Rusk County Deputy commits suicide amidst corruption; New Summerfield mayor “destroys taped phone calls”
A 56 year old Rusk County Sheriff Deputy weeks away from retirement committed suicide inside the Rusk Sheriff Department early Thursday June 14, 2007. Lieutenant Fred Dunlap arrived to work at 5:30 am and apparently shot himself in the chest. Many of his former allies within Rusk County were under investigation, though Dunlap was never named an actual suspect in wrongdoing.
According to the Tyler Morning Telegraph “Investigators at the scene have confirmed there was a lengthy suicide note, which indicated Dunlap had some knowledge of alleged corruption that has recently come to light.”
The article continues to list the similar allegations occurring in Cherokee County, Texas, namely recent insurance fraud and civil rights violations amoungst the Sheriff Department. Lt. Dunlap had been with the Rusk Co. Sheriff’s Department since 1984.
June 15, 2007 New Summerfield, Texas
The New Summerfield City Council heard from fired ex-police chief Tony Almengor who alleged his termination last year was a result of him whistle blowing to the Cherokee County District Attorney. The former New Summerfield police chief claimed that current Mayor Dan Stallings destroyed secret tape recordings of conversations with officials. New Summerfield Councilwoman Sherry Solomon countered that Almengor was fired for an improper relationship with the city secretary and for violating the city’s time card policies.
The Jacksonville Daily Progress reports “According to Almegor, the beginning of the end for he and [city secretary Chrisina] Collier was earlier this year when Collier allegedly witnessed Mayor Stallings destroy a tape that contained phone conversations between the mayor and former Mayor Jerry Carlile. ”
“Danny Stallings bought a recorder himself, put it on his phone here in the office and did record Jerry Carlile when he would call and told Jerry Carlile he was recording him,” she [Collier]said.“The tapes didn’t belong to the city, the recorder didn’t belong to the city, they weren’t city property.” New Summerfield City Secretary Chrisina Collier was terminated the same day as police chief Tony Almengor. They were accused of having an improper relationship. Weeks later, Mayor Stallings hired gypsy cop Michael Meissner as Almengor’s replacement.
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Mayor Dan Stallings had stood by the Michael Meissner hiring and Meissner was subsequently fired by the New Summerfield City Council in March 2007. Meissner has a criminal record and by not being a certified peace officer, placed the city at risk regarding insurance and liability. Texas law and TCLEOSE licensing requires a thorough background check of police candidates. Meissner had had 15 police jobs in 15 years. Regardless, Michael Meissner was handpicked as Tony Almengor’s replacement as New Summerfield’s Chief of Police.
Prior to former New Summerfield, TX mayor Jerry Carlile resigning in August 2006, police chief Randal Kennedy and city treasurer Cindy Carson were terminated. Kennedy had also been employed with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department for over a decade, then subsequently fired. He was later placed in New Summerfield as the city’s police chief by former Mayor Carlile. Mayor Dan Stallings would ultimately approve of the hiring of Almengor and Meissner.
New Summerfield, Texas currently has no active police department; the city is patrolled by the Cherokee County Sheriff Deputies. As for the destroyed tape recordings between Mayor Stallings and former mayor Carlile, who knows? It is not an issue for a city employee to record his/her phone calls. It is an issue for a 3rd party to be secretly someone else’s, no matter what the CCSD or D.A.’s office has advised. The FBI and Texas Rangers are the entities that can record 3rd party phone calls, and even they need a warrant and have to listen in IN REAL TIME. State and County jails can record inmates phone calls, as Nacogdoches County Sheriff Kerss admits in print but Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell denies.
Cherokee County employs deputized GTE and former Lufkin Conroe Telephone Exchange employees who are directed and paid for by the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office.
The Cherokee County District Attorney Investigator’s prime duty is to initiate ‘outlaw’ phone drops on political enemies and potential jurors. Federal grant money and funds from the coffers of the State of Texas are given as payment to informants, who just happen to be close relatives of members of the Cherokee County establishment. Recording a phone call is not illegal unless both parties are not aware of it being done by a 3rd party, therefore a slippery slope.
In a town that small, every phone call coming out of city hall is being routed to somebody’s grandma’s farm for a Cherokee County constable or three to listen in on. Yes Sir, every one of New Summerfield’s city business calls are intercepted by somebody out of the CCSD and recorded somewhere down the road. Why would they accuse the mayor of “destroying tapes” of city business calls, which the mayor has ever legal right to record? It’s that third party recording, the home phones and the pay phone at the Dairy Queen (if New Summerfield has one) that law enforcement record via outlaw drops. Ever notice how many reserve Cherokee County Sheriff deputies are also full time LCTX or GTE linemen?
As far as Michael Meissner is concerned, his lack of proper TCLEOSE certification put the city at risk in terms of liability insurance. Those that defend and support Meissner should stop and think about the hiring of Larry Pugh by Jacksonville, TX PD. Can New Summerfield afford similar civil rights suit?