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Saturday, February 11, 2012

What the hale happened to Whitney Houston

Its hard to believe I will never hear her sing or she will never speak again. What the hale? What the hell were all these "entourage" people doing when Whitney stopped breathing? I find it hard to believe she was by herself. Just who is in charge over there? I know none of these things will bring Whitney back but why did she have to go in the first place. Couldn't she have been helped? Was she still with Bobby Brown? Was he there? Could he stand to gain from her death? God I hope not.

Friday, November 14, 2008

....the armed officers knocked down the door and shouted profanity- laced racial insults before leaving, according to the suit.

Family Claims Police Hate Crime After Obama Celebration

By Associated Press November 14, 2008 11:21 am

A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that while a huge Chicago crowd celebrated the election of the first black U.S. president, some white city police officers committed hate crimes against a black family cheering Barack Obama’s victory from home.

The federal lawsuit claims several officers discharged pepper spray on members of a family celebrating Obama’s win outside their home on the city’s West Side last week.

After some of the family members fled into the home, the armed officers knocked down the door and shouted profanity- laced racial insults before leaving, according to the suit.

The eight plaintiffs include Niger Arnold, 31, of Chicago, and her four children, who had been visiting relatives at the home.

“Chicago looked very good on national TV that night. For many people, it was the beginning of a new era in America,” attorney Gregory Kulis said. “Obviously, some Chicago police thought otherwise.”

The lawsuit, which seeks at least $50,000 in damages, claims use of excessive force, unlawful search and seizure, battery, and a hate crime. It cites only the unnamed officers and does not name the Chicago Police Department.

A separate lawsuit filed last week by Kulis claims Christina Ballard and Cornelius Voss, who are black, were driving home in Chicago with family members on election night when white officers in unmarked cars drove alongside the vehicle.

That lawsuit alleges that after some of the children cheered for Obama through the open car windows, the officers discharged pepper spray and yelled “white power” and the N-word.

Kulis said the family was able to get a partial license plate number from the unmarked cars, which were traced back to the city.

Independent Police Review Authority spokeswoman Ilana Rosenzweig said Thursday that the agency is investigating both allegations. She said the agency has received “multiple allegations” of election night misconduct by Chicago police officers but declined to give further details.

Chicago police spokeswoman Monique Bond also said that the allegations will be investigated and that the department

“does not condone or tolerate hate crimes on any level.”

“Police officers did an outstanding job protecting the city and maintaining order and peace during the Election Day and evening activities,” she said Thursday.

More than 100,000 people celebrated in downtown Chicago’s Grant Park on Nov. 4. All Chicago police were required to work. No major incidents were immediately reported, and officers cleared the park of rally-goers less than an hour after it ended.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Texas Monthly acknowledges (the de facto existence / independence) of Brownsville Herald Investigative Reporter Emma Perez-Trevino

DANNENBAUM a Smoke Screen for Lencho Rendon's Dream Team Activities /Engagement with Asia Access Corp

Monday, October 22, 2007

Perry Appointee to UT Regents Linked to Scandals

One of the three men Governor Perry appointed to the University of Texas Board of Regents last week has been linked to political scandals at opposite ends of the Rio Grande, according to several news outlets. The appointee is James Dannenbaum, chairman of Houston-based Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation, whose company has become enmeshed in corruption probes in Brownsville and El Paso.

The following summary of the situation in Brownsville represents my summary of stories done by investigative reporter Emma Perez-Trevino for the Brownsville Herald. The original stories can be found here and here. In the Brownsville case, the Port of Brownsville wanted to work with Mexico to build a bi-national bridge to Matamoros, Mexico. Brown & Root won the contract to work on the bridge and billed the Brownsville Navigation District (BND) $424,505 up through July 1997. That's when a familiar name entered the picture: state senator Eddie Lucio. The Brownsville Herald has reported that Dannenbaum Engineering Corporation (DEC) hired Lucio for marketing, consulting, and public relations work. In the course of this work, Lucio introduced the firm to the BND board. Within a month, the BND board voted to fire Brown & Root and hired DEC without requesting proposals. DEC's original contract was for $2,053,515, but a series of supplemental contracts brought DEC's take to $15.5 million. Of this money, $10,529,058 went to subcontractors in Mexico, $9.2 million of which was paid to just three companies, all of which had ties to a DEC employee. One helps startup businesses, one provides security services, and one is a real estate company. BND was required to approve all subcontracts before any work was done, but DEC entered into 16 of 17 subcontracts without requesting that approval.

Construction of the bridge depended upon securing an agreement with Mexico to perform work on its side of the Rio Grande, which DEC representatives said was forthcoming. Despite such assurances, BND never received approval from Mexico. This is not a bridge to nowhere. It is a nowhere bridge.

In 2004, BND retained Charley Willette, Jr., as a special counsel to investigate how a total of $21.4 million in taxpayer money was spent on a project that was dependent upon Mexico's support. Willete's 62-page report traced the millions paid to subcontractors in Mexico and their ties back to DEC.

Peter Zavaletta, who became chairman of the Navigation District in 2004, told the Brownsville Herald that the only work that BND received was 49 black binders in which were a couple of charts.

Perez-Trevino reported in May that a criminal inquiry into the money that was spent on the nonexistent bridge is in the hands of a special grand jury, whose term will expire in early November. Both the FBI and the Texas Rangers began looking into the situation last March.

The El Paso situation is less complex. A United Press International story last June referenced "Dannenbaum Construction" in a wide ranging federal probe in El Paso:

EL PASO, Texas, June 13 (UPI) -- A Texas man once named by President George Bush to the International Boundary and Water Commission has been labeled a "bagman" in a corruption case.

John Travis Ketner, former chief of staff to El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to commit bribery. Arturo Duran, who also is a member of the board of Thomason Hospital in El Paso, was identified as one of 17 co-conspirators in the case, the El Paso Times reported.

Federal investigators say Duran served as a go-between for two companies, Valley Risk Consulting and Dannenbaum Construction. The companies were after contracts from County Commissioners Court.

In a story about the El Paso investigation that appeared in the Herald, Perez-Trevino reported about Dannenbaum's role in the federal investigation in El Paso. These are the salient paragraphs:

In El Paso, Dannenbaum's firm allegedly is referenced as “DC” in an information report that the U.S. Attorney's Office filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on a guilty plea entered by John Travis Ketner, former chief of staff to El Paso County Judge Anthony Cobos.

Ketner pleaded guilty June 8 to two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in connection with his role in a conspiracy to fraudulently secure vendor contracts, public records show.

The El Paso Times identified "DC" as "Dannenbaum Construction" of Houston.

Noting that the name of his firm is Dannenbaum Engineering and not Dannenbaum Construction, Dannenbaum said, "our firm was not named in anything, was not referenced in anything."

According to the information report, Ketner and co-conspirators would meet with selected vendors to discuss the contracts being sought by the vendors and to settle on the amount of a bribe.

A co-conspirator allegedly acted as the intermediary and "bag man" for "DC," making and promising payments in cash or as campaign contributions to elected county officials, the information report reflects.

The report shows that on one occasion, a "DC" principal met with a county elected official. The intermediary and the elected official then entered a small bathroom in the county office and the intermediary promised a campaign contribution in exchange for the official’s votes to secure contracts for "DC".

Dannenbaum said that he did not have an intermediary, did not meet with the elected official and that no one from his office did. "Not to my knowledge," he said.

