Jerry Eversole speaks on his resignation

September 20, 2011 4:45:43 PM PDT
Just one day after announcing his resignation, Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole is striking back, not happy about stepping down in shame.

Four years after 13 Undercover started investigating Eversole, it appears the feds have agreed to a deal that removes Eversole from office, but keeps him from serving any serious time behind bars.

Eversole is leaving office under a cloud. He knows that. It doesn't mean he's happy about it though. But the day after the deal came together we're asking more questions, like why those with the power to do something about his unethical behavior didn't act.

The day after he announced his upcoming resignation from public office, Eversole didn't want to be in the public eye. Colorful as always, he turned down our interview offer telling us, "I don't wish to participate in making myself look like a bigger dumbass than I am."

"He made a mistake. It says he had a career of almost 20 years or so and he made a mistake that he's paying the price for," said Jared Woodfill, Chairman of the Harris County Republican Party.

On Tuesday, Woodfill said he would rather look forward than back. But the party still hasn't come to any conclusion of its nine month ethics investigation into Eversole. The party leadership met Monday night at a regularly scheduled meeting, just hours after it was clear Eversole was planning to plead guilty to lying to an FBI agent.

But those leaders didn't take any action to even slap Eversole's hand, and they don't appear ready to do it anytime soon.

"It's definitely not a good thing what happened yesterday, I admit that. But the reality is we had to make a decision -- Do we as a body try and convict a man when a jury had not done so. Do we as a body say he needs to go when the voters had sent him back to office given all the information we were privy to," Woodfill said.

The Harris County Attorney's Office is continuing its wait and see and wait a little more approach too. The Harris Co. attorney is the only one who could have filed suit to remove Eversole had he not retired. Now they aren't even sure they could oust Eversole for lying to an FBI agent, but they do say he should've disclosed some of the $100,000 worth of gifts he took from developer Mike Surface.

"The more that you disclose, the less likely there would have been a federal prosecution," said Terry O'Rourke with the Harris Co. Attorney's Office.

Which leads us back to Jerry Eversole, who didn't want to talk much with us about his deal with the feds, adding only, "I should serve three more years (as a county commissioner) and retire with some dignity and not with my tail dragging between my legs."

Eversole and his co-defendant Michael Surface admit they traded the gifts worth more than $100,000. But Eversole never reported most of them on required government documents, and that's against the law. Now the allegations are all too old to prosecute.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will appoint Eversole's successor. By Texas law, it is his choice alone. Judge Emmett told us Tuesday he expects to make his choice by the time Eversole officially resigns on October 1.


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Stories from the 13 Undercover 'Winning Hand' investigations and Commissioner Jerry Eversole


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