For those who may not know of the events that have unfolded: On June 2, 2010 the Texas Rangers, on a tip from five citizens who work in the Collin County District Clerk’s office, raided the Collin County Court House. In his sworn statement, Ranger Sergeant Davidson told of 5 District Clerk employees who came to him with evidence of off-the books time sheets used to pay Collin County District Clerk’s employees for time spent on Patricia Crigger’s campaign.
The affidavit charges that, “On or about the dates of December 28, 2009 and June 1, 2010, in Collin County, Texas, Patricia Wysong CRIGGER, Sherry L. BELL, Rebecca A. LITTRELL, Amy E. MATHIS, Lorrie M. ROBERTSON, Marcia E. SIMPSON, Judy A. BLAZIER, and others did then and there, with intent to establish maintain and participate in a combination and in the profits of a combination, collaborate with each other and conspire to commit the offenses of Tampering with a Governmental Record, and Theft by a Public Servant by agreeing with each other that they would engage in conduct that constituted said offenses, namely, the falsification of official Collin County time and attendance records for employees of the Collin County District Clerk’s Office and the maintenance of a separate system of accounting for their own additional program of unauthorized paid leave at Collin County Taxpayer expense…”
The affidavit makes accusations against 6 ranking employees of using the “Blue Book” to reimburse employees time taken off for campaigning and/or for campaigning on County time and with County computers and printers. In short these woman are accused of using taxpayer money to pay for their Republican campaigning activities.
Bill Baumbach of The Collin County Observer has reported on this case from day one. His articles have documented many important pieces of information. For example, The Ranger’s raid on the court house resulted in 68 items being seized, including computer hard drives, removable storage drives, calendars, binders, and 2 employee Access Cards. Because of Bill, the citizens of Collin County know what was seized. There is one more place where this information can be found so it is not likely to be “forgotten” or “lost” during the investigation.
On August 19, 2010 McKinney Courier Gazette reporter Danny Gallagher, Bill Baumbach of the Collin County Observer and Ed Housewright of the Dallas Morning News were subpoenaed and ordered to bring all articles they have written on Littrell and report to the 401st District Court on August 25.
I went to the McKinney Gazette and to the Dallas Morning News and I see that both newspapers have scrubbed all articles except for the subpoena information on Gallagher and Housewright.
However, when I went to The Collin County Observer, I see that Bill Baumbach is not so easy to muzzle.
Here is part of the latest article posted by Bill. The entire article may be read at The Collin County Observer.
The most OUTRAGEOUS thing that I find about this latest development is that one of the person who signed the subpoena is a a deputy district clerk who was mentioned in filings in this case as having been awarded at least 2 days “Blue Book” time off during the six months the Texas Rangers have investigated. Ms. Greer has not been charged with any crime.
I hope that Bill is not the only reporter in Texas with the Courage to report on this story.
Collin County Observer subpoenaed
Deric Walpole, the attorney for indicted deputy county clerk Rebecca Littrell has issued “Subpoenas Duces Tecum” to local reporters including me.
A “Subpoenas Duces Tecum” requires the recipient to both appear in court and to bring with him named papers or documents. I have been ordered to appear before the 401st District Court on August 25 and to bring “articles regarding Rebecca Littrell… including but not limited to ‘Blog’ posts and responses”.
The subpoena was signed by Sylvia Greer, a deputy district clerk who was mentioned in filings in this case as having been awarded at least 2 days “Blue Book” time off during the six months the Texas Rangers have investigated. Ms. Greer has not been charged with any crime.
The Collin County Observer will likely file a motion to quash the subpoena.