The question that naturally arises out of all this is what is going on in the governor's office? It seems to me there are only two possibilities here: Perry (1) didn't know or (2) didn't care. Even if he believes that Dannenbaum and his company have done nothing wrong (and to this point nothing official suggests otherwise), Perry has put UT in a position where one of his appointees can reflect discredit on the university. There are plenty of Texans who aren't enmeshed in criminal investigations in two cities who are qualified to be on the Board of Regents.

The other question is whether ethics rules--allow a state senator to operate a consulting business in which he introduces vendors to public officials who award contracts. I don't see how the answer can be "yes," but if it is, the rules need to change. I don't think Lucio is the only one who plays this game.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

what is interesting here is that even though Lucio has been on his payroll for years, this kind of journalism only gets done when the Republican governor appoints him to something. I guess it doesn't matter when the Valley Democrat senator is rumored to be on the take...only news when Perry, who isn't on his payroll, appoints him to something.

Great investigative journalism Paul.

October 22, 2007 4:34 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

in fact, here is a trivia question for you: among the Democrat members of the Texas Senate, which ones actually make a living legitimately? It's not just Lucio folks.

Press bias is not about how the stories are written nearly as much as it is about which stories are NOT written.

October 22, 2007 4:40 PM
Blogger Eileen Smith said...

Damn liberal media.

October 22, 2007 4:41 PM
Blogger Thunder said...

Goobner Perry stand up to his reputation... and keeps Texas Politics alive....

Just gives more fodder to write about and never a dull moment either....

October 22, 2007 5:55 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why, if that is you eileen (Ms. Pink Lady), then what better example of what you speak (yes, you may only be a blogger, but now that you are TM blog editor, that makes you media.)

October 22, 2007 6:02 PM
Blogger Eileen Smith said...

Pink Lady? Never heard of her.

Actually, I see your point on this one. Although people have questioned Lucio's business dealings before, this story didn't seem to have much traction until Dannenbaum was appointed to the UT Regents by Perry. However, at least it's getting press now.

October 23, 2007 9:57 AM
Anonymous jw said...

1) I count about 14 Senators who definitely work for their money on the up-and-up and another 9 or so who are basically retired. That's about normal.

2) At least the last five governors have appointed Mr. Dannenbaum to some volunteer board or commission -- most recently to the Sharp school tax reform panel.

3) I love the fine folks on the border. But designing and building and operating a major capital public works project on the border ain't easy.

Just saying.

October 23, 2007 12:32 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BND consultants facing prison time[Chinese illegals, S. Texas Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz (D)]
The Brownsville Herald ^ | June 11, 2006 | EMMA PEREZ-TREVIÑO

Posted on 06/11/2006 7:16:45 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch

Couple pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges

Consultants who took Brownsville Navigation District officials to China and paid U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz’s travels to the Far East are facing possible prison time after recently pleading guilty to an immigration plot involving Chinese nationals.

Sixty-four-year-old Kenneth D. Cohen, a Houston businessman and board member of the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, and his wife, Ping Lee Cohen, 54, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government in federal court in Houston.

“Mr. Ortiz was deeply disappointed that Ken and Ping broke the law, and the judge will decide the price they pay for that,” Ortiz’s spokeswoman, Cathy Travis, said Friday.

BND Deputy Director Donna Eymard said she was surprised to find out about the conviction.

“They were very professional people,” she said. “They always did a fine job for us,”

In a statement released earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said between April 2000 and October 2005, the Cohens contacted Chinese citizens who paid up to $120,000 to enter the United States and ultimately obtain citizenship.

The Cohens would bring in Chinese citizens under the false pretenses of attending business seminars or conducting business negotiations.

Rosenberg said the Cohens would recruit the owners of small U.S. companies to offer jobs to Chinese citizens. This allowed the Chinese citizens to obtain employment-based visas to enter the country and remain here on a business visa.

“The defendants then created an illusory relationship between Chinese companies and U.S. companies by submitting forged stock certificates, stock transfer ledgers and financial records in support of petitions to the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), which were then filed with the Immigration Service on behalf of their clients,” Rosenberg stated.

The Cohens would use a law office to petition the INS for the Chinese citizens to enter and remain in the U.S. as executive-level employees of the various U.S. businesses.

“The affected U.S. business owners confirmed that the supporting documents had been forged, that they never employed the Chinese citizens and that their companies were never wholly or partially owned by the Chinese companies as required to obtain this class of visa,” Rosenberg said.

The Cohens face up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. They will be sentenced later this fall.

Doing Business with BND

The Cohens have numerous corporations, a review of public records show, but in Brownsville, they were known to BND as Asia Access Corp.

Eymard started working for BND in 2000. Present board member Roy de los Santos was already on the BND board as was former board member Carl “Joe” Gayman. Former board member Sidney Lasseigne was getting ready to join the board.

The late Raul Besteiro was BND’s chief executive officer.

BND’s first payment to the Cohens’ corporation was in March 2001 in the amount of $20,000 for “consulting fees,” public records show.

By November 2002, BND had paid Asia Access $91,108. Of this amount, records indicate that $15,510 was reimbursement for a stay at the Hotel Beijing, $80 for visas to China and $5,980 for airfare to Ningbo-Hong Kong in 2001.

BND paid Asia Access a service fee of $5,000 in 2001 for a trip to China and paid the firm a consulting fee of $40,000 in July 2002.

BND officials made three trips to China between 2000 and 2003.

“I know they arranged all the Far East trips, but how they came here, I could not begin to tell you. I don’t know,” Eymard said.

De Los Santos said he also didn’t know.

Gayman said Ping Lee Cohen was BND’s tour guide in China and arranged meetings with Chinese officials and companies.

“They would arrange the trips and work out the itinerary. I never did see anything suspicious,” de los Santos said.

“From the minute we arrived, all the meetings were set up,” Eymard recalled.

Getting Close to a Congressman

Travis said that Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, has known the Cohens for more than a decade and became acquainted with them through mutual friends.

Travis said she doesn’t know if Ortiz or any member of his staff introduced the Cohens to BND and left the question to BND.

Gayman thinks Ortiz brought the Cohens to BND: “The congressman is the one that instigated the trips to China,” Gayman said.

Lasseigne recalled that Ortiz, his former chief of staff Lencho Rendon and Besteiro were close to the Cohens to “Madam Ping,” Ping Lee Cohen.

“She was very attractive, very, very, attractive, real sharp in business,” Lasseigne said of Ping Lee Cohen.

“I remember Lencho telling me that his ideal dream team (to help BND) would be (lobbyist) Randy DeLay, (Monterrey consult-ant) Esther Rodriguez and ‘Madam Ping,’” Lasseigne said.

The BND present and former officials said that to their knowledge, BND never assisted Chinese nationals in obtaining visas.

Asia Access also figures prominently in trips that Ortiz and Rendon made to the Far East, including China, Hong Kong, Taipei and Beijing.

The firm paid for four trips, a study by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization, the Center for Public Integrity shows.

The organization recently tracked the travel of U.S. representatives and senators.

The trips were made at Asia Access’ expense by Ortiz and Rendon in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005 at a reported cost of nearly $48,000 combined.

Travis said Ortiz accepted the trips because he searches for ways to increase development in South Texas.

“One way to leverage that development has been to travel to Asia with South Texas business owners,” Travis said. “His presence with area businesses in the vibrant, dynamic Asian marketplace ensures their access to the decision makers at Asian companies, as well as to government offices there.”

