Saturday, October 13, 2012

Of Rats, Sinking Ships, and Shredders

There have been some interesting things going on over at the Harris County District Attorney's Office as Pat Lykos' tenure as a one-term District Attorney comes to a close.

As we approach the November election when Republican Mike Anderson will face off against Democrat and former multiple-indictee Lloyd Oliver, we have yet to see Lykos come out and lend her support and encouragement to Judge Anderson's campaign.  That's kind of interesting, seeing as how Lykos touted her loyalty to the Republican Party as her chief strong suit in the May primary.  I suppose that her loyalty to the Republican Party only lasted as long as she was the candidate elected.

However, rather than doing all she can to support the Republican Candidate for District Attorney, Lykos has been busy doing, um . . . other things -- none of which seem to make much sense.

Last week, I received notice from several different sources that Lykos had done an outsource hiring of a company known as Shred Pro to shred some documents for the Office.  At first, I didn't think all that much of it -- it isn't so unusual for large entities to do some shredding from time to time.  Then again, most "large entities" aren't the Harris County District Attorney's Office and the vast majority of their documents aren't per se government records.

Rather than be an alarmist, I did a little checking around to see if, in the past, it was common practice for the District Attorney's Office to shred documents in such bulk as to require an outside vendor to do the shredding.  I learned that doing a little shredding from time to time did happen, but never in mass quantities and only after seeking the approval of the Texas Attorney General.

The next thing I did was file an open records request for anything referencing my name and/or Don Hooper's blog.  I was curious to know if the upper administration had ever actually put anything in writing about me or the Donner.  I'm pretty sure that they committed nothing to writing, but if they did, I wanted a copy of it before it hit the shredder.

However, the funny thing is that when I was talking to someone in upper admin about my request, I mentioned that I had heard there was some shredding going on.  That person said that they had heard the rumors of shredding happening, but had no idea where it had come from and didn't believe it to be true.

That kind of flew of in the face of this picture (which I had received about an hour earlier) of this machine on the 6th Floor.  NOTE: For those of you who are out of the loop, the 6th Floor is where Pat Lykos and her upper administration reside.

And this picture taken in the back sallyport.

Lykos' upper Administration is dropping like flies right now.  Former General Counsel John Barnhill left a month or so ago, as did Bureau Chief Steve Morris.  Chief Investigator Don McWilliams has turned in his notice that he'll be retiring on October 31st.  Special Crimes Head Joni Vollman has taken a job with the Texas Attorney General's Office that will begin in early November.  Additionally, Lykos' chief Administrative Assistant, Angela Salazar, left abruptly on October 5th for a job at the Medical Examiner's Office, but nobody is supposed to know about that.

And of course, we have the daily rumor that today really and truly is Jim Leitner's last day.  We really really mean it this time.

It isn't entirely unusual for an outgoing administration to start breaking apart and leaving before the end of their actual term of office, but things seem to look a little, well, unseemly, when all those departures are coupled with a shredding party.

I don't know what is going on over on the 6th Floor of the D.A.'s Office, but something tells me that the Rule of Law and the Administration of Justice left the building a long time ago.


Anonymous said...

Quick grab that bag and round up some children to paste the documents back together a la Argo. (great movie BTW).

Anonymous said...

Well, not for nothing, but Anderson is not exactly inviting Lykos' supporters support by continuing to list news items on his campaign website, as well as legal filings, regarding a certain corruption investigation. It is, perhaps, wise for MA to consider making up with Lykos in an election year with straight party voting likely to dictate.

Roger Chappell said...


I just read this. Interesting... I especially like reading the comments. That's always entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Focusing on this kind of thing might be interesting, but it isn't where our attention and energy is needed right now - IMHO.

We need to tell everyone we know to vote for Mike Anderson and let them know how dangerous it would be if Lloyd Oliver got elected.

I normally vote democratic and have friends on all sides. I have been letting my democratic friends know about Oliver.

He got into the primary because people didn't KNOW. He could get elected for the same reason.

Please get the word out.

And - for those who think it would be "funny" for Oliver to be elected - please grow-up. The system WORKS best when we have competent, rational advocates on BOTH sides. It breaks down when we have too many zealots, buffoons, and hacks in the mix.


Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ms. Vollman will be collecting campaign fundraising checks from complainants on behalf of the AG like she did with Patsy. Sure do enjoy hearing all the rat activities these days. Too bad they can't shred their activities as well.

Looking forward to hearing about more once they leave office for good.

Anonymous said...

Murray - You know that Don Hooper will be down at the DA's office early Monday making an open records request since he copies everything you do!

Anonymous said...

So long JV. Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Mark Bennett said...

I'd like to know what made it a good idea to shuffle chiefs around in the waning days of the Lykos regime.

(@9:59, little known fact: I used to work for the guy who wrote Argo.)

Jigmeister said...

What in the world could they be shredding, Can't be old files without digitally scanning them first, and that wouldn't require a shredding company. There could not be enough paperwork on that stupid investigation of the grand jury to need an outside company. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

A couple of observations, scorched earth, spending everything she can and hiring every friend or friend's kid, shredding (at first I thought she had taken up guitar) paper but what could it possibly be, what could you possible get with your open records request since they did not put anything in writing and will Don Hooper send Murray an open records request for all of Murray's emails and phone records dealing with the HCDA Office and yes I know Murray is not a governmental agency but who knows what Hooper thinks since he doesn't think and lastly, I am glad you have taken credit for requesting the emails from you and Hooper, all of my friends were blaming me for that request.

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Anon 5:51,

I was kind of amused to see that there was some question over who filed the open records request. I never thought it would be considered mysterious. If Don would like to see what I turn up in my request, I'll be happy to share it with him.

He doesn't bother me near as much as I seem to bother him.

Anonymous said...

Don desperately needs to think that everyone is thinking about him all the time. It is a desperate need for significance, which is exacerbated by his chronic unemployment.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason Don and Lykos get along so well is that they actually have so much in common.

Anonymous said...

Don Hooper has been busy working on Robert Talton's campaign for County Attorney and Rachel Palmer is one of Talton's top contributors. At least we know where Palmer will be working in January if Talton wins.

Anonymous said...

Gimme a break - Palmer's $500.00 campaign contribution does not make a "top contributor" and Hooper's help almost guarantees Talton's loss. I think Hooper has 0 wins for on the last 10 campaigns he has volunteered!

Anonymous said...

RE: Shredders. When I was an intern at the HCDA, I once had the duty of shredding hundreds (possibly thousands) of pages of documents, mostly from investigations. Not to mention having to destroy old floppy drives. The shredder was prone to breaking or jamming. Perhaps this was just relieving interns of their shredding duties.

Anonymous said...

Rachel's daddy dearest, Wesley Palmer gave Lloyd $100.00. Apparently he would rather not have to support Rachel since Donnie doesn't.

Anonymous said...

Lykos ensured her favs got jobs elswhere.

"Greg, I need you to take Joni Vollman. She sucked my toes for four years and I owe her."

ME's office. "Angela put up with my tantrums for four years, she needs a job, take her or else."