Lock up your daughters and lock up your wives. He’s back.
Angelina County Assistant DA and lifetime Democrat Elmer Beckworth (D) announced several months ago he was switching to the Republican Party after remaining a registered Democrat for over 30 years – all the way through two elections of Barrack Obama that didn’t change his mind. Elmer’s flip-flop comes after losing the 2012 Cherokee County District Attorney’s race to his own younger savvier Assistant DA who ran as a Republican. Beckworth had stayed in office three terms, with only 2% of the Cherokee County vote, by running unchallenged and not facing any competition. (Source: Jacksonville Progress) With the help of the Good Ol’ Boy and Biddy Network, he’s hoping to run unchallenged again. Are we to believe Elmer Beckworth is so feckless as to forget he owes his entire career to the Cherokee County Democrats Club? The same people who along with him caucused for Wendy Davis and against the values of every single Republican in the county?
Which begs the question if the current Cherokee County Republican Party will greet with open arms the candidate who has shit smeared them and his potential rivals for decades, in both public and private practice. Will the Chairman be forced to commit suicide over sexual innuendo and blackmail? Will life insurance payouts be divvied up for billboards and television ads as they were for Elmer Beckworth’s predecessors? The fact is Beckworth cannot win an election without the ingrained Rusk, TX law firms trickling votes and money away from a viable opponent. And they can’t run against an honest candidate.
Is Cherokee County still rife enough with corruption as to oust their first female district attorney who took to task District Judge Bascom Bentley’s falsified signature on sex offender Orders? With Beckworth still in office, County Judge Craig Fletcher would not have been exposed for his own shenanigans between Rusk sex offenders and Bentley’s office. (Source: Daily Progress) Hundreds of thousands of dollars would still be wasted on Robert Fox’s tirades and appealing his overturned conviction in the 6th Court of Appeals, Texarkana. (Again Source: Daily Progress) Every dumb lie coming out of Elmer’s mouth could be in publication in the Jacksonville newspaper and his hometown Rusk Cherokeean for generations to come.
Will the honest County Commissioners be threatened yet again with Elmer Beckworth’s stacked grand jury, or will the Rusk Hunting Club continue paving their roads with taxpayer dollars? Come this March Primary, businesses in the area will see if Cherokee County puts the target back on them, their business calls, and personal email. Voters can choose between who Sheriff James Campbell and the local papers endorse, and those they will drum out of town (see Ben Tinsley, et al). Such exciting times for the astute Cherokee County voter.
After all, the Old Wives Family Affair may not have to drive all the way to Lufkin to sit on Elmer’s current bosses’ juries. The Good Ol’ Boys may get their man back in their pockets. Nonetheless, family members of Cherokee County sex offenders are anxiously awaiting to cast their votes for the guy who gave them probation in the first place. If Elmer Beckworth gets his old job back in his hometown of Rusk, the county will be flooded with the likes of extradited child rapist and murderer Tommy Stricklen. (Source: Jacksonville Progress) Guess which one got the bigger ticker tape parade in local newspapers and raised more money through donations.
Thanks to Elmer Beckworth and his supporters, every single learning institution in Cherokee County has hired child molesters, some who have sat on his juries repeatedly for decades; some who have been exalted in the local newspapers for decades until being caught. Look no further than the sheltered hallways of nearby private Christian academy, The Brook Hill School, quietly scrubbing all records of their recently arrested girls’ volleyball Head Coach. Ricky Eugene Clements, 61,was busted this month for texting a 16-year old female student to “spend the night with him” and driving her off school property without the school’s knowledge or parental consent. (Source: KETK) These too are the people who claim to be Christian Conservatives.
Ricky Clements, Brook Hill Lady Guard head coach (Courtesy: Smith County)
In March 1998, Cherokee County newspapers refused to report the suicide of their elected Democrat Party County Chairman to protect the people responsible. Three years later, they also neglected to publish the death of his son, a court appointed Cherokee County attorney who died in alcohol treatment.