And no, Travis said, neither Ortiz nor any staff member has facilitated the entry of Chinese nationals into the country.

Neither BND trips nor Ortiz’s trips have resulted in economic development here, Gayman said.

“We never got any business out of China,” Gayman added.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: bnd; china; congress; democrat; illegals; immigrantlist; ping; snakehead
“The congressman is the one that instigated the trips to China,” Gayman said.
1 posted on 06/11/2006 7:16:51 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch
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To: Paleo Conservative; LongElegantLegs; radar101; RamingtonStall; engrpat; HamiltonFan; Draco; ...

Solomon P. Ortiz Ping!

2 posted on 06/11/2006 7:19:10 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch (Democrats-beyond your expectations!)
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To: SwinneySwitch

" "Madam Ping," Ping Lee Cohen. "

Pinging Ping Lee

"Chinese citizens who paid up to $120,000 to enter the United States and ultimately obtain citizenship."

That's a *ping amount of dollars. Should have paid $1,000 for a flight to Mexico and walked across ;)

3 posted on 06/11/2006 7:25:50 AM PDT by bwteim (bwteim = begin with the end in mind)
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To: SwinneySwitch
Travis said that Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, has known the Cohens for more than a decade and became acquainted with them through mutual friends.

Maybe that should be "mutual funds."
4 posted on 06/11/2006 7:28:36 AM PDT by FreePaul
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To: bwteim

Culture of corruption

5 posted on 06/11/2006 7:29:42 AM PDT by CPT Clay (Drill ANWR, Personal Accounts NOW.)
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To: bwteim

Ping Pong Balls

6 posted on 06/11/2006 7:30:47 AM PDT by battlegearboat
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To: CPT Clay

7 posted on 06/11/2006 7:41:00 AM PDT by bwteim (bwteim = begin with the end in mind)
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To: CPT Clay

Since 2000 to political hack Ortiz has taken 18 trips and spent 156 days travelling outside the USA. Cost of travel is $108,230.00. Many trips taken thanks to Asia Acess Corp. Data retreived through a Google entry - Hong Kong Solomon Ortiz.

8 posted on 06/11/2006 7:41:05 AM PDT by gaspar
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To: SwinneySwitch

I am thinking someone may end up on probation for a whole year here.

9 posted on 06/11/2006 7:59:28 AM PDT by mmercier (same as it ever was)
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To: SwinneySwitch

5 years to bring in wealthy chinese who would spend their money here, and a free ride for the coyotes who bring in illiterate poor scum, who bleed us dry. Any logic in this?

10 posted on 06/11/2006 9:23:31 AM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (If you got Sowell, you got Soul !)
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To: SwinneySwitch

Why did these "wealthy" Chinese want to come here? Just to hang out in the malls and soak up American culture? Or....?

11 posted on 06/11/2006 10:14:06 AM PDT by SuzyQue
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To: SwinneySwitch

>>>>Lasseigne recalled that Ortiz, his former chief of staff Lencho Rendon and Besteiro were close to the Cohens to “Madam Ping,” Ping Lee Cohen.

Could this be related to Sister Ping?
'Sister Ping' Convicted in Smuggling Scheme
Golden Venture Survivors Face Another Hurdle

12 posted on 06/11/2006 10:45:32 AM PDT by Calpernia (
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To: bwteim

12 ?

13 posted on 06/11/2006 10:46:26 AM PDT by Calpernia (
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To: SuzyQue; stephenjohnbanker
From the stories I read about in my post 12, the people smuggled in didn't have the money up front to pay. They had to work the money off in servitude style. Businesses would pay the smuggle fee to the coyote/smuggler and gain a type of ownership over them until their fees were paid.

I don't know if the Sister Ping is related to this Cohen story; but it sounds like a similar scenario.
14 posted on 06/11/2006 10:50:32 AM PDT by Calpernia (
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To: Calpernia

Oh correction. I said coyote. I think that is the term for Mexican smugglers. I believe for Chinese the term is snakehead.

15 posted on 06/11/2006 10:51:54 AM PDT by Calpernia (
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To: Calpernia

Always a chance, but Ping is not an unusual surname.

16 posted on 06/11/2006 1:01:05 PM PDT by bwteim (bwteim = begin with the end in mind)
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To: CPT Clay

This is the tip of the iceberg compared to what is coming in the future with our third world invasion. Corruption is a normal way of life for these people.

17 posted on 06/11/2006 1:57:52 PM PDT by doc
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To: bwteim

You are probably right about the name being common. But the circumstances sound similar too.

18 posted on 06/11/2006 2:46:58 PM PDT by Calpernia (
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To: Calpernia

""In a statement released earlier this year, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg said between April 2000 and October 2005, the Cohens contacted Chinese citizens who paid up to $120,000 to enter the United States and ultimately obtain citizenship""

120,000 per person is not hay. The Mexican coyotes do not get prosecuted, but these people bringing in chinese might get 5 years. That was my beef.
Glad Breederville is doing well. Bump!

19 posted on 06/11/2006 5:08:04 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (If you got Sowell, you got Soul !)
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To: bwteim

"Should have paid $1,000 for a flight to Mexico and walked across ;)"

That isn't the way it works in Mexico!

To get there Chinese are brought by ship and unloaded on a derseted beach and transported to the US by smugglers.

Chinese were paying over $20k over 20 years ago for the "service".

I was approached, offered $1000/person, and declined, to fly illegal chinese between a private airstrip near Guadalahara and a private airstrip near the US border because they couldn't get them past the Mexican check points.

For that kind of money i'm sure they found someone to do it.

October 24, 2007 3:47 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saturday, October 06, 2007
The suit over the imaginary Brownsville bridge will move forward in Cameron County

BND contractor Dannenbaum Engineering Corp. is no longer seeking to stop a lawsuit alleging breach of an agreement from proceeding in Cameron County.

BND Commissioner Peter M. Zavaletta, who sued the Houston-based engineering firm Aug. 13 as a taxpayer, not as a board commissioner, was not surprised by the development.

“As a practical matter, it removes any barrier to proceeding with a trial in Cameron County,” Zavaletta said Friday.

Dannenbaum had sought to remove the lawsuit to Harris County and a hearing had been scheduled there for Oct. 11.

See previous posts.

posted by CouldBeTrue @ 9:36 AM

At 1:48 AM, The Advocate said...

Come on Chisme?

Give us the rest of the story.


In the latest South Texas Independent Journalists Association (STIJA) survey, the public is demanding that Congressman Solomon Ortiz, his former aide Lencho "El Pescado" Rendon and State Senator "Sucio" Eddie Lucio should spend time in prison for their roles in the $21 million Port of Brownsville heist.

October 24, 2007 3:48 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ex-Brownsville, Texas, commissioner willing to testify about bridge project.

COPYRIGHT 2005 The Brownsville Herald

Byline: Emma Perez-Trevino

Jan. 30--BROWNSVILLE -- A former Brownsville Navigation District commissioner said she is willing to testify before a grand jury regarding allegations that a U.S. representative's aide pressured BND into hiring subcontractors for a proposed international commercial bridge.

Sidney Lasseigne, who served as commissioner from 2000-2004, alleges that U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz's chief of staff Lencho Rendon was involved in the project and helped determine who worked on it.

