(Photo by Matt Howerton)
MCLENNAN COUNTY (February 9, 2014) A federal court date has been set for the case involving nine both former and current deputies of the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, who say current Sheriff Parnell McNamara, either fired or demoted them for their political affiliations when he took office in 2013.
The trial will begin on Feb. 18 in Austin after numerous attempts to resolve the case outside of court were exhausted.
The nine deputies filed suit against McNamara and the county claiming they were mistreated due to the fact they openly supported McNamara’s GOP primary opponent Randy Plemons in 2012.
McNamara has since said the deputies were either fired or demoted due to reorganization in the sheriff’s office, or their performance records.
McNamara’s family attorney, David Dickson, says McNamara is ready to put the suit behind him.
“I think it's an aggravation, and the sheriff is anxious to have his day in court and present his side of the facts," Dickson said.
But due to recent court documents filed by the attorney who is representing the nine deputies, Don Tittle, McNamara is being pushed to explain an improperly filed campaign contribution from 2012.
The new documents, which consist mostly of deposition testimony, say Dallas Cowboys tickets valued at $1,000 were given to McNamara Inc. to auction off at a campaign fundraiser.
But the wrong person was cited for the donation in McNamara's finance reports.
A current deputy, Kevin Ferguson, was given the tickets by Parson’s Roofing in Waco, but Parson’s wanted their donation to remain anonymous.
Ferguson was originally listed as the donor. Dickson says McNamara quickly fixed the mistake after it was brought to his attention.
"Parnell contacted the Texas Ethics Commission and they recommended he file an amendment, which he did, it explained the donation in full and hopefully that resolved everything."
Not citing the actual donor of a campaign contribution is a violation of the Texas Election Code.
It can be prosecuted as a class A misdemeanor, but it's up to McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna to decide to take the case or not.
Reyna declined to give comment Sunday night. Calls and emails sent to Don Tittle weren’t returned Sunday night either.
The recently filed testimonies also detail that McNamara was contacted by a Lacy Lakeview city official who wanted an opinion about hiring current Lacy Lakeview Police Chief John Truehitt.
Truehitt was a Plemons supporter, but a negative e-mail from one of his family members to McNamara led to the sheriff saying he wouldn’t work with Truehitt if hired.
Truehitt, a longtime FBI agent, was hired anyway.
McNamara has since said he has had no problems working with Lacy Lakeview Police.