You cannot rely on the small town newspapers to do their job and cover the facts surrounding their kinfolks’ ingrained corruption, hence the creation of The Official Site. In this month’s last and final posting, we dedicate this amateur blog to a man of impeccable character. We could all only hope to be as honorable and steadfast in our faith. The inspiration to research local corruption began from something he once said: “somebody needs to write a book about these sorry SOB’s…”
B.N. Tucker, Sr. was born in California and lived in Jacksonville, TX his entire life. He was the Chairman of the Cherokee County Democratic Party when he committed suicide on March 6, 1998. He was an active member of his church and community, including sitting on the county commissioners’ Salary Grievance Committee. Cherokee County officials pretend his public service never existed. As in Constable Randy Thompson’s case, they’ve been told never to speak of him and to deflect and lie when his name is mentioned. Not one of them before or since could hold a candle to this man. Cherokee County wanted him gone as soon as he promised a more honest and open public forum, even though he ran unopposed as County Chairman in the March 1996 Democratic primary. They knew he would be a problem for then Assistant District Attorney Elmer Beckworth moving unchallenged into the seat of outgoing DA James Cromwell. Sound familiar?
After months of sexual harassment from the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office and their collaborators, this loving grandfather put a gun to his head and killed himself in the prime of his family’s precious lives. He never got to enjoy another quiet sunset or see his granddaughter grow up. Why? Simply for expressing his opinion to his neighbors regarding what he perceived to be the ongoing and growing corruption in his hometown. Because B.N. Tucker, Sr. privately talked about the criminal nature of Cherokee County politics on his home phone, he was personally targeted with concocted ‘love’ letters and explicit glamour shots of the Cherokee County Wives and Girlfriends Club, sent to blackmail and shut him up. The women involved were the friendly spouses of those associated with the district attorney’s election efforts. Their open ‘invitations’ were a not-so-veiled attempted threat to ruin his reputation at his church and as a warning to what they would do to his family. They got their wish. This kind and harmless man was silenced. His complaints to higher federal authorities in Tyler were obviously ignored, despite providing handwriting samples and actual pictures. He made inquiries with the US Attorney’s office, the Tyler FBI, and the Texas Rangers. At one point he was told they couldn’t do anything about the ongoing harassment because “he brought all the evidence to them” and that they would need a nonexistent court order to investigate. Imagine expecting birthday cards in the mail from your grandchildren, only to receive homemade sex videos and filthy letters composed by political opponents in your own party. Instead of enjoying his retirement, that is what this 69-year old gentleman faced going to the Post Office courtesy of the Cherokee County District Attorney office and investigator.
Despite his countless contributions to the Jacksonville, TX community and county at large, and after decades of service to his friends and neighbors, the local newspapers did not run B.N. Tucker, Sr.’s obituary. No paper in the area reported the passing of their elected official, the Chairman of the Cherokee County Democrats. Notice of his death to this day has been covered up by the Cherokee County Bar Association and district court that employed his son, a local attorney also now deceased. B.N. “Tuck” Tucker, Jr. passed away 3 years later in 2001 at the age of 45 after reoccurring alcohol related illnesses. Bert Tucker, Jr. made his living in the 90’s as a court appointed Rusk, TX attorney while simultaneously under medical observation in drug and alcohol treatment. After years of missed court dates, the State Bar eventually intervened and Tucker, Jr. was quietly ordered into rehab in March 1998. There was no mention of his passing in the papers either, despite working for nearly 10 years in the Cherokee County courthouse. Of course the district judges who repeatedly appointed him as counsel and filed for re-election with his father would pretend to have never known either.
B.N. Tucker, Sr. didn’t want to just shake the proverbial tree; he simply wanted more honesty out of the county’s chosen leaders. He became dismayed about what his beloved community had turned into by people pretending to be good Christians. He was privy then to the waste and fraud at Lon Morris College, within walking distance of his home. He was aware of the communal retreats disguised as “Christmas” parties attended by judges, prosecutors, lawyers on the take and their willing spouses. Mr. Tucker lived long enough to see the place he loved turn into a revolving door brothel. In shame, he took his own life on the day his son the local lawyer was committed to drug rehab in Austin by the State Bar. He was no longer proud of his son’s profession, or the company he kept at the Rusk, TX courthouse. It wasn’t the sorry nature of small town politicking that made him give up on life; it was the fact that criminal behavior was encouraged by other agencies that should have moved in to quell it. Like so many others filing federal complaints against Cherokee County, he was told to go home and wait to die. Even after sustaining injuries in a car wreck caused by his son, the Cherokee County Bar refused to hold a competency hearing, even though both were bedridden, and contributed to both of their deaths. Mr. Tucker refused to convalesce while those trying to ruin his reputation continued to cover for his son. And publicly cover for Mr. Tucker’s young attorney son they did, while simultaneously harassing an honorable and decent old man to death.