"I have stayed quiet, not out of guilt, (but) because I have been trying to get on with my life," Lasseigne said, referring to overcoming the grief of her son's death in 2003 and last year's death of BND Chief Executive Officer Raul A. Besteiro Jr.

BND special counsel Charles Willette Jr., who released his six-month investigative report this month into how $21.4 million were spent on the binational project, was told by project manager Dannenbaum Engineering Corp. that Rendon recommended a firm called Construcciones Mantenimiento y Comercializacion RODA S.A. to perform feasibility studies in Mexico on the project.

RODA was contracted for its services, although the company did not receive the...

October 24, 2007 3:52 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Monday, June 18, 2007


Let me begin by saying in clear and no uncertain terms - anyone can be accused of criminal conduct. As we saw in NC this week a DA is capable of fabricating evidence against the innocent. Here in Texas when a DA does that the State Bar of Texas declares a state holiday as opposed to disciplining the DA. (Side note- in Dallas the now former DA got away with the illegal prosecution of over 50 Mexican Americans - planted and fabricated evidence - the morning his underling was to testify against him, his underling was found dead in his home - a gun shot to the head - Brownsville has nothing on Dallas when it comes to corruption) The State Bar of Texas has a motto for the DA’s of Texas - "the challenge is in convicting the innocent, not the guilty." My point is, the allegation of criminal conduct does not make one guilty. We must always presume a person is innocent unless under the mandate of real due process the person is convicted and found guilty.

This entire piece began with me researching why the BND tabled a vote on leasing land to Bay Bridge Enterprises which dismantles Navy ships. This would put Bay Bridge in competition with Esco Marine and maybe Sanship, Inc. Bay Bridge is offering 125 Brownsville residents jobs ranging from 10-40 dollars an hour with full benefits - health, dental 401K. What is there to table?

Until I realized who Esco-Marine is, and their history, and the possible interests of Sanship and the claims against Sanship I was uncertain how I felt about this story - maybe there are valid reasons for denying 125 Brownsville residents good jobs - Esco-Marine and Sanship’s respective histories are so dirty - I simply have to believe there is dirty politics afoot here.

Well, maybe Esco-Marine does not want the competition. In the interest of transparency - each Board Member needs to commit to the public that they will not take political contributions from Esco-Marine, Sanship, Inc, or Bay Bridge - We the public need to hear this so that we know what ever decision comes from this Board it is based on what is good for Brownsville and not the pockets of the Board Members.

As I am researching Esco Marine I find the reference to Sanship which appears to also have Navy ship scrapping rights. Does Bay Bridge have a problem with Sanship? Do not know - maybe someone knows of some sour grapes between the two companies.

According to the Office of the Secretary of State the Registered Agent for Sanship, Inc is Emilio Sanchez - the address listed is the same as for which is owned by none other than Mr. Clean himself Robert Sanchez.

See also, - Someone needs to demand that Robert Sanchez take a public position as to leasing to Bay Bridge - I hope this is not the type transparency in government Pat Ahumada promised We the People. Pat if you believe in Transparency you must demand that Robert Sanchez disclose any conflicts of interest he may have related to Bay Bridge and or Sanship and whether or not he has promised money to De Los Santos and or Cristiano to oppose the deal. The people of Brownsville have a right to those 125 good paying jobs.

Here are the stories related to Emilio Sanchez - Sanship - for each story if I could find a follow-up I printed it - I will certainly post any follow-up to any of these stories which are sent to me - full disclosure is the goal.
This is a current and ongoing story.

"The rig’s owner, Emilio Sanchez, has not been keeping booming in place in the water to contain leaks from the rig, which he previously had stated he would do, court documents state.Officials said Sanchez and his company, Sanship Inc., could face criminal charges of unauthorized discharge into state waters, officials said.Sanchez could face up to five years in prison and a $100,000 maximum fine while his company could face a maximum $250,000 fine."

"The county’s environmental crimes investigator conducted a criminal search warrant on the vessel two weeks ago to determine whether criminal charges could be filed against Sanchez and his company, Sanship Inc., for unauthorized discharge in state waters."

"And his troubles don’t end with the land office. According to documents obtained by the GLO, Sanchez has not paid Esco Marine for the $1.05 million cleanup operation.In a letter to Sanchez dated Feb. 28, Esco Marine’s comptroller, Marcelino Salinas, said invoices sent to Sanchez’s company, Sanship Inc., had gone unanswered."Previous inquiries concerning the balance owed have been ignored," he stated in the letter, "therefore we are putting a lien on the vessel and no further work will be performed on the project."

My question here is how much more business has Sanship done with Esco-Marine? Does Sanship (Emilio Sanchez) have a reason to protect Esco-Marine’s business interests at the Port?

"The agency acted after BAN contacted legal defense organization Earthjustice of Oakland, California, which in turn notified the present owner, Emilio Sanchez of Brownsville, Texas, and EPA of intent to take legal action to halt the export should the government fail to act. Region IX EPA, based in San Francisco, then took action, conducting on-board sampling to see if the vessel contained toxic polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which are illegal to export from the United States under the Toxics Substances Control Act. PCBs were found at very high levels in on-board materials."

"Emilio Sanchez: A South Texas businessman with many interests, in 1994 he tried to negotiate in Mexico two stolen U.S. Treasury checks -- each made out to him for $10 million. Never prosecuted, he has bought the scrapping rights to several Navy ships since then."

Who is Esco -Marine - First - Lencho Rendon, former Chief of Staff for Solomon Ortiz, is a paid consultant for Esco Marine. Second their president is Richard Jaross.

"When the U.S. Navy began its great sell-off of surplus ships in 1991, Richard Jaross was among the first to see an opportunity. He began dismantling Navy ships at a California scrapyard, where workers were exposed to lead and asbestos. He came to Baltimore to help put together the ill-fated Coral Sea project. He then set up a scrapyard in Wilmington, N.C., but the state shut it down for mishandling asbestos, polluting a river and contaminating the soil with oil and lead"

I just thought the people should know the players who may be opposing 125 good paying jobs for the people of Brownsville.

I think we now need a comment from Pat Ahumada as to whether or not he supports Bay Bridge, and full transparency from the Sanchez Family.

I know I am going to be attacked big time on this one - I ask my readers to look how I gave you the links - I am not saying trust me - just read the links - I know this will not stop the attacks - Based on experience I know that tomorrow attorneys are going to be getting in a lot of billable hours - I stand by the story and like I said - I will post any updates to the history of the cast of characters - I know this will not stop the billable hours -

I am not afraid of being sued because the Texas Supreme Court in the last two months made it clear that the courts shall sanction any attorney who brings a frivolous lawsuit - I can use the money so - hey guys bring it on.

Posted by BobbyWC at 10:58 PM


Anonymous said...

I'll be first. I have neither received nor been offered any campaign contribution from any ship dismantler or from any principal thereof, or from Baybridge for that matter.

Peter Zavaletta
June 19, 2007 7:20 AM
Anonymous said...

i didn't vote for pat, but unless he is personally involved in this deal, he doesn't owe us a public opinion on this matter. i would love it if he distanced himself from robert sanchez period, for no other reason than that he is a political bully. if something comes of this investigation, pat should refuse any future campaign donations from sanchez. until then, he needs to concentrate on city issues and not prematurely create bad blood between him and other public entities that he will have to work with throughout his term. i mean, pat being pat, he will eventually create bad blood between him and other public officials, but let's at least hope he waits until he has a real say on policy.
June 19, 2007 11:00 AM
BobbyWC said...

