Apparently former Pct. 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman, one of Frank Leffingwell’s biggest supporters, has decided wasting almost 1 MILLION in tax dollars defending her illegal actions wasn’t enough. Now it appears, according to sources, she is racking up the taxpayer-funded bill conducting multiple open records requests on her arch-rival Bill Gravell in hopes of finding “dirt”.
Birkman was found guilty last year of violating a man’s 14th Amendment constitutional rights while she was Commissioner, costing taxpayers close to 1 million dollars in legal fees. That case is still ongoing and the legal fees footed by taxpayers continue to mount.
A few weeks ago, Frank Leffingwell issued a press release attacking his opponent Bill Gravell. Ironically, a few weeks prior to this attack, Birkman submitted an open records request on Gravell and received the same information Leffingwell cited in his attack press release. Information that has since been proven to be false and misleading. Leffngwell’s false attack even drew rebuke from the County Auditors office according to sources. This leads us to ask, did Leffingwell receive the information from Birkman? Birkman is not shy about her support of Leffingwell and Leffingwell is proud to list her as an endorser.
Even after being found to be completely false, Leffingwell doubled down on his attacks putting out another email last week stating:“Bill Gravell, has a record of fiscal waste and mismanagement, enjoys using tax dollars for junkets around the country”. Given this attack was proven to be false, many feel is a direct slap to the face of the Chief Justice of Texas.
One “junket” Leffingwell describes was Gravell beingnnominated by the Chief Justice and Administrative Director – Office of Court Administration of the State of Texas with the recommendation “Chief Justice Hecht and I would like to nominate Judge Bill Gravell, Jr., Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3 of Williamson County from Texas for the Coaching and Mentoring Judges program. Judge Gravell is on the Texas Judicial Council and is a leader among the judiciary.”
Another “junket” Leffingwell spins, he also unknowingly attacked the County Clerk, District Clerk and IT Director when they, along with Gravell, attended a training seminar for implementing technology in Williamson County courtrooms that would ultimately save taxpayers hundreds of thousands a year.
Many are now asking, what next? Will he also attack Gravell for being appointed to the Texas Judicial Council by Chief Justice Nathan Hecht? Gravell being chosen one of 24 county elected officials in the entire state to attend the Texas Association of Counties leadership school? Gravell serving on the teaching faculty for Judges in Texas? Or possibly serving as chairman of the Data Committee for the Office of Court Administration and the Criminal Justice Committee?
Or perhaps Gravell’s office receiving the award for “Collection Improvement Program of the Year in Texas”. His office being chosen by Tyler Technologies’ to receive the national “Public Sector Excellence Award”? Or maybe Gravell’s office being chosen as the first court in Texas to receive the national “Innovation in Business Process in America” award for contributions to the judiciary in technology and court business processes. Or possibly, being nominated by the Chief Justice and chosen as the “2017 Judge of the Year in Texas”?
Leffingwell also personally attacked Gravell in his press release stating Gravell was nothing more than a “youth pastor-turned-professional-politician and a showman”. In the same press release, Leffingwell also attacked Gravell’s supporters calling them “court house cronies”. Calling the Sheriff, District Attorney, County Attorney and several other Republican leaders and anyone else who supports and endorses Gravell a “crony” is quite disturbing and many have taken offense to the statement. Over the holiday break, the District Attorney and County Attorney both made it clear they weren’t pleased with the attacks. Since then, many have used the hashtag #Cronies to express their support of Gravell. One local company apparently created a tumbler with Gravell’s logo on one side and the hashtag #Cronies on the other. Below is a screen shot from County Attorney Dee Hobb’s facebook page:
Leffingwell closed his latest attack email stating “Bill Gravell typifies everything that is wrong with politics today and everything I fight against as a Republican.” Ironic given Leffingwell, as a “Republican”, has voted to raise taxes every year he has been in office and has added tens of millions in debt to the citizens of Round Rock since being elected, while Gravell and his staff were winning state and national awards for the conservative business practices implemented in his office.
As stated before, we were hoping to see a good clean campaign but it appears Leffingwell by his own statements, and through surrogates, will continue stooping to gutter based politics filled with wild accusations and blatantly false statements. Then again, when you are running as a “Republican” but have the record of a liberal, voting to raise taxes every single year and piling on debt as a sitting city councilman in Round Rock, you sling mud to distract the public.
Oddly enough, Leffingwell should understand that violating the Texas Rules on Professional Conduct, specifically Rule 8.02. Judicial and Legal Officials, is a serious violation. (a) A lawyer shall not make a statement that the lawyer knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory official or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office.
But that’s not all Leffingwell has done. Stay tuned for the next report.