Friday, April 4, 2008

Robert Eckels: Pat Lykos' Personal Texas Workforce Commission

Did you ever own your own business or know someone who did, and they always hired that person to work for them that you just couldn't figure out why? Like maybe they were a useless brother-in-law or something, and they just couldn't hold down a job that they earned on their own merits? All the other employees couldn't stand that guy because he didn't deserve the job, yet the boss just kept on promoting him?

I'm starting to get the feeling that this is the phenomenon going on between Robert Eckels and Pat Lykos. The former County Judge seems to feel it necessary to do everything in his power to keep the well-past retirement age Pat Lykos as part of the active Work Force.

After her controversial tenure on the bench during the 1980s and very early 1990s, she ran for the AG's Office in a nasty nasty race (anybody seeing the pattern here? We call that foreshadowing.)

She lost.

And Eckels, for some reason, decided to hire her on as some sort of special project manager within the Harris County Judge's Office. He also allowed her to maintain her "Judicial status" by taking off one day a month to go do her visiting judge gig.

Once all of the Harris County Criminal and District Court Judges stopped allowing Lykos to sit on their benches as a substitute (due to her lack of ability to get along with any of the lawyers or the staff), Eckels allowed her to travel to other counties to cover their dockets. Apparently, once you get out of the county for a few hundred miles, people don't know your reputation.

When Eckels stepped down from the County Judge's position, he made Ed Emmett promise not to terminate her employment once he left. I can't help but wonder if Lykos has been as loyal of an employee to Emmett as Eckels was to Lykos.

And when Lykos decided to run for something for the umpteenth time, Eckels was the first guy there with a $25,000 check (from people who thought that they were paying for his election campaign, by the way).

In Alan Bernstein's article today, he points out that Eckels has turned himself into a one-man crusade to Keep Pat Lykos Employed! As pointed out by Alan, and detailed below, his latest is a $17,500 donation to send out a slam-piece against Kelly Siegler on Lykos' behalf by the Harris County GOP Political Action Committee.

Seriously, Eckels, do you really think that Pat needs any help when it comes to mud-slinging? I mean, she like wrote the book on mud-slinging.

The thing that confuses me is why is Eckels playing deer-in-the-headlights about being caught doing the piece? Is it allowed for anonymous benefactors like Eckels to give that kind of money to a group that "has received no other money this year and endorsed no one for other offices."

In addition, the Harris County GOP Political Action Committee (Alan points out) "has been criticized by Republican Party officials for using the name while lacking any official connection to the party.

Yet Eckels becomes their one and only donor of the year for the sole purpose of doing a slam-piece for Lykos.

Is this sounding dirty to anybody yet?

I'm not well-versed at all when it comes to Election Law, but is this something that Lykos has to report on her finance reports? If so, did she? I'm thinking I already know the answer to that particular question.

And it is sure sounding dirty to me.


Scott C. Pope said...

My favorite sentence in Bernstein's skid mark of an article was this little nugget of fun:

"Eckels and Lykos said they never saw the leaflet until it was mailed and did not discuss its contents with Pelfrey."

I love how these types of politicians think that innocence in a matter can be blamed on lack of oversight. It really is a joke, or it would be if the stakes weren't so high.

Ron in Houston said...


I think you owe AB at least some apology. I don't expect you guys to kiss and make up, but he's obviously not as one sided as you make him out to be.

Murray Newman said...

I've been thinking about what you said about owing Alan an apology, and I'm kind of torn on the idea. I am appreciative of the fact that Alan ran this story, just like I was appreciative of him finally running the article about the yarmulke piece on Lykos.
But, I'm still rather aggravated with the tone of many of his pieces about Kelly when you compare them against the pieces on Lykos. I'm also still a little aggravated about the timing of the stories.
That being said, I do realize that I have often times been overly harsh in my words about Alan. Clearly, I am very much a believer in the fact that Kelly Siegler is the best candidate in the race by a long shot, and Lykos' actions offend me to no end. My anger towards her has often bled over to Alan. Especially when I felt that he had not covered a story fairly.
For the times that I've gone overboard, I apologize, Alan.

Kevin Whited said...

** The thing that confuses me is why is Eckels playing deer-in-the-headlights about being caught doing the piece? **

It's what politicians do. I still don't think he's quite caught on to the fact that he's no longer a politician.