Anonymous - basically I agree with you - but on the issue of jobs - it is 125 good paying jobs for the taxpayers who support the port - Pat needs to tell us whether he supports the lease with Bay Bridge or whether he opposes it

People are not going to bring these type jobs to Brownsville if they cannot count on the Mayor and County Judge to support them in their efforts.

Pat will not dump Sanchez - Pat will hang himself before he distances himself from Sanchez - that discussion is a train which has already left the station and further discussion will only cause needless frustration - Pat is so much like George W. Bush - he will hold on to his friends until the bitter end -

in spite of this we all need to hope Pat succeeds - pat's success as mayor is Brownsville success - let us not forget this - we may just have to ignore his irrational loyalty to Sanchez - assuming he is moving forward otherwise.

But we the people who pay the taxes to support the Port are entitled to these jobs and Ahumada and Casco both need to publically support the lease with Bay Bridge

Bobby WC
June 19, 2007 11:27 AM
TheSpotlight said...

June 19, 2007 3:06 PM
BobbyWC said...

On Spotlight's link go to page 18 for the story on Esco -

side note - a friend of mine while in the Navy did refurbishing of ships - he is now dead from lung cancer

Just something to think about
June 19, 2007 6:18 PM
Anonymous said...
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.
June 20, 2007 10:21 AM
Anonymous said...

Presentation and board discussion of the Baybridge proposal can be found in the May 23 meeting at this link

Find the May 23 meeting, then click the play button. Move the slider to 53:55, then click play again.

Peter Zavaletta
June 20, 2007 10:35 AM

October 24, 2007 3:54 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Another Perry Appointed UT Regent Linked to Scandal

Serpent IN the Garden January 14, 1996 Houston: Inaction Allowed Abuser To Roam For 10 Years.

If this was leaked to the media did the Corpus Christi Caller Times tell us about this pedophile?

Did the Caller publish any stories on this matter?

And the CCISD Board did they inform the community?

The Serpent IN the Garden January 14, 1996 Houston: CCISD board President Henry Nuss AQUIESCED. CCISD eagerly supplied pedophile with young patients - even after he had been publicly charged.

CORPUS CHRISTI - James Plaisted was a respected child psychologist, a deacon in one of the city's largest Baptist congregations and the father of four.

He also was a child molester so brazen he escorted little girls into church and fondled them under his coat while listening to the sermon.

Parents knew. So did church pastors, school officials and state regulators. But few did anything to stop him, and those who tried were remarkably unsuccessful.

It took 10 years to get Plaisted behind bars. Only he knows how many children he molested during that time.

Last month, Plaisted - already serving a two-year federal prison term for luring a Texas patient to Boston to continue molesting her -was brought back to Corpus Christi in chains.

He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting four girls and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

State regulators have yet to revoke his license to practice psychology.

""I think the Plaisted case is the model of what happens when the system fights with itself," said Susan Snyder, a Kingsville attorney and former prosecutor who tried to lock up Plaisted in 1992.

""Obviously, there have been safeguards in place to prevent this man all along, but either (state officials) were too lazy or too busy, or too scared of the politics of going and yanking this man's license," Snyder said. ""It's not the legal system failing. It's the people within the legal system that refuse to let the legal system work."

It's not as if no one tried.

Carmen Alvarado, the mother of the first child to accuse Plaisted more than 10 years ago, sought criminal charges against the therapist and filed an ethics complaint with the Texas Board of Examiners of Psychologists. She alleged that Plaisted had fondled her son's penis during a late-night counseling session.

Alvarado called the Parkdale Baptist Church, where Plaisted, 46, was a deacon.

""They said they were leaving it in God's hands," she recalled.

""I don't think they were thinking straight at the time."

She went to other parents. She got no help.

In the end, it was just her son's word against Plaisted, who told a Corpus Christi jury in 1986 that the 6-year-old child was a habitual liar and a pyromaniac who derived sexual excitement from setting fires. It didn't help that a new prosecutor was assigned to the case just before trial.

The jury acquitted Plaisted; his practice continued.

""It made me mad because when I went for help, all I asked was for them to testify," Alvarado recalled. ""We lost because my son was the only witness we had."

""It was a very tough call to make," said another victim's mother. ""And looking back, I really should have crucified him, but I didn't. I chose not to after talking to my attorney. He told me it would just really traumatize my daughter."

The Corpus Christi woman, who asked not to be identified, said she did confront Plaisted and his wife, who were neighbors in 1984, when her daughter was allegedly molested while spending the night with one of Plaisted's daughters.

""He did not deny it," she said. ""He said he could have done it

in his sleep."

Plaisted's wife laughingly added that she and her husband often made love at night, and he would not remember the next morning, the woman said.

The woman, who was also a member of the Parkdale Baptist Church, recalled telling church officials later about Plaisted's molestations.

""But it didn't seem to make any difference," she said. ""The church really backed him up, and a lot of people left the church after that."

Plaisted's attorney, Doug Tinker, refused to allow the Chronicle to interview his client. The criminal defense lawyer, who earlier this year represented Yolanda Saldivar, who was convicted of murdering Tejano star Selena, declined to discuss the Plaisted case.

The victims' families have since sued the church for negligence, but Parkdale's lawyer argues the congregation should not be held responsible for Plaisted's actions.

""It would be the church's wish to get this thing resolved without causing any additional hurt to anyone," said attorney Van Huseman. But he added, ""If a child gets molested in the middle of the service, how does that get to be the pastor's fault?"

Plaisted - a Nebraska native who served in the Army in Vietnam -came to Corpus Christi in 1982 with impeccable credentials, having earned his doctorate in clinical and child psychology from Auburn University in Alabama in 1981.

He quickly built a private practice, and over the years, developed a good reputation as an expert on brain dysfunction.

The Corpus Christi school district, along with local pediatricians, eagerly supplied him with young patients - even after he had been publicly charged. Members of the church also sought his help, and he had hospital privileges at the prestigious Driscoll Children's Hospital, a South Texas institution known both for quality care and charity.

Neighbors described Plaisted as pleasant, reserved, well-spoken. He was methodical, they said, and liked to work on projects around the house.

Plaisted recruited some of his victims from broken homes, showering the children with gifts, inviting them and their parents to Thanksgiving dinners. One 9-year-old girl who spent the night with Plaisted's daughter told prosecutors the psychologist molested her on the sofa in his living room while he and the children watched the movie "Home Alone"

on video.

He curried favor with his victims' parents by lending them money and refusing repayment, or by buying them air conditioners and other gifts. One mother even acted as a character witness for the therapist during the Alvarado trial, unaware that her own child was being molested.

""The bottom line is this guy had complaints filed against him at the psychology board - and they are serious - and the board doesn't notify the school about the complaints," said Jerry Boswell, director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, a group funded by the Church of Scientology (SEE CORRECTION) that documents cases such as Plaisted's. ""And the school is still referring children to this guy."

Corpus Christi school administrators said they used Plaisted infrequently for psychological testing of students, although school records and correspondence indicate he was a consultant from 1983 until he was indicted for child sexual assault in late 1992.

School administrators have identified records of five students referred to him for psychological testing between 1985 and 1992. There are no records prior to 1985.

School board President Henry Nuss, who has served on the board for seven years, said he first heard of the Plaisted case when he was contacted by the Houston Chronicle last week.