These people are proud of the blood on their hands. Their entire careers are based on it. This is why there is no accountability when Jacksonville, TX women are raped and go missing, or pepper sprayed and beaten up. This is how the district attorney’s office and sheriff department gets their hands on insurance payouts while diverting attention away from themselves. If you talk about their infidelities, then they’ll attempt to pull you down to their level. Jacksonville Police Chief Reece Daniel experienced this first hand in 2009 with emails concocted by the Sheriff’s chief detective Chris White and sent to news agencies alleging sexual harassment. (Source: KLTV) In fact it was the Sheriff’s Department facing sexual harassment settlements from former female employees; Chief Daniel was supposed to keep quiet about it. You are either with them balls deep, or you are against them.
You were right Mr. Tucker. Someone did need to say something about how things are allowed to operate in Cherokee County and to the detriment of our fragile democracy, more people don’t. It isn’t very hard to spend 15 minutes putting pen to paper to our Congressmen and State representatives. And everything is in plain sight just like you said 15 years ago. It just takes a little bit of effort to put it into words and get the message out. Thank you for shining the light for the first time. Thank you for having the courage and wherewithal you showed others, despite the pain you were put you through. You are with our Lord as you always have been, and you will always be remembered by those honored to have known you as the true pillar of the community you served. Your words of wisdom were well-received and never forgotten. Those who live their lives in the light of our Savior like you will be rewarded in this life and the next. May God bless and watch over your family for eternity.
This is just the beginning.
According to accounts last August 2012, Polk County Judge Elizabeth Coker and then assistant prosecutor Kaycee Jones (now a district judge) engaged in text messaging strategies during a felony injury to a child trial. The defendant was acquitted. The improper collusion during trial by the district attorney’s office and the seated judge is being investigated by the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct and the Texas Defense Lawyers Association. (Source: Houston Chronicle) The only significance in this situation, out of millions of other similar episodes, is that a district attorney investigator came forward and reported it.
A neighboring colleague caught red-handed means nothing for smaller venues such as Cherokee County where prosecutors, investigators and judges practically live together during trial to wine and dine jury pools. Here they just blackmail each other with love letters and sex tapes. They share each other’s wives and DNA. It begins in both civil and criminal trials, with juries being handpicked for their involvement in the cases. On taxpayer time, judges and all interested parties are coached to respond to questioning out-of-town lawyers and prying eyes. In Cherokee/Anderson Counties’ 369th District Court, the sitting judge openly discusses his preferences throughout proceedings. Court reporters are trained to ignore his outbursts and hand-wringing to avoid them showing up on the record. His staff is openly affectionate to their counsel of choice in the courtroom, in front of juries. That is until news cameras catch them in the act showing their open bias. In March 2011, a complaint against District Judge Bascom Bentley was filed with the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct for his biased comments in the courtroom immediately after a defendant was found not guilty in a child homicide case. The video of Bentley’s rant was subpoenaed. (Source: KLTV)
This behavior is nothing new to those who happen to come to this particular courtroom and apparently in other small East Texas towns. It is a systemic pattern of absolute disregard of judicial and prosecutorial ethics that has been championed in this area for decades. The reason they cannot keep their mouths shut during proceedings is because they have a vested interest in the outcome. They are all related to each other. In Cherokee County cases, the outcome is designed to pump money over to family members who make a living billing for subsidized programs such as drug and alcohol counseling, non-existent protective services, and other fruitless means of bilking the system. Hence the enormity of probated child sex offenders and violent criminals who continue to reside and spend their own government assistance here.
County Clerk Bridgette Franklin recently pleaded guilty to two 3rd degree felony counts of theft of public funds, for a total of $32,261. Money for public records paid at the Anderson County courthouse had been “misappropriated” into Franklin’s pockets 918 times beginning in 2006 according to investigators. (Source: Tyler Paper)
There are several identical Cherokee County cases that have either been dismissed, buried, or other arrangements satisfied to keep them out of court. The mentality of locals who do this is that their family owns the county and should have any and all access to the courthouse money jar.
