handed out to the commissioners
(except Lloyd Wirt, who was not there) which SAID that on the date April 14 they would issue the CO.
Where did the money come from that secured the CO? From, first, the sewage plant, and secondly, from OUR
TAXES. You remember, if you got your tax bill in the last month or two, how your property taxes tripled? Well,
guess what. The CO was secured by the county's ad valorum tax. SS points out that any time you have personal
property involved under county statutes you can't just pledge the tax, you have to have a pledge AND
REVENUES. SS goes on to say that these are secured and payable FROM TAXES and that Somervell County can
SET A TAX RATE to provide for that service. And in fact, that's what Somervell County did about 6 months later,
they RAISED the tax rate to COVER the budget that included the CO. And apparently this is not a rollback tax,
because it's segregated.
Maynard asks what would happen if 5 years from now we're converted to a hospital district, about WHO would
assume the debt? Again, guess what, it’s US. The entity GRMF, the private 5013c foundation would not be
responsible for the debt but it would fall on the taxpayer's shoulders entirely. (Not to mention the separate and
included tax rate of the hospital district‐you remember how there was that indigent tax which was NOT going to
be returned back to the taxpayer)
Somervell County Salon blog post‐ “About that 3.5 cents from the Somervell budget that supposedly would have shifted
to the hospital district” http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... nk&id=9892
. I also wonder when I hear that from Judge Maynard about *5 years from
now* about the hospital district. Was the disingenuous or had they really not decided yet to go for the hospital
district election? (Which failed, by the way, the first time, but reared its ugly head again early the next year).
Judge Maynard, as I understand it, doesn't vote but might possibly be the tie breaker if a vote goes that way, not
sure. At any rate, despite all the reservations he had about going forward with this at that time, WHO made the
motion, despite no notice to the public yet or the TEFRA hearing, to go ahead with the motion? Mike Ford. I've
already said here before that there appears to be a clear conflict of interest in Mike Ford voting on the COS since
he was also at the very time the executive director of the Roger E Marks Foundation and continued to be on the
Apparently, only one person, Jerry Lee, showed up to that hearing and the certificates of obligation taken on my
Somervell County but given to GRMF was approved after.
Why did Somervell County Commissioners Court want to loan 14.4 million to GRMF?
GRMC asked Chet Edwards to get them a $700,000 earmark
Somervell County Salon blog posting “Chet Edwards Secures $700,000 to Renovate Glen Rose Medical Center”
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... nk&id=1476
for fixing up the hospital as well as the clinic in Pecan Plantation. Sometime in about 2006, the Somervell County Commissioners Court apparently voted to kick in the other half of 700,000. Problem was that Edwards was ultimately only able to get half the money
Somervell County Salon blog posting‐video “Talking about Chet Edwards (US House District 17) Earmark for the Glen Rose
Medical Center” http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... nk&id=9797
. Congress decided to do a cutback on earmarks by a certain percentage and the amount of money that
was going to go to Glen Rose Medical Center was cut back to less than half. Meanwhile the commissioner\'s
court apparently had paid out the money to GRMC predicated on the earmark being *secured*.
Somervell County voted to get a bond to give county taxpayer money to private GRMC, $14.4 million. Now, this
was supposed to be paid back by Glen Rose Medical Foundation. Mike Ford, then commissioner, said that
the court had never loaned money to the Glen Rose Medical Foundation. He apparently either didn’t
understand what he was voting for or was being disingenuous.
Somervell County Salon blog posting “Somervell County Commissioner Mike Ford says “the court never loaned money to
the Glen Rose Medical Foundation”‐ oh yeah? http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=10019
In fact, there was a schedule of payments
that were due to kick in about September of the next year. Remember how, in the commissioners court meeting
about the Cos, Walter Maynard brought up a hospital district? This begs the question about whether GRMF ever
intended to pay back the monies owed to taxpayers through the 14.4 million dollar (plus interest) COs.
Somervell County Salon blog post “More on the certificates of Obligation in Somervell County (Glen Rose) and the GRMF
lease” http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... nk&id=9996
Note that the first payment started in fiscal year 2010 and that lease payment was $750,000.00, with final payment
in 2048 of $264,625.00. What’s telling is that some months before the payments were due to be made, Gary
Marks started a dog and pony show trying to public sell why the hospital should become part of a hospital
district. A hospital district would be a separate taxing entity and also have, among other things, the power of
eminent domain. From a practical standpoint, that meant that not only would taxpayers continue to pay taxes to
the county but have additional taxes paid for the district. Caveat that theoretically, the taxes paid by the county
for indigent care, etc would be taken over by the district. At the same time, the hospital created and pushed a
video intended to sway public opinion to passing a hospital district. Surprisingly, Marks had put an initial 75 cent
valuation on the Glen Rose Hospital District petition; Jerry Lee, who worked for Luminant, showed up to the
hearing and challenged such a high number; he was the only person to show up at that hearing. The petition
was then revised to cap 10 cents.
Somervell County Salon blog posting “Audio‐About that initial 75 cent valuation on Glen Rose Hospital District petition”
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... nk&id=9771
Gary Marks efforts to sell a taxing hospital district were not successful, despite scheduling the vote for
Valentine’s Day. The initiative failed about 2 to one against. This mean that GRMF was going to have to start
paying back that money. But before that could happen, Somervell County in August, 2009 took over Glen Rose
Medical Center and created a non‐elected “hospital authority” board to run it.
Somervell County Salon blog post “Somervell County to take back over GRMC (Glen Rose Medical Center)
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=11002
Remember that Somervell
County actually owned the land and buildings and were leasing out the premises to GRMF for a buck a year.
Apparently GRMF not paying back their lease requirements was something the commissioners court had
Somervell County Salon blog post “Somervell County to take back over the GRMC by terminating Glen Rose Medical
Foundation Lease?” http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=11015
An important point here is that Marks had been asked during his PR hospital district tour if the
county would allow the hospital to go under and he said no, so Somervell County was not going to see the
Somervell County Salon blog post “Gary Marks asked if Somervell County would allow the hospital to go under
“http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... nk&id=9806
During the transition phase when Somervell County took over the hospital through an appointed hospital
authority board, run under the auspices of elected Somervell County Commissioners Court, one of the
transitional authorities told the commissioners court that taxpayers could pay out additional money beyond
doctors salaries in Glen Rose Healthcare Inc
Somervell County Salon blog post‐ video – “Video from Somervell County Commissioners Court December 14, 2009”
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=11603
The funding mechanism in the lease is contained in the lease agreement. That lease agreement looks
very similar to the lease agreement you had with the foundation … the primary difference is a funding or
subsidy .. whereby the authority can come to the commissioners court with a report of .. requesting a
certain level of subsidy with all the background information, the justification for the number, and that
would be reviewed by the auditor and others to make sure everything’s in line, to know there’s no fluff
in it and it’s appropriate to pay it. .. there may be a need for un‐uniform requests .. the expectation
would be that in the future it would be annual requests that would be part of your budgeting process…
they would still be required to submit documentation (re:) use of the money but it would help you in
your budgeting to know what to put in the budget.
The hospital doesn’t employ physicians; they can’t directly employ physicians. The physicians have their
own, what we call, 501a corporation that is their own practice group. They practice at the hospital but
aren’t under the umbrella of the management. Even though they’re not your employees…. There will be
a management agreement between the authority and the 501a corporation whereby there’s a lot of
facilitation between them as far as the hospital providing some management support services.. gives
them some support in advertising… but there’s also within that a operational support element whereby
in order to keep the practice there, if it comes down to a situation where they are in a negative cash
flow situation, the authority can support the group to make sure it can get through operations during
negative cash flow times. That support can be recouped during positive cash flow times. … They’ve sort
of done a tradeoff already when they come to a small community. They can make a lot more money
somewhere else but they’ve made the tradeoff based on the quality of life… We’re putting it in a
management agreement form
Remember this was said when you read my diatribe about the Somervell County Hospital District operating a slush fund. The management agreement specified that the doctors would submit a report with documentation and it was essentially optional to give them the extra money.
Somervell County Salon blog post‐ Subsidizing the 501a doctors at the Glen Rose Medical Center-the agreement”
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=12789
Putting this another way, why would any responsible governmental unit not want to have detailed record not only on what was asked for that went beyond contractual salaries but also documentation showing that the money was actually used for the purpose requested?
At one point Somervell County Commissioners Court looked into the same arrangement that Hood County had for a hospital district, ie, having a 3rd party hospital contract with a district to provide services while charging residents no tax. Without getting into the weeds of the actions taken around this, Mike Ford wanted a taxing hospital district and worked hard to thwart entities like Lake Granbury Medical Center from discussing this with the commissioners.
