Looks like the good old boys in Wylie have put themselves into a pickle, and they are inadvertently dragging our excellent school district down with them in the court of public opinion.
A new Facebook page popped up on Saturday, called Wylie and Washington. Published on the page are images of a formal complaint sent to the Texas Attorney General's office and also Collin County regarding unseemly transactions made by the Wylie Economic Development Board (WEDC).
The complaint calls into question ethics of the WEDC, their board President Marvin Fuller and Executive Director Sam Satterwhite. I'm not surprised this is coming full circle.
I have consistently complained about the conflicts of interest presented with the WEDC and their board members who keep running for and getting elected to various seats around the city. I reported on this land deal as well, in Holy Shrieking Shizballs. The bounty these dual positions reap is astounding when you consider how "deals" are brought about. Sure, they may excuse themselves from votes, but they were certainly present during the behind the scenes activities preceding them. There are other less noticeable conflicts as well.
and Mayor Eric Hogue
For example, the fact that Mayor Eric Hogue is a realtor seems like no big deal. Yet, how many activities has he voted on that ultimately turn into future profits for him? The same can be said for former councilwoman Kathy Spillyards, who inadvertently capitalized on official actions taken previously. When you vote on minimum home sizes required of a developer, ensuring a certain home value, and turn around and sell one of them a couple years later, you are making a profit off your votes.
The same holds true with the various WEDC members who found themselves elected through the years. More recent conflicts of interest have included Mitch Herzog who has served for years as a Wylie Independent School District (WISD) trustee and also as a WEDC board member, and the former councilman Todd Wintters who served on the WEDC and was also elected to the city council which I reported in Wintters of our Discontent.
The very notion of serving in elected posts and sitting on the WEDC board should have been carefully scrutinized by voters before they placed them in these positions. It wasn't as if I didn't warn anyone, what with my continuous blogs vetting the cast of characters that run for these seats in Wylie. Still, year after year delirious voters make their way to the polls without a clue, and clearly without a Google search.
I have suggested for years that these board members should resign from the WEDC. Turns out, that public opinion has finally caught up with this stance. But what about legal opinion?
Turns out, we may not like what is taking place, but it is all legal. And so is the WISD land sale. Whether we like how it went down or not, it did not require WISD to do "extra marketing" of the property either, as is one premises of the complaint.
Controversy in Wylie is nothing new. Does anyone remember when Baron Cook sold land to WISD for $800K when he was serving as a WISD trustee? It's how Ronni Fetzer took his seat away, because people were annoyed with how unethical the land deal looked. Then there was that time the WEDC got in trouble for holding closed-door meetings. Oops. Now their board meetings are held at o'dark hundred. So much for the open meetings act.
Ethics laws require public officials to file a declaration on the conflict of interest and to abstain from voting on it, both of which appear to have been performed with the property WISD sold and also with the Baron Cook property WISD purchased. Though it looks sketchy and shady as hell, it is legal. Move along, nothing new to see here.
What concerns me is the witch hunt that is behind these allegations. The Facebook page was published nearly 24 hours ago, and the hidden agenda has me a tad curious. Exactly who is behind this complaint? Why don't they man-up?
I honestly do not see this as an attack on the school district so much as I see it as an attack on the WEDC. Especially when the complaint specifically lists Marvin Fuller and Sam Satterwhite, yet speaks little, if at all, of their complicit activities in the documents. Why wasn't Mitch Herzog's photo made part of the complaint? What about WISD superintendent Dr. David Vinson? Why not just list all WEDC and WISD board members? To my point, this seems to really be about Satterwhite and Fuller. Who did they piss off?
Don't get me wrong, I have always felt Fuller and Satterwhite needed to go. They have been part of the good old boy system of secret handshakes for years. Like the time Satterwhite was arrested for drunk driving in 2009 but the city council looked the other way instead of firing him like the employee manual suggested.
Seems Fuller and Satterwhite have made quite the enemy and it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If I had to venture a guess? The AG's office has more pressing matters and this too shall pass.