Commentary has said it before. Democrats finally take control of the Harris County Courthouse, and we can’t get our sh_t together.
The Chron recently had a story about Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and her investigation of so-called enemies. Now they have a timeline of events at the county. See below.
Ogg takes office
Kim Ogg takes office, the first Democrat in decades to serve as district attorney in the state’s most populous county.
Sculpture agreement approved
Harris County Commissioners Court approves an agreement for the county to borrow 14 sculptures from a private art dealer to display across Commissioner Rodney Ellis’ district.
Hidalgo becomes Harris County judge
Lina Hidalgo takes office as Democrats sweep county elections and gain the majority on Commissioners Court.
Ogg makes budget request for more staffers
Ogg’s budget request calls for hiring 102 additional assistant DAs and more than 40 support staff. Ogg says the surge is needed to clear a backlog in cases exacerbated by Hurricane Harvey, a driver of overcrowding at the Harris County Jail.
DA’s office files complaint against Jordan
The district attorney’s office files a complaint against Judge Darrell Jordan, a key player in the bail reform settlement, accusing him of unprofessional interactions with prosecutors in his court. A state commission later sustained the complaint.
Ogg opposes bail reform settlement
Ogg publicly opposes bail reform settlement, which a federal judge approves soon afterward. Ellis condemns Ogg’s opposition as “last ditch efforts to use unfounded scare tactics and bail-profiteer talking points.”
Early voting starts for Rodney Ellis’ primary election
One week before early voting starts in Commissioner Rodney Ellis’ March 3 primary election, news of his stored art is first reported.
Grand jury subpoenas sent out on stored art
County officials tell KPRC 2 that grand jury subpoenas for information and testimony about the stored art have been sent out by the DA’s Public Corruption Unit. Ogg did not confirm or deny the investigation.
Commissoners Court awards $11M vaccine outreach contract
Commissioners Court awards an $11 million contract to Elevate Strategies, a communications firm, to do COVID-19 vaccine outreach across the county.
Ogg sends letter about jail data breach concerns
Letter from Ogg to County Attorney’s office raises concerns about a data breach in a jail population dashboard maintained by the county’s Justice Administration Department.
Hidalgo, Cagle spar over vaccine outreach contract
Hidalgo and Cagle fight openly in Commissioners Court over the vaccine outreach contract awarded to Elevate Strategies. Cagle questioned how a one-person firm could manage such a large contract. Hidalgo accuses him of sowing doubt in the county’s COVID response and creating a conspiracy.
Hidalgo cancels vaccine outreach contract
Hidalgo says on Sept. 8 she’s canceling the Elevate Strategies contract because it’s become so politicized it risks undermining residents’ trust in vaccination efforts.
Grand jury declines to charge Ellis
A grand jury declines to charge Ellis with crimes related to storage of the art.
DA seeks records on vaccine outreach contract
The Harris County District Attorney issues subpoenas seeking records related to the Elevate Strategies contract.
Computers seized from Hidalgo’s office
Search warrants used to seize computer equipment from Hidalgo’s office outline communications between her employees and Elevate Strategies weeks before the bidding process opened.
Ogg makes ‘defunding’ accusation
Ogg accuses Commissioners Court of “defunding” her office, as she seeks $6 million for hiring and raises.
Hidalgo aides indicted
A grand jury indicts three Hidalgo aides – Wallis Nader, Alex Triantaphyllis and Aaron Dunn.
They’re accused of misusing official information by emailing details of the vaccine outreach contract to Elevate before the bidding process had become public. They’re also accused of tampering with government documents because they signed paperwork stating they had followed county guidelines. Both offenses are felonies.
Hidalgo fires back at Ogg on indictments of her staffers, calling DA’s investigation a “political vendetta” as Hidalgo seeks re-election.
Hidalgo aides call for recusal
Two Hidalgo aides file a motion demanding that Ogg recuse herself from their prosecutions, alleging that they are the result of her “months-long, highly public feud” with Hidalgo.
Ogg shoots back: “There is no conflict of interest here,” she says, adding that her only goal was to exercise “the District Attorney’s public interest in protecting the community’s safety.”
Jordan arrested, case promptly dismissed
Darrell Jordan, a Harris County misdemeanor court judge, is arrested and charged with official oppression on June 27. Ogg’s office accused Jordan of wrongfully jailing Wayne Dolcefino, a Houston media consultant, in an incident that had occurred more than two years earlier.
At that time, Dolcefino interrupted proceedings in Jordan’s courtroom and refused to leave. So Jordan held him in contempt, resulting in his arrest. The incident was captured in a video-recording that Dolcefino himself had made using a hidden camera.
A grand jury indicted Jordan. The charge is dismissed four days later.
Hidalgo drops ‘F-bomb’
As the Harris County Commissioners Court discusses a violence prevention program that Ogg questioned, Hidalgo says:
“If my colleagues want to put this in the district attorney’s or the sheriff’s office, then we are going to take a vote and be on the record about who wants it to go where. So that I can explain to my community what else we’re doing, because some of us are wrapped around the little finger of a woman who, I don’t know what the f— she’s threatening you with.”
Pathetic, if you ask Commentary.
The featured photo is Cassidy Hutchison making the TV interview rounds. Last night on MSNBC, she got a shoutout from Alexander Butterfield of Watergate fame. Cool. Good for her and good for America.
We lost Hall of Fame great Brooks Robinson yesterday. The greatest third baseman ever. Two-time World Series champ with the Orioles and an AL MVP.
We lost last night. Getting down to the end. Four games remain in the regular season as we cling to a Wild Card slot.