Somervell County Salon blog post “What did David Orcutt of Lake Granbury Medical Center say last year to Somervell County Commissioners?” http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=14912 Ford also sat on an NDA agreement that at least 2 commissioners wanted to move forward on
Having failed to pass a hospital district before, the apparent plan behind the scenes was to arrange for another district election. This time, the election was to be held on Mother’s Day. Quite a bit of propaganda untrue noise went out during the run‐up to the election, including fearmongering that the hospital would be closed if they didn’t vote for a district, despite the commissioners (and, remember, Gary Marks himself) saying that closure of GRMC was not an option.
Somervell County Salon blog post “ Boo!!! Here comes the desperation to keep taxing you (Somervell County Hospital Distirct” ‐ http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=14999
The second election for a hospital district passed very narrowly (by, apparently, 2 votes). A few people told me
they just hadn’t gotten up out of the house to vote that day and wondered if it would have failed if they had.
Yes. It would have, proving that every single vote counts. In the original election, there were no people running
on the ballot, but the names were included on the petition, thus they were not duly elected as individuals to be
on the hospital district board. That election would come later.
Paul at this point looked into what might happen, legally, to dissolve the hospital district. I was not involved at
that point as I had other interests, but he looked up the legal information about districts from Health and Safety
code law and saw that a petition with a certain number of valid signatures to call for another election to dissolve
the district was a perfectly valid possible remedy. Note that a petition by itself cannot dissolve a district, it
called for an election.
Somervell County Salon blog post “The Petition to Dissolve the Somervell County Hospital District is here!”
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=14808
He and some others worked hard to gather signatures, at some point I also decided to
assist, and they did it. However, when he turned in the petition, at least some people had the county, and not
their city listed, and their signature was thus disqualified. Paul was of the opinion that the board was wrong in
this, that they could also have opted to hold an election without a petition, but fighting in court was not an
Somervell County Salon blog post “Texas Supreme Court ruled that city wasn’t necessary on petition”
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15052
He decided, rather, to run for office as a hospital district board member.
Then Somervell County Hospital District secretary Angie Robertson, while drawing names for place on the ballot,
looked around the room and said “I can take bribes”. I suppose she thought that was a good joke.
https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15110
Paul won. In fact, he got more votes than Ron Hankins.
Somervell County Salon blog post “Somervell County Hospital District Election Board Returns – Guess who Won‐ 2014”http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15142
Paul and Eugene Brode tied on the number of votes
(the vote was majority, ie, the first 7 top vote getters were the electees. Because, depending on where you fell
in the list, your term might be one year or two, the question was raised about whether either Paul or Eugene
should flip a coin and the loser had one year That was voted down and instead, a vote was approved to request
a Texas Attorney General opinion. About six months later the opinion came in and they agreed with Paul that
both he and Eugene should both have 2 year terms.
Somervell County Salon blog post “OAG office agrees with Harper on initial terms for Somervell County Hospital District board members” http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15495
Ron Hankins was quite surprised and went into a long rant about how the AG opinion was a *non‐opinion*. 68 Didn’t matter because Hankins couldn’t force Paul and Eugene to flip a coin, and after all, it was a legal opinion for both to have 2 years, even if Ron didn’t like it
Somervell County Salon blog post “On that Attorney General opinion regarding the Somervell County Hospital District
Election Tie” http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15513
Small county southwest of Fort Worth.
Somervell County is known as a tourist destination. Fossil Rim Wildlife Park, Dinosaur Valley State Park, as well
as camping and fishing near the Paluxy River are a few of the activities visitors can enjoy. Somervell County also
has an Expo Center that features events such as rodeos. I myself wanted to move here because it seemed,
geographically, like the start of hill country.
Socially, a very large part of the county residents are related to each other, as families have stayed in the area
and intermarried with other local families for generations. The county was poor until Comanche Peak Nuclear
Power plant began to be built there in the mid‐1970’s. This brought in a lot of money for schools, roads, and
other projects such as public parks.
When I originally purchased land in Somervell County, my sole consideration was whether I liked the property
itself, would the zoning support animals and birds, how much acreage, and what type of view was it? I didn’t
give one thought about what the fact that this was a small county, the second smallest county in Texas, with
only a few towns. A very large percentage of residents in Somervell County have lived here their entire life, have
ancestors that came to the county in the 1800’s, and are kin to other people through intermarriages. One of my
newest friends in the county when I moved there told me that one had to be careful to say anything negative
about anyone else, because the chances were high that the person being spoken with was kin to the person
being complained about. My life for the most part has been living in suburbs, places that sprung up as housing
developments, with people from all over the country and, in some cases, from all over the world. Because most
of the people I knew were all newcomers, too, the ways for us to achieve power or ascendancy over others was
not due to how long we had lived in a location or whether we had relatives that lived in the same town. As a
contrast, in Somervell County, the power resides, for the most part, with those who have lived here the longest
and can lay claim to ancestral stories.
There is an expectation that if you move to Somervell County, you are embracing the culture. But what if you
This is the kind of county that has plenty of confederate flags flying in people’s yards as well as for sale by the
local gas station, juxtaposed with lots of religious camps and holier than thou religiosity. Some years back almost
all of Somervell County voted Democratic party, but this changed dramatically when Barack Obama was voted in
as president. I am loathe to say that racism may have been a major factor but I know in at least a few cases it
definitely was. The county swung to the Republican party and voted for Trump in the last election (2010). I
believe it wasn’t necessarily that everyone liked Trump but they were, dang it, going to vote Republican.
A local minister, who at various times was also an elected official at the City of Glen Rose and was mayor at the
time, told the Inn on the River owners that he would see that a change of their property to a rehab facility would
not occur, and that the city administrator would perhaps “create a zoning issue after all”. 69
At the hospital level, Ray Reynolds, CEO, was loathe to remove a woman who had been convicted of a third
degree felony for embezzling over $50,000 from a church over time. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15803She had used some of the money to send
her daughter to Disney World. Her daughter had also taken a picture from her mother’s office of a man who had
passed away who was in a body bag; the daughter posted it to Instagram with the caption “I see dead people,
lol”. The woman was in charge, amazingly enough, of HPPA security, and also of patient records. Paul tried at one point to get her removed from her position but could not get a vote. 70 It wasn’t until the next year, in
February 2016, that she was finally suspended due to a DWI.
The local hospital, Glen Rose Medical Center, also was called out by a local doctor regarding safety issues, which led to a lawsuit against Somervell County Hospital District. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15711
What is a Good Ole Boys Club?
In local government, Good Ole Boys are ones who work the system. Have already mentioned about Darrell Best
telling a GREDC board member to hide documents from me. At one point I wanted to know regarding the Land
of the Dinosaurs, which was a play in which the City of Glen Rose gave $80,000 to a company without drawing
up a contract, in which because it was at that point considered an investment, the play was to make money for
the city (not to mention its investors, which included Darrell Best). I did an open records request asking for a
report from the LOD people showing their financials, and got back nothing. Why? Because the GREDC and City
had never asked for any type of status report from LOD. Therefore, because no paper (or online) documents
existed, there were no records to get. I considered that a sneaky way to be unaccountable. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15462
Another time I did an open records request for certain emails from Andy Lucas and was told that he had deleted the emails. My question for myself was why an elected official wouldn't keep emails to be respondent to the Public Information Act. For that matter, why wouldn't an attorney keep relevant emails?
Just let the board do its work and you shut up
One of the most interesting actions that took place at a public meeting was one in October, 2016. A local, well
known resident went to a meeting and made some comments that apparently Ron Hankins didn’t like. He told
her “What you’re doing, Donna, you’re second guessing Ray and all the rest of us about what we’re doing,
Monday morning quarterbacking it, and I know exactly what’s going on and everybody else knows what’s going
on. He was also very rude, as was one of the employees to this woman https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=17224
Boy, talk about someone who truly doesn’t understand the principle of public service, including transparency as
well as the ability of citizens to, as he terms it *second guess* what the people they elected that are spending
tax money are doing. It simply is not that once someone is elected, they no longer have to answer to the public
nor hear what the public has to say, even if Ron Hankins would like to prevent it or make fun of the attendee who wanted to do that. You can see on the video link that he actually bends over and whispers to a fellow board member in front of her, which she rightly called him out for. On a different occasion, Hankins griped about people being able to do open records requests to find out what is going on. This is what the Texas Public Information Act says
The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
Harper had run for, and won, election to the Somervell County Hospital District board for the 2014-2016 term. He had run on a specific list of items he hoped to accomplish including
1. Reduce the property tax. The hospital should be able to run within its means, not on the back of the taxpayers. Taxing the citizens is not the route we should be taking, we should be following Hood County's lead and enter into an agreement with a 3rd party. Hood County has a hospital district but charges no hospital district tax.
