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)