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Flinging the shhh ... 


Targets: Tom and Gerry Rickhoff, Probate Court Judge 2 and his brother, the County Clerk
An anonymous squealer forwarded us a 10-page court motion against Tom Rickhoff, who’s up for re-election as Probate Court Judge #2, handling wills and inheritance. Try to follow us on this one: the complaint alleges that Rickhoff has an improper soft spot for a lawyer named Dick Tinsman. So, to hedge his bets, Tinsman regularly hires another attorney, Charles Jackson III (you’ll remember him as the Primarily Primates defender against the Attorney General), to do nothing except attach his name to his case and metaphorically pick his nose. Why? Because Jackson’s sister is Judge Polly Spencer, who rules over the other probate court. When Jackson signs on, Spencer recuses herself; the case defaults to Rickhoff. Clever, huh? The source line at the bottom of the document indicates it originated with the computers at the defendants’ law firm, Daniels & Daniels, but they’re in No Comment mode. The squealer also alleges that Rickhoff’s brother, County Clerk Gerry Rickhoff, sloppily doctored the original case filing to make sure it got to his brother’s court.

Target: Phylis Speedlin, Fourth Court of Appeals
For days, Appeals Judge hopeful Robert “Eddie” De La Garza promised he’d fax us the empty carton of forbidden fruit juice he claims his opponent Phylis Speedlin’s been sipping. Finally, on the Sunday before deadline, the fax splurted out the complaint he filed with the Ethics Commission in September. He hollers, unintelligibly, about a $10,000 contribution from the Valero Energy Corporation in Speedlin’s bucket. Whether it be a dollar or a million, he points out, a corporate contribution is illegal. But wait! Everyone from Governor Rick Perry to Democratic Senator Rodney Ellis and Representative Carlos Uresti has sucked Valero’s gasoline nozzle. They just remembered to type the magic letters – P-A-C (political action committee) – after Corporation. Speedlin’s not a criminal. She’s just not an I-dotter, nor a T-crosser. She forgot a few letters here, left a few blank there (DLG identified more than 100 occasions), so what? Oh, yeah ... she’s a fucking judge.

Targets: Susan Reed, District Attorney and Nelson Wolff, County Judge
Hold ’em tight, Susan Reed: A law-enforcement source claims that in a recent gambling-house raid at Richard Lee’s — the $3-million sixth-place finisher at the World Series of Poker — Judge Wolff was shown the back door and the DA promised to cover his tracks.

Target: Henry Bonilla, U.S. Congressman CD-23 and his brother, Ben
The brother of the incumbent allegedly stormed into the Albert-Uresti-for-Congress headquarters where Uresti’s sister was working alone and raved about Uresti signs on the South Side, until Anna Marie Hernandez called the cops. Congressman Bonilla later made light of the incident. The Urestis want him to apologize, and they want the University of Texas Health Science Center to stay out of politics (the school’s president, Francisco Cigarroa, appears on the cover of UTHSC’s new magazine, The Vanguard, shaking hands with Mr. Bonilla, practically a devil endorsement).

Target: Albert Uresti, Bonilla challenger
Although only two open-records requests were submitted to South San ISD in recent weeks about the Congressional District 23 candidate, 90 pages of a 2002 investigation into the former plant-operations director were already making the rounds, a source says. Inside, details on how Uresti was forced to resign over the improper (and potentially profitable) disposal of school A/C units — proving once again that in the absence of a dream candidate, pettiness prevails.

Target: Judge Peter Sakai, 225 District Court challenger
The San Antonio Lightning and South Texas Republicans main squeeze Joe Solis railed against Democrat Sakai (a shoo-in) and the vacating occupant of the bench, GOP judge John Specia, after a September fundraising event in the Terrell Hills home of the Spurs’ Brent Barry. Sakai says Specia appeared, but it was not an endorsement, nor are there any ethics investigations into what the conservative Lightning called “prohibited political stumping for an SA jurist.” That’s no comfort to the GOP’s Solis, who wants to know who turned his boy Specia out and how long he’s been a Democrat?

Target: Rene Diaz, 224 District Court Judge
Word is, popular GOP Judge Diaz lost his Express-News endorsement this year after he was found to have plagiarized a fellow SA Bar Association member’s entry in the bench book. “It was not copyrighted,” Diaz told the daily. Or maybe it was his alleged involvement in the stolen-Southwest-Airlines tickets cover-up?

Target: Too Dirty To Name
Robin eggs underfoot on this one: A photocopy of a lurid letter addressed to Democratic DA candidate Ed Bravenec soiled our office a few weeks ago, detailing the prosecutorial cover-up of a lascivious encounter between a top sports figure and an underage prostitute at the Hyatt Hill Country hotel near Seaworld. The motivation behind cover-up: money, 12-step-program-buddy loyalty, and the sin of disrupting the basketball season. These accusations are as heavy as an anvil, and we don’t have the legal oven mitts to name names and prod them with the hot poker without a witness. If you’re one of the cops involved, a hotel employee, or the underage hooker herself, feel free to tweet your whistle in our direction.

Target: Greg Abbott, Attorney General
Emboldened by a televised exposé on WFAA Dallas-Fort Worth, David Van Os, Democratic candidate for the state’s top law-enforcement post, has been circulating a capslock-heavy (WRONG! LYING! STEALING!) condemnation of his Republican incumbent opponent Greg Abbott for using tax dollars to produce campaign videos. Is it true, Greggy? Well, yes. The AG’s office created a special propaganda video production branch a few years ago for official promotional purposes. That’s nothing too extraordinary. But recently, his campaign invoked the open-records law to use these promo videos in his re-election ads, at nearly zero cost to his war chest. Fairly sheisty, Greggy, but is it illegal? Not necessarily. There’s nothing stopping Van Os from making the same request, and using the same footage in his attack ads. Then Van Os would be using tax dollars for political purposes too. `For additional reasons to consider voting against Abbott, see “The people’s lawyer?” February 1-7, 2006.`

– The Shit Patrol


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