2. Hand over operations in Hood County. Pecan Plantation in Hood County is a private exclusive gated community yet we are funding their healthcare facilities while Somervell County residents are not allowed to even see the building, let alone use the facilities. We are a non-profit who should not be trying to compete with a for-profit corporation that operates in four states (CHS).
3. Close the 501a. We need to employ doctors directly who are accountable to the District. The 501a has been tried and it has not worked out and continues to lose funds by almost every single doctor's practice, this is not benefiing the District but only the doctors.
4. Bring in hospital administration experts - the people running the hospital now got there by who they know, not by what they know. It's time for some experts in hospital administration to be brought in to run things the way they are supposed to be run.
5. Shrink hospital operations. Our tax dollars are shrinking and we need to shrink our operations to match. We need to move to an emergency room only model that we can afford instead of trying to provide everything and not being able to afford it.
I'd vote for zero because we don't have a budget-Paul Harper, August 21, 2014 meeting
From the Petition
5. Respondent was elected to the Board of Directors of the District on May 10, 2014. After being elected, Respondent was subsequently named as Secretary of the Board of Directors
Since being elected, Respondent has allegedly exhibited incompetency by way of gross ignorance of his official duties and gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties as contemplated by the Texas Local Government Code Section 87.013. Specifically, on or about the the 21st day of August, 2014, at a scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors, Respondent stated "I move that we set the Hospital District Tax Rate at Zero". The item being discussed by the Board of Directors, at the time of the making of this statement, was the setting of the maximum tax rate which the Board would be considering for the upcoming fiscal year, as required by Texas law. Mr Harper's desire to set the tax rate at zero is a violation of the Bylaws of the Somervell County Hospital District, specifically section 6.4(b) and (b) "Do any act with the intention of harming the District or any of its operations and (c) "Do any act which would make it impossible or unnecessarily difficult to carry on the intended or ordinary business of the District"
While reading the following, consider whether you would want a tax enacted without specific, legal information about what that tax would cover. And, amazingly, whether a tax rate should be set before the budget is discussed? What was the context of Harper's comment about a zero tax? Glen Rose Medical Center CEO, Ray Reynolds, had prepared a 3 page document to present to the Somervell County Hospital District board on August 21, 2014 for a meeting to discuss setting the tax rate. The "Prepared" budget didn't meet the legal requirements of Health and Safety Code Chapter 286. The budget had been three pages each with 3 variations originally. One wonders how a tax rate could be set without providing detailed data to the board first,. In fact, the Texas Comptroller's site indicated that "Most Taxing Units adopt a tax rate rate after adopting their budgets". Makes sense and yet the Somervell County Hospital District decided the preliminary tax rate and 2 public hearings were held on that tax rate before even one budget meeting. At least one board member, Ron Hankins, was fine with doing that. Harper was not. Harper didn't make a motion to set the tax rate to zero, rather, conversationally, he said he would vote for zero because "we don't have a budget". Chip Harrison at that point was presiding officer of the elected board of trustees. John Parker was another board member. Consider that if there was a rush to get that tax rate set, the board could easily have required meetings and hearings on the budget before the drop dead data.
Here's Harper talking about the budget on 7/31/2014
And from September 2014
Harrison: So alright back to the drawing board. We gotta set some kind of rate tonight. So...
Parker: I'd vote for 11.55
Harrison. I have a motion for 11.55 Do we have any kind of second to that?
Harper: I'd vote for zero because we don't have a budget
Hankins: Are you serious, Paul?
Haper: Yeah. I would prefer a budget that is the actual cost to run a hospital as opposed to having 3 different budgets thrown at me with 3 different percentages and three different ways for the revenue to the 501a changes based on the tax rate.
Hankins: Why zero, Paul?
Harper: Because I don't have in the budget what shows me what I should be charging people. What I have is this made up thing that I don't really call a budget and this budget doesn't really comply with the Health and Safety code nor the bylaws.
Hutchinson: Well, I would consider that we were asked several times, what did we want to see, Mr Honea and Mr Reynolds asked us several times.
Harper: And we told them every time we wanted to see without the tax included in that and they never gave it to us. Taxes are included in every single one of these.. the tax revenue shouldn't be included in this at all, we should know exactly what the cost is of of running this place.. What I'm saying is this budget that you're calling a budget doesn't comply with the health and safety code and in our own bylaws. There are certain things that are supposed to be included in this for it to be called a budget and they don't have it (Harper reads health and safety code).. How can we go and set a tax rate for a budget when the budget itself is not valid?
Harrison: All right, so we have a motion. Is there a second? .. to set it at 11.55. And we'll work on our budget until we have our public hearing.. I have a motion, do I have a second. Motion dies for a lack of a second
Here is Section 286.124 on the Annual Budget and what is legally required.
(b) The proposed budget must contain a complete financial statement, including a
(1) the outstanding obligations of the district;
(2) the amount of cash on hand to the credit of each fund of the district;
(3) the amount of money received by the district from all sources during the previous year;
(4) the amount of money available to the district from all sources during the ensuing year;
(5) the amount of the balances expected at the end of the year in which the budget is being prepared;
(6) the estimated amount of revenues and balances available to cover the proposed budget; and
(7) the estimated property tax rate that will be required, if the district imposes a property tax.
On September 23, 2014, Ray Reynolds fixed the budget to comply with the law. The new one, after the initial meeting in which Harper called i out, which was only 3 pages, was now a thick binder. Ray Reynolds even commented that Harper's point was "well taken".
Honea: I have a budget
Parker: Yeah a great big book.
Honea. I have one for each one of you to look through it to make any recommendations, changes, thoughts..
Reynolds: And we think it has all the elements that 286 requires. We've gone down the list and we have tried to idenfity every element that needs to be there, so that it is a complete budget. Point very well taken, because that's what it says, and it needs to include the debts that we owe (etc)
The local newspaper, the Glen Rose Reporter, wrote up the meeting on August 28, 2014. Brent Addleman's writup said "The debate even featured a motion of zero cents by Board Secretary Paul Harper, citing the board 'does not have a real budget' and the numbers were made up. Harper made a stand on his belief the board did not have a concrete budget and therefore could not set a proposed tax rate, drawing the ire of Reynolds and Board Member Ron Hankins. "I don't think it's necessary to set a tax rate without an actual budget", Harper said, "I still think we should have an actual budget before we set the tax rate. We have different budgets with different tax rates"
The Reporter's Brent Addleman has misquoted Harper and later issued a correction in the Glen Rose Reporter issue of September 11, 2014. Darrell Best had filed his petition for removal from office by then and it appeared that he had based issue one of his removal petition on the information in the newspaper, which was wrong
From the Reporter
In the Aug 28 edition of the Glen Rose Reporter, in the story "Hospital Board debates, adopts proposed tax rate", Board Member Paul Harper was misquoted. Mar Harper stated that he would vote for a 'zero because we don't have a budget'. Mar Harper did not make a motion on the tax rate
After the fact, the minutes from the August 21, 2014 meeting were voted on and approved 7/0 , which included the following
Motion by Ron Hankins on proposed tax rate of 12 cents, 2nd by Karen Burroughs: Motion failed 3-4
Motion by John Parker on proposed tax rate of 11.55 cents, died from lack of 2nd.
Motion by Ron Hankins on proposed tax rate of 11.95 cents, 2nd by Brett Nabors. Motion carried 6-1.
The minutes clearly showed, which all members voted to approve, that there was no motion made by Harper.Somervell County Hospital District boar ... ‐21‐14.pdf
It's of interest to note that long after the fact, on May 14, 2015, Ron Hankins, board member, insisted that Harper had made a motion as part of Hankins personal justification to explain why Harper deserved to be sued. Hankins must forgotten he voted to approve the minutes.
Hankins: If you come in and you pay attention, and you learn what the real facts are, then you shouldn't get up and make a motion to set the tax rate at zero because you should know that will shut the doors of the hospital. That's exactly what Mr Harper did. That's what got him sued.
Harrison: Um, I think if you go back and check the video on that, it's not a motion, it was a discussion
Hankins: Au contraire, I believe you go watch it. I wathced it, he said "I move".. set it at zero
Harrison: Don't believe that
Hankins: That's neither here nor there
To Hankins it didn't matter, apparently, whether what he said was truthful and accurate. George Darrell Best, by listing the comment by Harper as the first charge, showed that he didn't believe in an elected official's freedom of speech. Discussion at a board meeting, even if one doesn't agree, certainly doesn't warrant removal from office.