Within the melee’ of the Lon Morris bankruptcy and estate liquidation, fingers have pointed and tears shed, while deals have simultaneously been made to keep any criminal investigations off the table. Nonetheless, the latest conclusion by the AG office is that Dr. Miles McCall illegally transferred restricted funds from the million dollar James Long Endowment into CDs and had his staff covertly cashed them to allocate the funds elsewhere. Which means the LMC upper echelons and the bank moved beyond their scope as benefactor and financial manager to distribute monies as they saw fit. Where did the money go? We won’t hold our breath to find out. The LMC auction has been fast-tracked to keep all questions and actual fact finding proceedings to a minimum. Sam Houston State University filed a petition during bankruptcy proceedings to recover assets supposed to revert to them as beneficiary, if LMC dissolved. The university is also suing Dr. Miles McCall in the Rusk, TX civil court. Let the hand-wringing begin.
Reference: SAM HOUSTON STATE UNIVERSITY vs MCCALL, MILES, Civil Docket Case 2012120933; filed 12/27/2012 in the 2nd District Court, Cherokee County, TX.
The Texas Methodist Foundation lawsuit regarding the remaining endowments is also on the back burner until the estate property is divvied up. (Source: Tyler Paper)
(Courtesy: CBS 19)
Out of Towners: kiss goodbye all your donations and effort you spent keeping LMC afloat for the last several decades. According to auction results, the locals now have their hands on it.
Footnote: Lon Morris College as an entity filed a federal suit against the former LMC President and Board of Trustees in the US Eastern District on August 29, 2013, citing breach of fiduciary duty, financial incompetence and negligence.
Crunching the numbers last year, this blog had over 25,000 unique visitors in 2012.
The busiest day of the year was April 26th with 241 views.
This site had visitors from 98 countries in 2012, most from the US with the UK and Canada not far behind. Buckingham Palace, the Royal Saudis, and the Vatican read this blog, as well as over 250 US law firms, lawmakers in Austin and Washington DC; and law enforcement agencies throughout the State, including multiple daily hits from our biggest fan, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department.
Your friendly neighborhood blog will be ending this March and will remain online for research updates and commentary in perpetuity. Thanks to contributors, whistle blowers and regular visitors. A dedication to the gentleman who inspired the creation of “the Official Site on Corruption” 15 years ago will be made in the coming weeks. An effort to clean house in Cherokee County, Texas was proposed in the mid 1990’s. However, the county’s planned nepotism is still intact. The incidence of corruption in the area will also continue into perpetuity as long as the local taxpayer allows it. Missing women, a gunned down DPS trooper, a constable making a meth lab, money stolen out of City Hall, murder for hire; and property destruction for insurance payoffs are the result.
The good people there still have a lot of work to do.
Update: Robert Fox’s felony conviction (Case # 06-13-00056-CR) for “tampering with a government document” was reversed and he was acquitted of all charges in the 6th Court of Appeals, Texarkana on 12/4/13. Fox remains in detention following ICE deportation hearings after serving the entirety of his bogus sentence while waiting for his appeal.
After 8 months of postponements and two trials including a mistrial, Robert Fox was sentenced to 1 year state jail time on December 18, 2012. Fox was found guilty of “tampering with a government document” back in April 2012. (Source: Tyler Paper) This can be considered a bittersweet victory for outgoing district attorney Elmer Beckworth who won’t be facing Fox’s litany of appeals. From what was front page news of the House of Israel’s “terrorist” leanings, to being called “scofflaws” and “parasites,” the local media has gone silent on the unprecedented postponement of sentencing in the 2nd Judicial District court. There are no reports of the countless waste of taxpayer time and money spent to justify the multiple open-ended raids on the House of Israel. Raids that resulted in not only Not Guilty verdicts and dismissals, but the impetus for Robert Fox to file his tort claim against the City of Jacksonville Risk Management. This piece of paper was presented to Cherokee County juries as a “tampered government document,” even though it was printed on plain white paper with no official letterhead and Fox is not a government employee. Falsely accused of being a fugitive, Fox had spent 146 days in Cherokee County jail, unable to make his excessive bail before his trials. Other than for health reasons, he has made all of his court appearances, and in some cases has successfully represented himself. If not beaten and broke, Robert Fox will have the next 230 + days to ruminate over his next Federal lawsuit against Cherokee County and possibly publish another account of judicial terrorism. Fox is reported to be facing expedited deportation proceedings to quash his attempts at appeal.