""We certainly should be more selective in who we're using," he said.

After Plaisted was charged in the Alvarado case in April 1986, Robert J. Garcia, the school district's special education director, wrote to the state psychology board to ask about the psychologist's record. The agency's executive director replied that Plaisted's license had been suspended, but because the psychologist was in the process of suing to get it back, he remained licensed to practice. The letter gave no details about the nature of the complaints.

""He was given a clean bill of health by the only agency that had anything to say about it," said Dr. Adrian Haston, a psychologist who coordinates the school district's psychological services, and who, years ago, shared an office with Plaisted.

Haston emphasized that none of the schoolchildren referred to Plaisted were molested. ""And we never had anything untoward, any problems of that sort," he said.

Asked why the district would risk using a psychologist once accused of being a child molester, Haston replied, ""This is something the district did, and you can ask the director of special education why."

Garcia said in a recent telephone interview that he could not remember whether he knew about the child molestation charges at the time he wrote to the psychology board.

""All I know is we asked for what his status was and they said he could still practice," he said. ""We knew he was under review, but we didn't know what for.

""Look, the state board of psychologists, they're the ones that allowed him to continue to practice," Garcia added angrily.

""If anyone should be asked as to why this guy was allowed to continue, it should be the state board of psychology."

Pressed for further details, Garcia abruptly ended the interview and hung up the phone.

Although Plaisted was acquitted in August 1986 in the Alvarado case, the psychology board continued its investigation and ruled in November of that year that Plaisted had violated professional standards.

The board officially suspended his license for two years, but said he would be allowed to resume his practice in three months.

Meanwhile, Plaisted challenged the suspension in state district court in Austin, arguing the psychology board had unfairly considered allegations that had not been introduced during his hearing, denying him the opportunity to defend himself against them. The judge agreed, and in January 1987 reversed Plaisted's suspension.

While the board was investigating Plaisted's case, they were contacted by Corpus Christi psychologist George Kramer.

Kramer, who had hired Plaisted in 1982 before Plaisted was licensed, told the board to subpoena records of the state Department of Human Resources. It did, and found other instances of alleged molestation by Plaisted.

In April 1989, the board reached an agreement with the psychologist that allowed him to keep his license if he agreed to be supervised for 11/2years. Plaisted was to treat children only in the presence of an associate or in a location where he could be observed by a television monitor. He also was to pay to have Corpus Christi psychologist Joseph Horvat supervise his casework.

Horvat met with Plaisted weekly, but after a year - convinced that Plaisted was doing nothing wrong - he recommended the supervision be terminated six months early. The board decided to continue the supervision.

""I have found no evidence in any way, shape or form of any behavior on his part which could be in any way construed as unprofessional or unethical," Horvat wrote to the board.

Included in one of his reports to the board was a review of Plaisted's treatment of an 8-year-old girl - a child Plaisted was later charged with molesting.

The board's general counsel, Barbara Holthaus, acknowledged past actions taken by the agency were inadequate.

""With hindsight, of course it wasn't appropriate, because look at what happened," Holthaus said. But she said the board has since added lay people to its ranks and has a new, tougher state law giving it better enforcement powers.

""Now, if we get a report that a psychologist is molesting a client, we can go before a judge and say we want to temporarily suspend the license," she said.

Holthaus said the board has filed a motion to revoke Plaisted's license, but Plaisted is fighting it.

""It's all kind of moot, because he's incarcerated," she said.

Soon after Plaisted completed his board-ordered supervision, Corpus Christi police received new information from state child welfare workers that Plaisted had been molesting girls at his office, in church and at home in his hot tub.

Former detective Eric Michalak, who now works in Colorado, remembered taking the Plaisted case to a Nueces County assistant district attorney for prosecution.

""He wanted to get a warrant for the doctor and arrest him, because we had very strong evidence against him," Michalak said. ""We had multiple victims and you had a guy in the position he was in, where he had access to all these victims.

You would want to take quick action rather than let it go on for so long."

The prosecutor was overruled by then-District Attorney Grant Jones, Michalak said. ""(Jones) just said, `We're not getting a warrant. We're taking our time.' He wanted the kids reinterviewed by one of the prosecutors.

""Any time you go after someone like that, there's a lot of politics that come into play," Michalak added. ""Instead of stepping in right then, and bringing it out in the open and taking it to a grand jury (for indictment), they delayed."

Jones contends that any delay in prosecution was an effort ""to tie the case down tight. We didn't want to lose him twice,"

said Jones, on whose watch Plaisted was acquitted in the Alvarado case.

Jones called it ""outrageous" the psychology board still hasn't revoked Plaisted's license.

""They should have done it in 1986," he said. ""What they want to do is wait around until you go to trial and you convict him, and then they come in behind your conviction and revoke his license. Well, what's he doing in the meantime? He could be out in the community molesting kids for two years."

Michalak said the case was finally taken to the grand jury several months later after he leaked the information about Plaisted's investigation to the local media.

""It was taking too long, and it wasn't being handled like another case," he said. ""And it was because he was so prominent in the community."

Plaisted was finally indicted in Corpus Christi in October 1992. He posted bond, closed his practice in Corpus Christi, and negotiated an agreement with the psychology board to place his license on inactive status until he could prove his innocence.

He then moved to Boston, where he enrolled in Boston University Law School and successfully completed his first year of studies by May 1994.

While in law school, Plaisted began calling a former patient - the girl whose treatment Horvat had reviewed in Corpus Christi. Plaisted convinced the girl's mother - who was also a patient of his - to bring the girl to Boston for additional therapy.

Plaisted's plans were foiled when a policeman setting up a speed trap in his neighborhood accidentally intercepted on his police radio a sexually explicit telephone call between the girl and Plaisted, who was using a cordless phone.

FBI agents were called in, six other calls were taped, and Plaisted was arrested on June 3, 1994, after he met the girl, then 13, and her mother at the train station and took them to a budget motel.

""The mother wasn't aware" of the molestations, said Adolfo Aguilo, an assistant Nueces County district attorney. ""The mother had a borderline personality disorder - she developed dependency on people -and unfortunately for her the person she developed a dependency on was Dr. Plaisted."

Sgt. Michael Harpster, a police detective from suburban Boston who helped arrest Plaisted, described him as ""very congenial, almost shy."

""He'd answer questions very courteously, but he didn't show any outward signs of knowing the seriousness of the situation," Harpster said.

Last January, Plaisted was sentenced by a federal judge in Boston to a two-year prison term after he pleaded guilty to transporting a minor across state lines to engage in illegal sexual activity.

The Corpus Christi conviction and sentence came almost a year later.

In the end, Plaisted admitted molesting four victims. But prosecutors say no one will ever know how many others failed to come forward.

""I imagine there could be several other victims. Through his practice and the church he probably had access over the years to thousands of children," said Aguilo, the Corpus Christi prosecutor who eventually secured Plaisted's guilty plea.

""To me, any kid that came in contact with this guy was a victim in some way or another," added Michalak.

When Plaisted was sentenced last month, it was a bitter emotional meeting for many of his young victims and their parents, who had been called as witnesses in case Plaisted decided against the plea bargain.

Parents said Plaisted stood up straight, held his head high and looked the judge in the eye. And when he saw the relatives of his former victims, he acted as if he were attending a reunion of old friends, they said. One parent said Plaisted looked as if he thought they were there as supporters or character witnesses.