As an example of the sheer hypocrisy of Ron Hankins, here he is in September 24, 2019 saying he would like to set the tax rate to zero. So okay for him to say something conversationally but he was dad blasted to get Harper off the board. Hypocrite!
Darrell Best’s second complaint regarding why Paul should be removed from office was to take umbrage at a blog post in which an action the district board took was criticized. That post was one I wrote entitled "SHAME ON YOU, Chip Harrison, You LIKE Glen Rose Medical Center Operating an Illegal Slush Fund?" When Paul picked up the petition and I saw this nonsense below, I laughed. I, Paul’s wife, have a blog, Somervell County Salon. I’ve had it for over 12 years and have regularly posted during that time under my screenname “salon”. Others who have also posted, including Darrell Best, post under other names. To have a charge against my husband be that he actually wrote a post on my blog under my name OR that he somehow directed me to do it, as if I was a puppet, was so outrageous as to be entertaining. And yet, there was Darrell Best’s complaint
Additionally and immediately after the meeting of August 21, 2014, certain “blog” posts appeared on a website called the “Somervell Salon”, in which it is believed that Mr Harper (as administrator of the website) or one of his agents or other acting in his behalf, posted statements accusing the Glen Rose Medical Center Administrator, Mr Ray Reynolds, and also the Chief Financial Officer, Mr Michael Honea, of “violating the law”. Derogatory and inflammatory statements were also made about certain other Board Members based on what the said or how they voted during the meeting. Also included in these “rants” were statements that questioned why anyone would want to do business with Glen Rose
Medical Center (operated by the Somervell County Hospital District). [A copy of these statements which were taken directly from the website is attached hereto as Exhibit “A” and incorporated herein by this reference]. All of these actions are individually or collectively acts allegedly showing an elected official who is incompetent and grossly negligent in the care and exercise of his duties as a Board Member of the Somervell County Hospital District. They further may constitute additional violations of the Prohibited Activities under Section 6.4 of the District’s Bylaws. Respondent’s intention to set the Hospital District Tax Rate at Zero, and also his accusations of illegal activities by the administrative personnel of the Hosptial (sic) are not in the best interests of the residents of Somervell County and individually or collectively allegedly constitute gross ignorance and carelessness of his official duties. Moreover, these actions are in direct violation and breach of the Bylaws of the Board of Directors of the District.
There are a number of things factually wrong in that complaint. What is most offensive is, first, the idea that I who wrote the blog post was acting as his *agent* and second, that even if he had written the post, which he did not, he wasn’t entitled to a public opinion.Maybe there are some women who agree with being subservient, silent, invisible compared to their male counterpart but that certainly is not me.
What did I write on my blog post that was so upsetting to Best? I had long been writing about the practice of Glen Rose Medical Center taking taxpayer money to supply to doctors employed by GRMC through a 501a, money beyond what the doctors could expect via contract, as well as writing about the lack of transparency about how that money was spent. This money was variously called “OSA”, “shortfall” or “settleup money”.
According to an agreement made in 2009 when Somervell County took over running Glen Rose Medical Center, which had been private up till then, this meant that doctors in the 501a had to ask for money above what they were entitled to in their employment contract and then had to follow up with a report showing that they spent the money as they requested.
I had occasionally done open records request asking how much money the county paid to the hospital during the time pre‐district when Somervell County was running the then public hospital.
CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center, Gary Marks, had done two separate pushes to have a hospital district created. The first was done when GRMC was still a privately run entity. The second was after GRMC was taken over by Somervell County and made public due to difficulties in functioning financially. At the time of the second push for a hospital district, GRMC put out a promotional video using hospital premises, doctors and other staff to push for the creation of a hospital district, which would enact a new tax for the county. Due to a question I had about whether the OSA funds could possibly be comingled and unaccounted for public relations purposes,
http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=14913
I decided to ask in 2013 for the actual written documents showing the doctor’s requests as well as their reports afterward proving how they spent the money. Again, this money is optional, and beyond what a doctor is paid contractually. When I asked via an open records request, I discovered that Glen Rose Medical Center’s CFO (at the time Michael Honea) was not following that procedure, instead simply adding money to the 501a account
Emails between Sharla Collins, admin of Glen Rose Medical Center and myself included in complaint to sheriff’s
department. Note that I had asked for not only copies of the agreements, but also “All copies of any reports in which
money is shown to have been approved, from January 2013 to current date (August 8 2013) for the 501a (Glen Rose
Healthcare Inc) above what the management agreement specifies; ie, shortfall type money. 3. All copies of any reports in
which money is shown to have been approved, from January 2013 to current date (August 8 2013) to be spent at Pecan
Family Medical Center in Hood County, including payments to doctors, equipment purchases or rental, lease payments or
anything else financial”. First I was told by Sharla Collins that “There are no written agreements, including management
agreements, between Glen Rose Healthcare, Inc. and Somervell County Hospital Authority, Somervell County Hospital
District, and/or Glen Rose Medical Center. As such, there are no documents responsive to this request.” She was wrong.
The shocking part, however, was when I asked again about copies of the written requests made by the 501a for the extra
OSA monies, Collins said “The CFO manages cash for both the hospital and the 501(a). When payroll or accounts payable
are prepared for the hospital and the 501(a) an analysis of available cash is made. If there is not available cash in the 501(a) account to meet the requirements of the 501(a), the CFO makes a transfer of cash from the hospital operating account to the 501(a) operating account. A formal request is not made. The transfer of cash is recorded by journal entry and the running total is recorded in the due to and due from balance sheet accounts of both the 501(a) and the Glen Rose Medical Center.” Read that again carefully. No controls, no following the management contract, no way for the public to know how their tax money was being spent as extra transfers, and no follow up to be sure that the money was spent the way a supposed request by doctors specified. That, to me, is the very definition of a slush fund.
At that point, I sent in a complaint to the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department asking them to investigate
http://salon.glenrose.net/images/hh/com ... 02013r.pdf
I believed and continue to, that simply adding money to an account without corroborating requests and documentation is the very definition of a slush fund. Andrew Lucas was the elected county attorney at that time. The 501a contract was due to expire at the end of 2014, and a new one needed to be voted on. Because of Schedule C, in which the procedure of how to give optional additional money to the doctors was included, I was following the actions of the elected board with interest. In the meeting held on August 21, 2014, Chip Harrison, the board president, along with some others, voted not to follow the 501a contract that required this level of accountability. Paul told me about the meeting when he got home and I was outraged. It was more than irresponsible for the board to vote against following this contract. I updated that blog post several times over the next week, to include video of the exchange, and, later than that, how absurd it was that I, as a woman, was being slighted re the actual writing of the blog post by Best’s 2nd petition charge. I also knew Darrell Best so it
was surprising, and insulting, to me that he would accuse Paul of writing a post that was actually mine on a blog
that belongs to me.
Andy Lucas, Somervell County Attorney, also knew that I had not simply written about the 501a contract but had sent a written complaint to the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department. Just how much did I write about what I considered a slush fund? Quite a bit, going back years!
List of blog articles with the tag 501a, written by “Salon” http://salon.glenrose.net/searchresults.asp?tag=501a
Lucas had replied to my complaint via email to me , after I prodded him after receiving no reply, by telling me that the remedy was to file a civil lawsuit.
Andy Lucas also knew that I had more than a strong interest in the 501a contracts and that the complaint sent to the sheriff's department came from me, not Paul. Therefore, I believed Lucas had no reason not to ta least responsibly investigate this charge of Best's, first of who wrote the post, but Lucas apparently did not bother. As a side note, I also complained about Somervell County taxpayer money going to Pecan Plantation, a private gated community in Hood County, which has its own hospital district, and for which residents of Hood County pay zero taxes. I figured at the very least Lucas could ask the attorney general for an opinion about whether it was legal to spend tax money for one county in another county's hospital district territory, particularly when the clinic is not for a public purpose nor freely open to the public. This became even more critical after Somervell County created its own hospital district. The clinic at Pecan Plantation/Hood County was and is not a public clinic for the needy open to all, but one must have permission to go through the gate (with a guard) and Reynolds has said on the record that the clinic is for Pecan Plantation residents.
Somervell County Salon blog posting: "Ray Reynolds Says that Pecan Family Medical Center for Pecan Plantation residents, not Somervell County- http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=16610
This gives the appearance that operating a clinic in another county that has its own hospital district is for cash cow purposes, and, I believe, highly illegal.
I also for some years video recorded some City of Glen Rose government meetings, in which Andy Lucas was the city attorney at the time, and posted the video not only on the blog but on Youtube. I know from the recordings that he saw me and was aware that I was recording him.