Lessons learned: do not set up shop in downtown Jacksonville, TX unless you enjoy being harassed and your business calls intercepted by local law enforcement; if you file a lawsuit against the county, then do so from elsewhere under the advice of an attorney; and most importantly, do not stay in the area after filing your civil rights complaints or you will face a media willing to perpetuate perverse lies designed to justify the county’s systemic corruption. Cherokee County is the first place in the country to sentence a “lightning rod for terrorism” as they called him, to 12 months for a piece of paper that could have been thrown in the trash. Except for the fact they all did answer Fox’s complaint in federal court, including the judge and prosecutor who convicted and sentenced him. (Source: Fox vs. City of Jacksonville, et al Case no. 2:2010cv00158)
As a footnote, Robert James Fox is incarcerated in the Bradshaw Unit, one mile north of Henderson in Rusk County, Texas. His projected release date is 7/30/2013 according to TDCJ online inmate search records.
District Attorney runs Assistant DA as opponent; Attorney General investigates missing $1.3 million Lon Morris endowment
‘Tis the season to fool everybody, and political ads have run simultaneously in local newspapers pretending not to know of the incestuous politicking of the Cherokee County district attorney’s office. Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer Beckworth (Democrat) is being “challenged” by his assistant district attorney Rachel Patton Rogers, running as a Republican, in the ONLY so-called “contested” race in the county. Beckworth has won praise from his mentor former DA and retired Court of Criminal Appeals Justice Charles Holcomb, who also related to the majority of those at the courthouse, Rusk State Hospital, and remaining county government employees. (Source: Tyler Paper, Nov. 4, 2012) Family ties go beyond political affiliations, hence public servants’ blatant nepotism for the last 40 years goes unreported during the electoral process. The only party lines in Cherokee County, Texas are the ones used to illegally eavesdrop on each other. So much for small town elections.
Do we really get a choice when one candidate’s only purpose is to keep viable challengers out of the primaries?
It is a common in-your-face tactic of Cherokee County shoring up the election, that is the hedging of votes against potential challengers. Both candidates pretend to be in competition by championing a horrible record of local child molestation cases they shared; over 300+ reported probated child sex offenders during Elmer Beckworth’s 20 year tenure alone. God only knows what the docket doesn’t show. Child molesters and recidivists who are offered probation per Beckworth’s office, and then fail their community service requirements is not a record to run on, but to be ashamed of. Nonetheless, the current district attorney’s further endorsements come from his published jury pools and the former Cherokee County sheriff – now part of a local cattlemen’s association. As long as familial and personal vendettas are played out in their small time political games, no child is safe in Cherokee County. No one is safe.
Ask the parents of molested children in Rusk and Jacksonville forced to live nextdoor to offenders who make sweet deals with the district court. Ask the loved ones slain by Cherokee County drug informants released after repeated bail violations. Asked those pepper sprayed and beaten up by Cherokee County law enforcement during high school events. Ask the sexual assault victims, battered wives and families of missing women who have to sue the county in Federal Court to get their rapes on the record. Ask the district judge who’s own bailiff is sitting in federal prison for selling crystal meth.
As Assistant District Attorney for 20 years, Elmer Beckworth’s job has been to run interference for his predecessors’ judicial remands. Endorsee Charles Holcomb’s last case as Cherokee County district attorney resulted in the overturning of an innocent man’s so-called “murder for remuneration” conviction that resulted in a commuted life sentence. Even though all evidence pointed elsewhere, then assistant prosecutor Beckworth continued the facade of a bonafide investigation into the murder of Alto, TX feed store owner Jackie Hicks. As a district attorney Beckworth has continued that pattern of lying all the way to the state legislature in Austin.