""He turned around and gave the families a big smile," Alvarado said. ""I couldn't believe it."

Alvarado, who sued Plaisted in civil court, has received a settlement for an undisclosed amount. Her son, now a teen-ager, is still struggling with his past abuse, she said, and she continues to feel betrayed by those who would not join her in speaking out years ago.

""I told them if they had helped me in the beginning, none of this would have happened," she said.

Plaisted timeline

Key dates in the career of Dr. James R. Plaisted:

January 1983: Licensed to practice psychology in Texas.

October 1984: Investigated by Texas Department of Human Resources for allegedly molesting a neighbor's child.

April 1986: Charged in criminal case for allegedly fondling a boy during therapy.

August 1986: Acquitted by jury in Corpus Christi.

October 1992: Indicted for sexual abuse of three Corpus Christi girls.

December 1992: Closed Corpus Christi office; moved to Boston to begin law school.

June 1994: Arrested by FBI agents for luring a 13-year-old former Corpus Christi patient to Boston.

January 1995: Indicted by Corpus Christi grand jury on three counts of aggravated sexual assault for incidents years earlier involving the same girl.

January 1995: Sentenced to two years in federal prison in Boston case.

Dec. 7, 1995: Sentenced to 40 years in state prison by a Corpus Christi judge after pleading guilty to five counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

October 24, 2007 4:00 AM
Blogger Eileen Smith said...

Thanks for the related stories, Anon. Next time, can you just post the link? Posting that much content puts you in competition with Burka.

October 24, 2007 9:02 AM
Blogger Melissa Zamora said...

Dear Mr. Burka:

Finally, your publication gives proper and well-deserved credit to Brownsville Herald investigative reporter Emma Perez-Trevino.

Perez-Trevino and former reporter Patricia Guillermo were also largely responsible for uncovering the corruption scandal of former Cameron County Sheriff Conrado Cantu, but Texas Monthly failed to give credit where it was due.

Perez-Trevino wrote several investigative pieces on the Irene Garza/Priest scandal in the RGV, yet your reporter failed to attribute her work.

And, did you know that Jayson Blair had also plagarized her work? But, once again, that didn't come out, too.

So, again, I thank you, for finally doing the right thing, and attributing the hard work of one of the top investigative reporters in the state of Texas -- Emma Perez-Trevino.

October 25, 2007 9:23 AM

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

It is all about then & now lying too the get out 4 free was failed

etty dab bad when you claim to be a "Patriot yet utilize the "act" to spy on fellow "americans" because they aopposite " your censor initiation application"

Now that is paranoia.

Why worry about what is? Closing at loss is good ......sell,sell, sell. perhaps you will get out before the market "crash" and "burns". Every little 1/16 of a penny is the difference between what is a wrung or right minute penny of millions of outstanding assets.

Like warren Buffet days.......

Well I ain't going to tell you his or mine secrets that is cuz......Pay for delay since more is worth poor work but then it a write off so you c,pay

"I've done everything for you"....."you've done nothing for me"

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Mega(meta) Message ..........................As if........"isn't that special".......How ArD..Dean up on the stage

Cornyn must be stupid, I am sorry, Lo siento, he is just clueless.

Why should taxpayers pay his AND for his entourage AND his family "taxpayer funded health care"?

They're "the church lady" says it on SNL.

What a freeloading carpetbagger! He and his Patriot group familia should move to Iraq along with their "OPM" funded JOB.

Healthcare we pay for.........but he is special?

Yeah , so slow to show his patriotism when it is not BENEFICIAL to his so called "Patriot group".

Since he does not care anymore.... and, it is obvious,"I don't feel so bad".......What a dud, maybe if the GOP was serious about backing him he would have more money than Mikal Watts.

But according to's interview "Rick Perry Noriega" said he looks forward to "helping Cornyn enjoy"........that Noriega has informed and acted like he was one of those desperados, claiming dire straits, and in financial need..... they are no doubt stupid,since it was BS in his own words Noreiga states: "As it turns out, I have the necessary resources as well."

What was that warning Eisenhower warned us about?

Friday, October 12, 2007

the court shall inquire as to the existence of any plea bargaining agreements between the state and the defendant and, in the event that such an agree

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NUMBER 13-00-444-CR







On appeal from the 138th District Court

of Cameron County, Texas.


Before Justices Dorsey, Hinojosa, and Rodriguez

Opinion by Justice Dorsey

This is an appeal from a plea of guilty for delivery of a controlled substance for which appellant, Jose De La Fuente, was sentenced to ten years in prison. Appellant's plea of guilty was not made subject to a plea bargain agreement. After the trial court found him guilty, the case was set for sentencing at a later time so a pre-sentence investigation could be made and a report prepared. Defense counsel indicated that a side agreement had been reached with the prosecutor's office, and the judge announced that it would be discussed at sentencing.

At the sentencing hearing an investigator for the district attorney's office testified that an agreement had been reached between his office and the appellant that if the appellant cooperated and aided them in seizing narcotics and making cases against perpetrators, they would recommend probation. The investigator testified that appellant had not cooperated with their office to any meaningful extent, and had breached his duties under the contract. Appellant testified somewhat to the contrary. The trial judge found that appellant had breached his contract with the district attorney's office, and that even if he had not, the district attorney could only recommend probation as a punishment, and such would not be binding on the court. The trial judge then sentenced appellant to ten years in prison.

Appellant brings three points of error, arguing in essence that a plea bargain had been reached, he performed his part of the bargain, and he was entitled to either performance by the State or a withdrawal of his plea of guilty, citing a number of cases that hold that a trial court must either enforce the bargain or allow the defendant to withdraw his plea of guilty. See McWherter v. State, 571 S.W.2d 312, 313 (Tex. Crim. App. 1978); Papillion v. State, 908 S.W.2d 621, 624 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 1995, no pet); Escobedo v. State, 643 S.W.2d 243, 246 (Tex. App.-Austin, 1982, no pet).

The applicable statute is Article 26.13 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure in that it sets forth the method to handle plea bargain agreements. That article deals with pleas of guilty and expressly states what the court should admonish the defendant prior to accepting a plea of guilty. Section (a)(2) of that article provides:

Provided that the court shall inquire as to the existence of any plea bargaining agreements between the state and the defendant and, in the event that such an agreement exists, the court shall inform the defendant whether it will follow or reject such agreement in open court and before any finding on the plea. Should the court reject any such agreement, the defendant shall be permitted to withdraw his plea of guilty or nolo contendere.

Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art 26.13 (a)(2) (Vernon Supp. 2002).

That procedure was followed explicitly in this case. The court inquired whether there were any plea bargains, to which the defendant answered "none." The written admonitions concerning the plea indicated there was no plea bargain and that no sentence would be recommended in exchange for the plea of guilty. The reason the court is required to inquire whether there is a plea bargain is to put everything on the record and above board before the court accepts the plea along with the conditions and recommendations agreed to. The procedure has been established to protect the defendant in his bargain with the State to plea guilty. There is no evidence here indicating that the appellant's plea of guilty was predicated on any recommendation of punishment by the district attorney. This was not a plea of guilty covered by article 26.13(a)(2) allowing the defendant to withdraw his plea if he is dissatisfied with the sentence imposed.

The conviction is affirmed.




Do not publish.

Tex. R. App. P. 47.3(b).