At the Somervell County Hospital District board meeting of August 21, 2014, same one where the aforesaid proposed tax rate was discussed, the board president, Chip Harrison, voted to table a discussion about the 501a agreement. Harper had, on the agenda
Discuss/Take Action on current "Management Services and Healthcare Accessibility Agreement Between Somervell County Hospital Authority and Glen Rose Healthcare Inc
He came back from the meeting that night, I asked him what had happened at the meeting and he told me that Chip Harrison had voted to table the discussion. Ron Hankins had made the motion to table this until the Sept 11 meeting, seconded by Brett Nabors. Moation carried 6:1. When I heard Harrison, the dang board president, had voted to table talking about unaccountable money, I hit the roof. I went to my computer and wrote a blog post entitled "Shame on you, Chip Harrison, you LIKE the Glen Rose Medical Center Operating an Illegal Slush Fund?". About an hour later, I also wrote a letter to the editor of the Glen Rose Reporter because I was so ticked off.
Some of the people on the Somervell County Hospital board voted AGAINST following an existing management contract with the 501a doctor organization (8/21/2014). That contract, atttested to by Ray Reynolds in previous audits, has GRMC managing some services for the doctors and also says that if doctors need monies beyond that they make from their practice, that they must come to the hospital with a request for OSA (shortfall) money and then, after (and IF) the monies have been approved, come back with a written document showing how the monies were used. I asked in a public information request last year for copies of the requests from the 501a, including the later reports showing that the money was spent as requested, and was told by Ray Reynolds that GRMC didn't have any written documentation. I was a little stumped and asked, then how do you know if the doctors are asking for these additional monies or how they spent the money? I was told in an email that Michael Honea manages the account for the 501a and if he sees the account is getting low, he puts in more money. That is the epitome of a slush fund. No accountability, and definitely not following the contract as written and signed.
Not only that but the 501a, which, again is a NOT part of the hospital but a separate organization20, is listed in the
GRMC budget. Why? Presumably, like with any other private company, they are making money from their patient
practice and it is ONLY if they have to come begging for taxpayer money that GRMC can make the decision to give
it to them.. or not. (Except of course since there are no requisitions, who knows what the heck the money is going
for?) Having them included as part of the budget is misleading.
At the meeting on Thursday, August 21, Paul Harper made a motion to follow the agreement as written (since it is
not being done now). Gee, what a concept. Amazingly, 4 of the board members voted against doing that. Not only
does that raise questions about why these board members would be fine with transferring public money to private
accounts without oversight and records, but one has to wonder why they would put GRMC’s reputation as one
that honors contracts at risk. I suggest that every person ask the 4 people who voted against following the 501a
management agreement and taxpayer accountability why they did that. Those people were Brent Nabors, Ron
Hankins, Chip Harrison and Karen Burroughs. I myself find this highly unethical to vote against following an existing
4.5 year contract which even the County previously (when GRMC was run under an authority) had the scruples to
As a woman, I vote too , I had voted for Chip Harrison and I expected him to be responsible. Keeping in mind
that I had already complained about this to the sheriff’s department, it ought to be clear that I gave a hoot
about what went on at the hospital board meeting. . I also wrote a letter to the editor on October 17, 2014, sent
to Brent Addleman of the Glen Rose Reporter through email, because I was still so astounded and offended
over what these silly men were doing. My letter to the editor was published.
Never Posted as Me
In a lawsuit Darrell Best has filed, with the help of Andy Lucas, against my husband Paul Harper, Best,
astonishly, uses a post I wrote myself on my blog Somervell County Salon entitled “Shame On You Chip
Harrison” about the slush fund Glen Rose Medical Center is operating.
Best claims that either my husband wrote it was “salon” using my account or that I acted as an “agent”
on his behalf. I am not an elected official and my husband has never posted as me (salon) and I do not
post on his behalf or act as his stenographer.
Best knows that I am "salon", I video recorded him at many government meetings and we have had political conversations on more than one occasion.
Mr Lucas will also remember a complaint I lodged with the sheriff's department, with Greg Doyle, in August 2013 about the GRMC slush fund. Last I checked, being a female citizen entitles me to write commentary under my own screen name, myself, on my own site that I manage, without somebody deliberately using misdirection to try to attribute opinions to other than the person who wrote them. The most charitable way to say this is that Best is pushing an untruth and I say "Shame On You, Darrell Best".
D** Harper aka "Salon"
Darrell Best is not originally from Somervell County, Texas, had moved here after us from an upscale area west of Dallas. Best had most recently run fo the office of Somervell County judge (he lost to Danny Chambers). Since then he began to regularly attend Somervell County Hospital District board meetings. I wondered if he was attempting to ratchet up his numbers in a future election by going after the hospital voting crowd. Or perhaps he had been privately assured that if Paul was removed from the board, he would be appointed in his stead.
He and I had had some experience together. If I had been completely unknown to Darrell Best, I might understand a little bit how he could have been so ignorant as to list charge #2 against Paul. But he not only has had no excuse, he has known me for years, including sharing email, personal conversations and even posting on my blog, Somervell County Salon. It led me to wonder if someone else actually wrote up that second complaint, someone who had no knowledge of the blog, that a woman owns and manages it. After all, the complainant took umbrage at how an elected official, Ron Hankins and an at-will employee Ray Reynolds, were characterized, but it wasn't Darrell Best who would have had his feelings hurt.
I had known him for some years, including going on a trip to Panther Cave, which I video recorded. Panther Cave is a non-public local site in which an ancestral family, the Stephens, lived in a cave in the era when the area was being settled, and encountered a panther. Some people had won, via a raffle, an opportunity to go onto the private property and enjoy a tour and commentary, arranged by Bussey.
Somervell County Salon blog post: video Panther Cave http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=10589
Bussey, knowing that I so frequently video recorded government events and other activities, asked me to come record the outing. While there, Darrell Best told me it was nice of my husband to let me use his camera, which nonplussed me into no reply. I did think it was indicative of what he might believe about a woman's subordinate role since it didn't occur to him that could be, and was, my own camera. Maybe he was from an era where women didn't own video cameras. Other women told me that they considered him a woman-hater, misogynistic. One said he had treated her dismissively at a government meeting.
I also have a photo I took of him at the Chamber of Commerce, mano y womano when I interviewed him for about an hour about the GREDC, of which he had volunteered to sit on the committee and act as president. I ail to understand how he would represent Paul as writing a post on my blog.
Somervell County Salon blog post: Several documents about the Glen Rose Economic Development Corporation (4b) 22 Jul 2010 http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=12806
For some years, I video recorded a lot of government meetings. This included some City of Glen Rose meeting, in which I criticized some actions he took as an appointed, unelected official on the Glen Rose Economic Development Board (GREDC). He had voted to recommend to spend $80,000 without a contract for a short-lived play production called "Land of the Dinosaurs".
Somervell County Salon blog post: "4b Money to Land of the Dinosaurs- No Contract" http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=13113
The original pitch came from Jay Clayton who first went to the Somervell County Commissioners Court. Clayton told them that they were developing private funding and didn't want anything from the commissioners.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Land of the Dinosaurs said back in September they had private funding and didn't need money" http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=11885
But in February of 2010, they were asking for funding from the City of Glen Rose, most particularly through those extra tax dollars that GREDC was bringing in.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Video-Land of the Dinosaurs pitch to Glen Rose Town Council for Freb 2010 part 2 " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=11886
The GREDC made recommendations to the elected City of Glen Rose Town Council, which the City could accept or reject. The City of Glen Rose voted to approve the GREDC recommendation and awarded $80,000 without even a contract.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "The Land of the Dinosaurs 80 thousand dollar investment without a contract-status of open records request" http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=13641
Don't know about anyone else, but I consider that worse than irresponsible. At one city meeting in that same time frame, an auditor came and told the Glen Rose Town Council that they could not invest money in a show called "Land of the Dinosaurs" but the money had to be in the form of a promissory note (Too late!)