Daily Progress, June 3, 1993
As Elmer Beckworth’s lead assistant prosecutor, Rachel Patton Rogers worked side-by-side with Beckworth and his investigators. Hence the cycle continues. Beckworth, a life long Democrat, sensed earlier in 2010 the political tides would swing overwhelmingly Republican during this county election cycle. Hence his “first assistant attorney” was quietly shuffled out last year and over onto the local Republican ticket. Are voters actually to believe that both Beckworth and his recruited assistant are vying for the job as Cherokee County’s top prosecutor simply because they appear in opposite political parties? The local newspapers would have their readers believe so. Her job has been to make sure the DA office stays “in the family.” Meanwhile, bogus political ads have been run simultaneously with articles on the Texas Attorney General’s investigation of missing endowment money at the former Lon Morris College. Over $1 million in a restrictive trust fund deposit according to the Rusk Cherokeean is not “missing” at all:
There is no missing money at Lon Morris College. “Contrary to recent news reports, we know where the money went…” (Source: front page Rusk Cherokeean, “No Missing Funds at Lon Morris,” Oct. 31, 2012)
All other legitimate news agencies are reporting the missing Dr. James Long endowment to Lon Morris College, now valued at $1.3 million. (Source: KLTV) By law, college endowment funds are restrictive, in that the principal (the $1 million gift) cannot be spent all at once, only accrued interest per the donation.
JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) –
Months after the oldest two-year university in the state closed its doors, a serious investigation into its finances has been opened. The Texas Attorney General’s office and Lon Morris college are looking for $1.3 Million in missing endowment funds. A Rusk man left the money to the school, but explicitly stated in his will that the money would be transferred to Sam Houston State University if Lon Morris College ever closed its doors.
In 2009, a little more than $1 Million was willed to the school by Lon Morris graduate, Dr. James D. Long.
Because of interest, that endowment would now be worth about $1.3 Million.
The AG’s investigators are demanding a long list of documents, including emails, bank records and minutes from board meetings. They’re looking for anything that leads their office to who was managing the funds that should have been deferred to Sam Houston State University.
The Attorney General’s Office says the missing endowment funds were brought to their attention after a lawyer for the Long Estate contacted the Texas State University System.
(Source: KLTV, “Attorneys question if Lon Morris College honored donor’s will,” Oct. 25, 2012)
As a footnote to the original article, the Texas Attorney General’s office is now questioning former Lon Morris president Dr. Miles McCall regarding over $1.3 million in missing endowment monies.
JACKSONVILLE — The former president of Lon Morris College is at the center of a Texas Attorney General investigation into a missing $1.3 million. The money comes from an endowment that should have reverted to Sam Houston State University after LMC declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July.
Dr. Miles McCall — who was college president from July 2005 until he resigned May 24 — was questioned in Arlington this week regarding management of the endowment, according to officials and court documents. He had been ordered by a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge to comply with the questioning.
(Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress, “Texas Attorney General investigates missing $1.3 million in endowment money, former Lon Morris College president questioned,” Oct.24, 2012)
How the local media lies, covers up, and buries stories.
Lon Morris College is being auctioned to pay off the $30 million debt it has accumulated. They lied to us that the junior college was financial stable, despite employees being paid late repeatedly in violation of federal labor laws. (Source: CNN, May 24, 2012) They lied to us that the oldest two year college in the State of Texas was not going to bankruptcy court, when in fact Chapter 11 measures were in place to petition the US Eastern District to keep creditors at bay. (Source: KLTV, July 5, 2012) They lied to enrolling students that their financial aid was not in jeopardy, after holding federal loan disbursements longer than allowable — then being placed on probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) commission. (Source: Tyler Paper, Dec. 22, 2011) They told high school graduates that Fall classes were in full swing and recruited students to apply for scholarships and financial aid, knowing the school was permanently closing its doors this Fall. (KETK, Aug. 24, 2012)
They knew the risks of enrollment during Chapter 11 bankruptcy, furloughing their entire teaching staff, and the Department of Education cutting off financial aid, yet they continued to actively recruit students. Colleges that have entered bankruptcy are debarred from participating in Federal Student Assistance (FSA) Title IV programs. They masked their last ditch capital raising efforts in the cloak of fake Christianity, community solidarity, and blind loyalty. Their cult mentality shined through with a faculty willing to work for free, month after month, and obediently keeping their mouths shut when asked about it.