Opinion delivered and filed

this 25th day of July, 2002.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Michigan Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Poor People's Right to an Attorney (1/11/2006)

Home : Rights of the Poor : Indigent Defense
Michigan Judge Thumbs His Nose at U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Poor People's Right to an Attorney (1/11/2006)


ACLU of Michigan Seeks Order Compelling District Judge to Comply

DETROIT - In a move reserved for extraordinary cases, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today filed a class action lawsuit in the Michigan Court of Appeals to force a state judge to comply with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling granting poor people the right to attorneys on appeal.

"Thumbing your nose at the U.S. Supreme Court is almost unheard of in the judicial system," said Kary Moss, ACLU of Michigan Executive Director. "And, in this case, the judge seems to believe he is above the law, or at least above the Supreme Court."

Last June in a landmark decision, Halbert v. Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1999 Michigan law that barred judges from appointing attorneys to help poor people who have pled guilty to appeal their sentences. The Court specifically ruled that forcing poor people to navigate the appeals process without a lawyer violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Constitution.

Despite the Halbert ruling, Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis C. Kolenda has denied appellate counsel to several poor people and stated that he has no obligation or intention of following the Supreme Court's ruling in the future and characterized the ruling as "incorrect" and "illogical."

In the lawsuit filed in the Court of Appeals today - called a "Complaint for Superintending Control" - the ACLU asserted that the Supreme Court took pains to address, and reject, the argument that a poor criminal defendant could waive the right to appointed counsel on appeal. The lawsuit also points out that both the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals have repeatedly held over the last half-century that statements by the highest court, meant to be a guide to future proceedings, is binding precedent. In addition, the Michigan Supreme Court has issued a series of orders for implementing and following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Halbert, but Judge Kolenda has also chosen to defy the Michigan Supreme Court.

"The tragedy of this case is that while Judge Kolenda is defying the Supreme Court, dozens of individuals are being denied their constitutional right to counsel simply because they are poor," said ACLU Cooperating Attorney David Moran, who argued Halbert for the ACLU. "As a result, sentencing errors are left uncorrected and the Michigan taxpayers are picking up the bill for inmates wrongfully serving time."

It is unclear exactly how many people are affected by Judge Kolenda's refusal to appoint counsel. The ACLU believes that the only mechanism to protect both its clients and other individuals in the same situation is to ask the Court of Appeals to exercise superintending control over Judge Kolenda and order him to follow the Supreme Court.

In addition to Moran, ACLU cooperating attorneys Terence Flanagan, Mark Granzotto and James Czarnecki are litigating the case, along with Michigan ACLU Legal Director Michael J. Steinberg and Executive Director Kary Moss.

To read the Complaint for Superintending Control filed today in Brown v. Kolenda, go to:

To read the Brief in Support of the Complaint, go to:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Who Was that masked man?

Who Was That Masked Man?

In honor of the following news story:
OTTAWA (Reuters) - "Kemosabe," the name given to the Lone Ranger by his friend Tonto in the 1950s TV western, is not a racist term, a Canadian court has found.

The ruling was delivered by the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal last week in a case involving a native Canadian woman who complained that the manager of the store where she worked had created a poisoned environment by calling her kemosabe.

The manager of the second-hand sports store, in Sydney, Nova Scotia, argued kemosabe was a term he used to address customers as well as employees.

The court ruling confirmed a earlier decision by a Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission board of inquiry. That decision was made after the board spent a full shift watching "Lone Ranger" reruns.

The board found that at the start of their relationship, Tonto, a native American, had recognized the injured Lone Ranger as the man who had saved his life years before, and started calling him kemosabe.

"When asked what it meant, Tonto responded 'trusty friend,'" the board found. "Both the Lone Ranger and Tonto treat one another with respect...At no time during the episodes is the term kemosabe ever used in a demeaning or derogatory manner."

The board found, however, that while Tonto was always treated with respect, the long-running U.S. TV series treated other native American characters in a demeaning manner.

The Jokester proudly presents: “Who Was That Masked Man?”

The Lone Ranger was ambushed and captured by an enemy Indian war party.

The Indian Chief proclaims, "So, you are the great Lone Ranger. In honor of the Harvest Festival, you will be executed in three days.

But, before I kill you, I will grant you three requests. What is your first request?"

The Lone Ranger responds, "I'd like to speak to my horse."

Chief nods and Silver is brought before the Lone Ranger, who whispers in Silver's ear, and the horse gallops away.

Later that evening, Silver returns with a beautiful blonde woman on his back.

As the Indian Chief watches, the blonde enters the Lone Ranger's tent and spends the night.

The next morning the Indian Chief admits he's impressed. "You have a very fine and loyal horse, but I will still kill you in two days.

What is your second request?"

The Lone Ranger again asks to speak to his horse.

Silver is brought to him, and he again whispers in the horse's ear.

As before, Silver takes off across the plains and disappears over the horizon.

Later that evening, to the Chief's surprise, Silver again returns, this time with a voluptuous brunette, even more attractive than the blonde.

She enters the Lone Ranger's tent and spends the night.

The following morning the Indian Chief is again impressed.

"You are indeed a man of many talents, but I will still kill you tomorrow. What is your last request."

The Lone Ranger responds, "I'd like to speak to my horse, alone."

The Chief is curious, but he agrees, and Silver is brought to the Lone Ranger's tent. Once they're alone, the Lone Ranger grabs Silver by both ears, looks him square in the eye and says, "Listen carefully, for the last time. I said "BRING POSSE!"

A man boards an airplane and takes his seat. As he settles in, he glances up and sees a most beautiful woman boarding the plane. He soon realizes she is heading straight towards his seat.

A wave of nervous anticipation washes over him. Lo and behold, she takes the seat right beside his. Eager to strike up a conversation, he blurts out, "Business trip or vacation?". She turns, smiles and says, "Business. I'm going to the annual

Nymphomaniac Convention in Chicago."

Whoa !!! He swallows hard and is instantly crazed with excitement. Here's the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen, sitting RIGHT next to him and she's going to a meeting of nymphomaniacs!

Struggling to maintain his outward cool, he calmly asks, "What's your business role at this convention?"

"Lecturer.", she says " I use my experiences to debunk some of the popular myths about sexuality." "Really," he says, swallowing hard, "what myths are those?" "Well," she explains, "one popular myth is that African-American men are the most well-endowed when, in fact, it is the Native American Indian who is most likely to possess that trait. Another popular myth is that French men are the best lovers, when actually it is men of Jewish descent."

Suddenly, the woman becomes very embarrassed and blushes. "I'm sorry," she says, "I shouldn't be discussing this with you, I don't even know your name!".

"Tonto," the man says as he extends his hand. "Tonto Goldstein."

The Lone Ranger and Tonto are camping in the desert, set up their tent, and are asleep.

Some hours later, The Lone Ranger wakes his faithful friend. "Tonto, look up at the sky and tell me what you see."

Tonto replies, "Me see millions of stars."

"What does that tell you?" asks The Lone Ranger.

Tonto ponders for a minute. "Astronomically speaking, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.

Astrologically, it tells me that Saturn is in Leo.

Time wise, it appears to be approximately a quarter past three.

Theologically, it's evident the Lord is all powerful and we are small and insignificant.

Meteorologically, it seems we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.

What it tell you, Kemosabe?"

The Lone Ranger is silent for a moment, then speaks. "Tonto, you Dumb Ass, someone has stolen our tent."