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Is GREDC *investing* in Land of the Dinosaurs or does LOD have to pay it back (Promissory Note) " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=13602
After the meeting, I was talking with one of the council members, Dr Mike Jones, and asked if I could have a copy of the auditor's document.Best yelled out from the other side of the room for Dr Mike not to give it to me.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Darrell Best of GREDC orders 4b board member to hide meeting documents from citizen" http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=13597
Best also had said he had invested in the Land of the Dinosaurs show himself, leading not only me but a number of people to wonder why he didn't recuse himself from any votes about this. There was an attempt over the years to somehow get the money back from the failed Land of the Dinosaurs company, but because there had been no contract written up at the time of the vote, ultimately the City wrote the $80,000 off the books.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "2015-What Happened to that $80000 without a contract for Land of the Dinosaurs that Darrell Best pushed?" http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15462
Another time he voted to take money from the GREDC to give to the private local Chamber of Commerce (He was president of both entities at the time). I considered this rather smarmy and self-serving. Citizens of Glen Rose had voted to collect an additional tax specifically to award for those who had written proposals for projects that would benefit the city. If the local Chamber could not afford to pay an events coordinator, then perhaps there was something faulty about its management. A broader question is whether it was legal for the GREDC to use funds for a chamber-fun events coordinator and whether the man leading the public service board allocating those monies was being ethical to try to give money to the entity he was managing at that point.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Is it even legal for GREDC/4b to use funds for a chamber-run events coordinator? " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=13615
At that time, I made a satirical photo of him on one of my blog posts. The post was about his voting to take money from the 4b (Glen Rose Economic Board-GREDC) board and giving it to the Chamber of Commerce, which still strikes me as a huge conflict of interest and improper. He was upset and told me in a recess during a City of Glen Rose meeting, finger a-wagging in my face, in the hallway that was full of people, that I should remove that picture of he would sue me. I didn't remove my picture. I believed, and still do, that someone that decides to be in the public eye, in a governmental position, should be accountable to the public for decisions and potential monies spent.
Darrell Best alluded to this his testimony during the first Removal Hearing of Paul Harper
Q. Did you ever accuse Mrs. Harper of making blog posts that you believe were derogatory towards you?
A. I remember a blog post that I wasn't very happy with. I don't know if I classified it as derogatory, but yes, we did have a discussion about a blog post that I didn't appreciate.
Clearly Best knew it was me that did the satirical photo as well as the blog post.
Also while Chamber president, he allegedly attempted to buy the Palace Theatre in downtown Glen Rose through the 4b (GREDC) for the Chamber and got into a dustup with Billy Huckaby, who insinuated Best was lying about the process. At the time, the Chamber of Commerce and Billy Huckaby,who worked for the city in the Hotel/Motel tax area shared space in the same building, and also apparently could overhear conversations. According to then-mayor Pam Miller, Best did not come prepared with not only specific written proposals, but evidence of how the Chamber would pay to rent the Palce Theatre facilities; the money to buy the Palace would be a significant outlay.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Video from 4b/GREDC -Purchasing the Palace Theatre pros and cons -Part 1 " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=11668
Best wanted the 4b not to run the facility but lease it out to an entitey that would run it, his own private Chamber of Commerce.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Video-Darrell Best of the Glen Rose chamber asks Billy Huckaby if he's calling him a liar 5 Feb 2010 " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=11841
Darrell Best was involved in some economic development activity that badly needed some light shed on it, including the SR2O deal, an attempt made to give freebies tax free to an unproven company (Just ask TJ Sims about it, who at one time had the Happy Hippo coffee/sandwich shop).
Somervell County Salon blog post: "SR20 articles " http://salon.glenrose.net/searchresults.asp?tag=sr2o
SR20 was a company that wanted a recycling center for tires, did not want to have to pay taxes, and wanted to lease land that would have been acquired by Somervell County without the company paying a dime.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Pig in a Poke SR2O and the Desperate Commissioners of Somervell County " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15115
Where did Darrell Best come into this? He had started his own economic development committee that decided to take $25,000 and get a guy named Wes Jurey out of Arlington, Texas, to send a company here to pitch business; it appeared to me based on some articles from different parts of the country, that Jurey may have had client companies that he sent out to communities.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "So.. has SR2O been playing Somervell County for suckers while putting pressure on Alvarado? " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15115
Best was, at the time, wanting to become Somervell County Commisioners Court Judge (he lost to Danny Chambers). As a side note, then-Judge Mike Ford also pitched targeted meetings with Wes Jurey, also about a company Prometheus, as did Darrell Best.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Mike Ford and Prometheus- email " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15119
Here's my point. When Darrell Best put in the petition to remove Paul, he already knew me, knew that I had a blog, Somervell County Salon, and that I had written many times about him on it, in details, and quite often, unfavorably. He had also himself posted on the blog before.
Here is one example from June 2010. (screen grab done in 2018 with an updated photo of myself, Salon. Darrell Best had started a group to contest a hill-stripping company that was decimating the landscape, on the west side of Somervell County. On one occasion, a number of people went down to a TCEQ meeting in Austin to give public comment, including Paul, who had taken my camera down to record the meeting. In Best's comment on my blog entry, he thanks Paul for coming down to record it.
And I had emails between he and I.
Somervell County Salon blog post: "Emails between Darrell Best and D Harper re: Land of the Dinosaurs-12 Dec 2014 " http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15376
Here is an example, from the aforesaid link, of an email thread from August 2010 in which I did an open records request asking him for budget information. In the email, he asks me to have Paul contact him, not about anything having to do with city business, but because Darrell wanted Paul to help him with a computer problem. This particular exchange shows he knew not only us both but knew who he was writing to versus Paul.
So what reason could Best have had for complaining in his removal petition about a blog post I did about what I called a "slush fund", enough to falsely accuse Paul of writing it? There are 3 people I did criticize in the post, the Somervell County board president, Chip Harrison, the CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center, Ray Reynolds, as well as an existing board member. Ronald D Hankins. The slush fund post, while caustic, was not directed towards Best, at all.. Note that Ron Hankins was shown to have been the one who actually wrote the petition, in a deposition taken in 2019.
Best's petition complaint about Harper's supposed blog post is entirely disingenuous and insults any woman who believes she should be treated as an adult.
Although I certainly took umbrage to this farce, there’s another question here. Suppose it had been true, which
it wasn’t, that Paul had actually written the post or instructed me what to say (brrrrr, gives me chills down my
back even to write that because it’s so sexist). Had they been his posts, which would have been posted under his
name and picture, didn’t he have the right of freedom of speech to write what he wanted? In other words, once
a person, man or woman, becomes elected, they no longer have a right to express themselves except as a set of
rules dictates on a given elected forum? That would mean that anytime any elected official ever gave a
newspaper or television interview, or wrote on their own websites any type of opinion, they would be breaking
the law. And who is it that gets to decide whether the opinion is all right to be spoken or written? Essentially,
Darrell Best, and possibly someone else behind the scenes, wanted to be the censor of what could properly be
said and whose opinion counted , and thus showed himself to be against the constitutional freedom of speech.
And that once elected, Paul could no longer express himself freely from the dais, or from an internet or other
publishing medium of his choice.
P.S. The blog post was originally on http://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp?v ... k&id=15197 I have since migrated over to this forum, and will be putting the old blog up as an archive
You may wonder why Paul Harper had as one of the platforms he was running on to be a board member of the
hospital district to replace the administration. That of course, included Ray Reynolds, who was well aware of this
and referred to it during the removal hearing.
No Employee Evaluation for Ray Reynolds in violation of hospital board bylaws https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15917 (eventually, some years later, he was evaluated)
In fact, Ron Hankins, working with Andy Lucas, was so worried about the process of even giving at‐will
employee Ray Reynolds a required evaluation , that he attempted to restrain Paul from even attending a
board meeting. The problem for both Hankins and Lucas is that replacing the administration is what Paul ran on,
from the beginning, so there is no way anyone could wrongly, as they did, win by insinuating there was some
sort of revenge at work. Another time, in May 2015, , Paul put in for an agenda item to evaluate Reynolds. Dr
Karen Burroughs removed that from the agenda. (Video)https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15674
Ray Reynolds Hid Facts about Hospital Employee Embezzling money
Some background facets. At one point, an employee of Glen Rose Medical Center, Janice Nickell, who was then
Human Resource Director, embezzled money. She was paid some money and the action was kept quiet, except
for a public information request which brought it to light.
“Kristina and I met with Janice again on about May 22. I informed her that I had made the decision to
ask for her resignation. I told her because she had been an employee of Glen Rose Medical Center for 23
years that I would pay her the PTO balance in exchange for her agreeing to me withholding the amount in question from the PTO payment plus signing a Severance Document that I would have our attorney prepare. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15070
Ray Reynolds avoided firing a woman, who embezzled from a church and was charged with a felony. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15803
Ray Reynolds Tried to Hide Doctor Salaries Although They are Public Information https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15907
Ray Reynolds did not want anyone to know what taxpayers paid for doctors and for his salary https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15963 In fact, the
Judge in District court was quite surprised when Paul told him during hearing testimony that Reynolds wouldn’t
let the board know those amounts nor allow them to see the doctor contracts.