“Earlier reports of Lon Morris Junior College entering Texas bankruptcy courts suggested students planning to attend this fall would be safe for the semester as debt resolution efforts played out. However, an announcement was made last week that the fall semester would not carry on as planned and, instead, will have classes suspended.” (Source: “Lon Morris College Files for Bankruptcy” Sept. 4, 2012)
This type of behavior and consorted effort to bury their collective ingrained corruption is nothing new. Locals forget how previous LMC president Clifford M. Lee told registrars to change the failing grades of his enrolled son, resulting in the resignation of Board of Trustees members. (Source: Texas City Sun, Oct. 8, 1997) That incident of fixing transcripts by the college president was also spun by local reporters when the facts surfaced and were picked up by the Associated Press.
“Lon Morris College president investigated for having son’s grade changed”
JACKSONVILLE, Texas (AP) – The president of Lon Morris College ordered a failing mark on his son’s transcript at the school to be upgraded, the Jacksonville Daily Progress reported Sunday. In a copyright story, the newspaper reported that Clifford Lee has been investigated for directing the school registrar to change a 1995 math score from an “F” to a “C” on his son Craig’s transcript this summer.” (Source: Texas News, Sept. 29. 1997)
Events surrounding child porn charges against Lon Morris head golf coach Barry Griffin and his subsequent 4 1/2 year federal prison sentence were reported belatedly and as matter-of-fact. (Source: “Ex-Lon Morris Head Golf Coach Gets 4 1/2 Years For Child Porn,” Tyler Paper, June 10, 2009) Reports on out of town and overnight tournaments accompanied by Coach Griffin and students ceased only after other media outlets reported his arrest. Now, the local media refuses to print the bankruptcy sale and piece meal auction of the Lon Morris property and school’s assets. It is bad enough for a trusted institution facing $30 million in federal debt litigation to leave so many students and faculty in limbo. But to actively recruit naïve high school graduates with the help of the local media lying about the severity of Lon Morris’ financial problems goes beyond the pale. Even as Lon Morris was being divided, sold, and reverting back to original owners under Chapter 11 bankruptcy litigation, they told parents and students otherwise.
The carrot of a ‘free education’ was beguiling to lower income families, paid by the Pell Grants the junior college needed to stay out of the red. They knew that student enrollment alone would not cover the school’s accumulated debt of $30 million. But with 98% of the student body on financial aid, the goal was always to increase enrollment. This is why Lon Morris held student loans longer than the 14 days past disbursement per the US Department of Education. (Source: Daily Progress, “LMC violates federal aid regulation” May18, 2011) This is why they kept their doors open for enrollment after laying off their entire teaching faculty and a posted foreclosure.
No financial aid checks to draw interest off of, no school.
Out of town parents oblivious to the level of corruption permeating every institution in this county should use this as their wake up call. These institutions are the advertisers for the “News” outlets whose purpose is to paint the rosiest picture of the stinking corruption that keeps this place afloat. The worse it gets, the thicker they pile it on. When their associates are caught and sent to prison, they pretend their crimes never took place, ignoring the years of accolades spread by false reporting and word-of-mouth. If you want the facts surrounding the everyday affairs of Cherokee County, you’ll have to read about it in newspapers a hundred miles away, if it ever gets reported at all. The truth rarely sees the light of day here.
Welcome to Cherokee County, Texas. Spend your money wisely. Spend it elsewhere.
- “Closed Lon Morris College Prepares for Piecemeal Auction,” Katy Stech, Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Sept. 27, 2012.
- Stephens, Angela. “Texas College President Ordered Alteration To Son’s Transcript,” Community College Week 10.7 (1997): 2. MasterFlLE Premier. Web. 28 May 2012.
- “No intentional wrongdoing at Lon Morris” Rusk Cherokeean/Herald, Oct. 9, 1997.
- “Lon Morris President meets with employees after talk of bankruptcy,” KETK, April 6, 2011.
- “Lon Morris College: Bankruptcy a step forward,” Tyler Paper, July 4, 2012.
- “Lon Morris: Open for business,” KLTV, July 19, 2012.