Ray Reynolds comingled funds that were required to be kept separate when given
the 14.4 million. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=11702
When the money from the COS was made available to GRMF, those funds were contractually supposed to be
kept in a separate reserve account. Ray Reynolds did not follow that contract. This lead to Walter Maynard, who
was then Somervell County Judge, said if the separating of funds was not complied with, it would make the
Did you know that Somervell County Hospital District owns property in Pecan
Plantation in Hood County?https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15823
What’s interesting about this is that means besides the money that taxpayers pay for a clinic at Pecan
Plantation, in a county which already has a hospital district and Hood County residents pay no taxes for, while
we do, there is also property tax money going to Hood County.
Ray Reynolds Salary was Listed in Two different places in the budget, one with
obscure information https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=16613
Paul called this information out during a budget meeting in October 2015.
Harper: I have a couple of questions. Under administration, your salary, it shows $112,000?
Reynolds: No, there's another allocation. So that salary is allocated to 2 other departments.
Harper: So your entire salary is not $112,000?
Reynolds: It's more than that
Harper: Where's the rest of the money coming from?
Whitsett: WE allocate to the clinic. We allocate some of the accounting salaries, some of the (locking?)
salries, some of the HR salaries are allocated to the clinic.
Harper: So, where in here?
Whitsett‐ actually under the Purchase Services for the clinic because they are purchasing our services..
makes up some of the purchases services for the clinic.
Harper: What tab is this under?
Whitsett: Very last tab which is the general department. $165,000.
Harper: How much of that is the administrator's salary?
Whitsett‐I have to go pull that up, I can do that
Reynolds: We covered all this in our budget workshop. Total salary, is that what you're asking for?
Harrison: Prior to the budget workshop, I know there was a point that Eugene had asked for salaries and
Paul had asked for salaries and those were provided. I think I've probably also seen one on the internet.
Harper: So why is it under purchase services?
Whitsett‐we're just allocating a part of the salary over to the clinic so we call it a purchase service
Harrison: Because of his administrative role over the 501a.
Reynolds: Total salary is $158,000
Harper: So the clinic's paying 46,000. 46,000 of that purchase allocation is yours.
Although Ray Reynolds Griped about Paul Harper’s Secretary Minutes, he didn’t
keep his own minutes at all
During Ray Reynolds testimony at the first removal hearing, he was asked about both minutes that were
supposed to be kept for the 501a meetings. Apparently there were no meetings held and no minutes kept.
Q. Does -- does that 501 keeps minutes?
Q. Who keeps those minutes?
A. I keep those.
Q. And have you ever been requested to turn over a copy of those minutes to the board of
the hospital district?
A. I've had a request from Mr. Harper.
Q. Okay. And you've not turned over those minutes to him, have you?
A. I -- I informed him that I did not find any of those in my file.
Q. I'm sorry. What?
A. I did not find any of those minutes in my file.
Q. These minutes are just like the ones the hospital district is suppose to keep?
A. Yes. We're required to have an annual meeting, and I could not find a copy of the
annual meeting --
Q. I didn't ask you about an annual meeting.
A. All right.
Q. I'm asking about the minutes that we've already talked about as being so important, and
the fact that you brought my client here and have talked about how deficient he is in his
duties as the secretary for the way and the manner that he keeps the minutes. Has he found
all the minutes for the hospital district?
A. I don't know the answer to that.
Ron Hankins griped about them too. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15178 I know because I have followed open records on the internet, that
Somervell County Hospital District did not keep minutes on the Glen Rose Medical Center website, as they were
supposed to. When Paul was the secretary, he sent a copy, via email, of the minutes to an “Ashley” who would
then post them on the website
Ron Hankins noted that the commissioners court signs the minutes, although he appeared not to know
that the digitized copy is not kept on the Somervell County website. Paul Harper said that after the
minutes are approved copies are sent to the public relations director for posting on the website and a
copy to Ray Reynolds, that all the minutes have been provided to administrator Ray Reynolds. "If you
think they haven't been, I have emails that will show otherwise". Ron Hankins then talks about how it's
a good idea for them to start signing minutes.
Ray Reynolds "We've asked for copies of the minutes and
you've referred us to the website". Paul Harper, that's right, we need one copy posted on the website
and everyone pull for there and that way you don't screw up and have multiple copies floating around...
we never signed them, we approved them but we never signed. Ron Hankins‐well, we need to start
signing them. Pau Harper Is that documented somewhere that they need to be signed? Ron Hankins It
says in the bylaws article 11 that the district shall keep the minutes Paul Harper I have no problem
signing them. Nobody's ever brought it up until now, first I've heard of anyone signing. Ray Reynolds, if
you will send those to me and I'll see that they're posted on the website and that they're filed away in
the official binder. Ron Hankins then goes on to imply that the secretary, with only one signature, can
make up whatever he wants to. Paul Harper: That's fine from now on I'll have signatures for all us with
the minutes. Ron Hankins‐ Bless You. Bless you. Paul Harper You don't have to be a smart aleck about it
If you bring up a suggestion about it, I'm happy to oblige. Ron Hankins makes a motion to get minutes
signed. Paul Harper‐ I may not have ccd Sharla on the emails but I ccd you Ray on the emails I sent to
Ashley and I had her post them on the website so I did not fabricate sending them to you, they are in
I was curious to see what section 11 of the bylaws says but it has nothing about requiring signatures. I
do think it's a good idea to sign them, appears to be different on WHO signs them depending on which
governmental entity we're talking about, but doing so isn't in the bylaws.
…. It takes some dang nerve for Ron Hankins to insinuate, without a shred of proof, that Harper might
have been changing the minutes after approval. Had he taken 30 seconds to confirm with Ashley, who
took the approved minutes as soon as sent and posted to the website OR EVEN CHECKED WITH HIS
OWN COPY, he would presumably have not had the nerve to try to peddle that swill. (And he obviously
didn't know or chose to obscure, that the Bylaws Do NOT REQUIRE that the minutes be signed. I actually
agree with that, but wonder why Mr. Whiner didn't bring this up before as, since he's the self‐appointed
authority on all things bylaw, wouldn't he have chosen to bring this up immediately instead of using this
as another later attack on a fellow board member? If he didn't actually know until this last meeting or
think about it, and given it wasn't in the DANG BYLAWS, why should anyone else?) , But of course he was doing this as the Hankins Medicine Show barker, throwing out chum with a sneer for the gullible in
the audience who won't take the time themselves to see that the snake oil has no medicinal value.
…. I was in a county commissioners office the other day and asked about the county budget and he was
giving me a copy when we confirmed that the budget was on the website, ONE copy, for ALL to see and
… is there anything that STOPS people from being CIVIL while disagreeing? Apparently so for Ron
Hankins and some of the thugs in the audience, including some prominent people, that believe it's their
right to act be disruptive simply because they don't personally agree with other's opinions. GROW UP!
The Hospital Authority Board (pre‐District) passed over more than 90 qualified
candidates to pick Ray Reynolds as CEO https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=14790
Along with this, one of the reasons Larry Shaw told the Glen Rose Reporter that he hired Ray Reynolds was
because they wanted a Somervell County resident. Ray Reynolds at that point lived in Erath County and
apparently continued to live there instead of Somervell County for at least 2 more years.151
Employees cannot be board members, yet Dr Vacek was. .
Doctors are employees. In contravention of Hospital District law, Dr Vacek sits on the board. 152 Vacek has
said on a number of occasions that he considers himself an employee of the hospital153, just not the same as
*others* that work at the hospital.
Glen Rose Medical Center commented on political issues on Facebook,154 and on their Glen Rose Medical Center
page, expressed negative opinions about LBGT. Bigoted and/or partisan statements could cause them to lose
Complaints against Ray Reynolds and Somervell County Hospital District by Dr
Albert Turk and Shelley Turk
This was a huge issue. Dr Turk and his wife, who was a nurse at Glen Rose Medical Center, were very concerned
about safety issues at the hospital. Dr Turk attempted to bring his issues to the attention of Ray Reynolds but
I recently did a couple of public information requests to the Somervell County Hospital District. In particular, I asked for
communications between doctors/other medical personnel and board members.Here is the latest request I did, on October 23,
I am requesting, in electronic format, the following. I would like this sent back in email or if not possible, would be
happy to come inspect the records in person at a mutually convenient time.
All communications between any and all current hospital board members and any and all doctors and/or medical
staff that work for Glen Rose Medical Center and/or Pecan Family Medical Center since 10/14/2014 through this
date (10/23/2014). This includes all emails, notes or text messages (any form of written communication), excluding
any information that could violate HPPA laws or attachments in emails that are publicly available.
I received the following directly as responsive to that request from the board president. Honestly, I was pretty shocked to read this, my comments below. (I blacked out the name of the doctor who wrote this letter).
Now, here is a transcript of what this letter says, interspersed with my comments
Bravo to this doctor for continuing to push for improvements in the hospital and patient care.
And bravo to the board member, president, who got TORCH put on the agenda. I personally haven't followed TORCH closely except that my understandiing is that a consultant affiliated with TORCH was hired in some way, and that on Sep 11, the board went into executive session to discuss and on Sep 18, implementing TORCH recommendations. and again on
agenda on Sept 25.
Texas State Department of Health and Human Services Paid a Visit to Glen Rose.
Their list of violations is in this post. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15799
The board packet with the DHHS report, including specific significant violations, was on the Glen Rose
Medical Center for almost two years1. It contained also a patient record of someone from Granbury with
identifying information.https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=16788
Federal Lawsuit filed by Turks Against Somervell County Hospital District and Ray
Reynolds in 2015
In August of 2015, the Turks filed a federal lawsuit against Somervell County Hospital District and Ray Reynolds.
Several years later, the lawsuit has been dismissed due to Somervell County Hospital District having sovereign
immunity against being sued. Note that none of the safety issues or validity of various claims were litigated and
Darrell Best and Ron Hankins Wanted to Remove Duly Elected Harper from Office
Darrell Best had run for Somervell County Judge and had been defeated by Danny Chambers. Right from the start, the very day Harper was sworn in as board member on the hospital district board, Best and Ray Reynolds, the CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center, were attempting to get him off the board.
Incidentally, on the day BEFORE all this when the decisions were being made who would appear where on the ballott, Angie Robertson said she could be bribed. https://salon.glenrose.net/default.asp? ... k&id=15110
Paul’s first 3 months on the board BEFORE the lawsuit
On the day when election results were to be certified, the unelected board didn’t bother to open the results envelope
The temporary board that had been set in place by the passing of the district, were to come in and certify the
election results for the first real election. They 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.
Ray Reynolds and Darrell Best wanted a hospital employee to speak against Paul Harper at the very first meeting when newly elected members were being sworn in May 2014.
Apparently, at least one person involved in this lawsuit was attempting to find or start collecting grounds to remove Paul from the very first day of being sworn in. Remember that one of the main agenda items Paul ran on was to replace the administration, and that would include the CEO, Ray Reynolds, of the hospital. The timing of the filed petition makes it appear that Best, perhaps with conversation with others involved in the hospital district, believed that Paul exercising freedom of speech and my blog post criticizing the board, attributed to him, provided an *incompetency* charge.
I Shelley Turk talked to Paul Harper the day he was sworn in as a Glen Rose Medical Center board member
sometime in may of 2014. Immediately after the board meeting was adjourned, I asked Mr. Harper what his
plans were going to be as a board member. Mr. Harper told me that he planned on doing what he said he
would do during his campaign. After everyone left the hospital meeting except employees, Michael Honea and
Ray Reynolds asked me what Mr. Harper said to me. I told them he said his plans are to do what he said he
would do in his campaign. Ray Reynolds asked if I would write the entire conversation down because it may
be useful at some point. Then, at the next board meeting (which was also sometime in may) Darrell Best
asked me again to write down everything that Mr. Harper said to Tammy and I and sign it. Darrell Best said “it
may be helpful in getting Mr. Harper off the board.” I told Mr. Best ok.
Shelley Turk RN, MSN
Didn't know this at the time, but it came out in the deposition in 2019 that Ron Hankins had been the one that wrote up the petition, emailed it to Darrell Best, who took it to a different attorney. Best brought an email to the deposition that proved this, and then Hankins had to admit it when he was shown the email.
Here is Best saying that Gary Lewellyn was the attorney that did the petition. But the emails that Darrell brought clearly show that he received the petition which (hankins) had worked up via email before he went to Lewellyn
When Hankins was shown the email he sent
Hankins was asked why he didn't file the peition himself since he was the one that wrote the petition and he said it was because he was on the board. This comes into play at another time when he didn't recuse himself from a vote regarding Harper, a conflict of interest that he apparently sought to keep hidden.
As an interesting sidenote, in October of 2014, Best wrote an email to "Ron" regarding an open records request he was doing but accidentally sent it to the wrong email.
"You should expect to be sued" said Ron Hankins.
If you do what's right, and that you know in your heart and mind what's right for these residents, then you shouldn't be worried about being sued. But if you come in here with a pre-made up agenda to do something and when you get elected, you start doing stuff like that, then that's what's going to happen to you
This quote is from Ron Hankins, then elected Somervell County hospital district board member, and former Somervell County attorney, about another elected board member, Paul Harper. (Harper got more votes than Hankins did) Hankins clearly didn't like the platform that Harper publicly ran on and believed that Harper should have changed his agenda once he was elected to agree with Hankins. Is that right? Telling people what your positions are when you run for office, and then getting elected because people agree with your positions should cause you to be sued by the disgruntled? I could not have imagined that living in small county Somervell, the second smallest county in Texas, and running for political office would bring out the very worst traits from those who imagined their power to be threatened. Or that having a difference of political opinion would cause one man, with the direct intervention and control of the county attorney, Andrew Lucas, as well as support from the precious county attorney, Ronald Hankins, to try and remove an elected official, Harper, from office.
The Glen Rose Reporter quoted Ron Hankins in an article after he said such a bullying threat. Ron Hankins, Somervell County Hospital District board member and, as he was often fond of repeating, former Somervell County Attorney, saying that people should expect to be sued if they ran on known agendas, got elected and then tried to implement those agendas.
He was video recorded saying that, and it’s the philosophical heart of this entire case. How DARE someone not
get with the program and actually try to do what he or she ran on?
Ron Hankins is sorely in need of being educated on whether candidates for office and/or elected officials have agendas. One wonders how in the fool Hankins makes a determination on who to vote for? Does he stick his finger into the wind? Blindfold himself and pick out a name from a hat? Hah! Or maybe he wants to make himself into the Voting Police to ensure that ONLY the candidates he likes with the agenda he likes get voted in.
I wrote a letter to the editor of the Glen Rose Reporter about this absurdity in June 2015
“Letter to the editor
At the meeting of the Somervell County Hospital District May 28 2015, Ron Hankins, board member, said "If you do what's right, that you know in your heart and your mind is right, for the residents of this district, then you shouldn't worry about having to get sued. But if you come in here with a pre-made up agenda to do something and that's the reason you get elected, and you start doing stuff like that, that's what's going to happen to you."
So Ron Hankins doesn't believe in informed citizenry, who examine what a candidate promises or at least hopes to get done, order to make voting choices that reflect their own opinions and wishes. Hankins believes that if a candidate does say what he or she is running on, ie, has a platform or agenda, that a person should expect to be sued if elected. And sued, if that elected person continues to try to pass the agenda. He believes his own opinion trumps others, including his own personal viewpoints of what is right or wrong. Did he approve of his wife carrying a threat letter to John Parker?
Hankins either was sleeping during civics class or has a fundamental misunderstanding of how democratic elections work. People not only can want to know what candidates plan if elected to office but don't like it when the candidate won't say. And, after being elected? I want the people i voted for to do what they said they were going to, ie, keep their promises. There is no requirement that once a person is elected, he or she must change viewpoints to the loudest, crabbiest voice in the room. I didn't vote for Ron Hankins because I espected, based on what he said pre-agenda, that he would act as an uncritical, blank check for the hospital and I have not been disappointed. I, however, am disappointed that I voted for Chip Harrison, whose agenda was to lower taxes, and act as a fiscal conservative.
We do not live in a dictatorship in which differing opinions are not allowed. It is odious to say an elected official will be sued because you don't agree with what got that person legally elected. Also not the "right thing" for vaguely threatening potential candidates that if someone doesn't agree with Ron Hankins, get with the program of the Good Ole Boys or one WILL be sued.
Wake up, Ron Hankins. You live in American Now.
Glen Rose, TX.
A week later someone else wrote a letter to the editor. Ron Hankins went to the police about it.http://scsalon.org/newform/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=24
Given that this was a lawsuit, and the citation for person service 40specified that he had been sued and had the
option to hire an attorney, Paul hired a very good law firm, Cantey‐Hanger, with David Dowell as the lead
attorney and Chris Brown secondary. Later on, David Dowell changed firms and Mary H Barkley took over the
“Pursuant to Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 92, Defendant denies each and every, all and singular, the
allegations in Plaintiff’s Petition, says the same are not true, in whole or in part, and demands strict
proof thereof by a preponderance of the evidence.
Pleading further, by way of affirmative defense, if that be necessary, Defendant would show that Harper
is entitled to legislative immunity from any and all claims asserted against him because he is a public
official sued for performing a legislative act in his individual capacity”