Sharp words from our legal analyst after looking at a constable's sworn campaign reports. Tonight, why that press conference may come back to haunt May Walker. 13 Undercover is back tonight and has got some dots to connect.
Constable Walker wouldn't sit down with us for an interview but she had a press conference where she wouldn't take our questions. But she did tell you a lot and we put her answers to the test.
"All the people at Precinct 7 have worked hard to have some credibility and accountability and integrity at Precinct 7, and I think we have all done that," Walker said.
May Walker stood before TV cameras last week, telling taxpayers she's unaware employees worked on her campaign on your dime.
"I can't answer anything, but I'm not aware of that," she said.
So maybe this email from June will help refresh the constable's memory, assuming she reads emails from her command staff sent to her. It's a discussion of how big the barbecue tickets should be, the ones for her annual campaign event.
"The purpose of this press conference is for Constable May Walker to address some issues that have come up," Pamela Greenwood said.
You pay Pamela Greenwood, too, but not to work on the campaign event. It looks like she's the one who's creating the ticket.
"I'm not aware that anybody sent out any emails about the barbecue," Walker said.
But here's an email from May Walker to a commander, passing along the menu options for her campaign fundraiser.
See that woman standing behind May Walker? Yeah that one, she's Lt. Sylvia Trevino and she appears to have been in charge of collecting the money from the employees.
In her office, we found stacks of documents detailing campaign fundraising at Precinct 7:
"Sell the tickets, sell the tickets. Due dates are coming up, sell the tickets," Rahda Patel said.
Rahda Patel is another one of those fired former deputies May Walker blames for her troubles.
"I started giving money back in 2008 when I was a reserve, and I didn't make no money when I was a reserve," Patel said. "We actually have to write a check out for that. Instead of writing it out for a light bill or a gas bill or the guy who cuts my grass, I got to write checks to her."
"No one has forced anybody to contribute anything here," Walker said.
We found envelopes for those barbecue tickets, but they also hold raffles at Precinct 7. This email in February of this year reminds supervisors to tell employees to turn in their money.
"It's not a raffle for my campaign, it is not a raffle for my campaign," Walker said.
Really? Raffles for political campaigns, after all, are illegal. And that's why May Walker's denial may come back to bite her. Look at this email from a commander:
"Constable: Tomorrow is the date of our fundraising raffle drawing..."
Walker sets the time for the drawing for 4pm.
Maybe the constable should look at her own campaign finance reports. Read it for yourself, Mrs. Walker. It says right there in black and white "raffle tickets."
"No question -- it's an admission of an illegal act and it's probably an admission of stupidity," Androphy said.
But the prizes for her rodeo raffle were really cool. Like veal meat? The first prize was a baby calf -- dead or alive. We found the picture in a county computer.
"We have a raffle here during the Christmas season, and the officers get tickets because they want tickets. They usually win some hefty prizes because they get trips to Las Vegas, they get a 50-inch TV," Walker said.
"Public records are, to us, the key to any good investigative report," Texas Watchdog editor Trent Siebert said.
Because if you look at May Walker's campaign finance report, you will see that Christmas party raffle raised thousands of dollars for her political campaign.
"If they don't respect the law, it's pretty hypocritical for them to try to enforce the law against others," Androphy said.
Lt. Trevino did got some heat about the 2009 Christmas raffle -- not from prosecutors but from the deputies. You see, hundreds of raffle tickets were sold, but the very same person won first and second prize -- the big TV and the all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas.
The lucky guy? Constable Victor Trevino. Oh, did we mention that Lt. Sylvia Trevino is Harris County Pct. 6 Constable Victor Trevino's wife?
Here's a special interactive. You can see the documents that May Walker may have trouble now explaining; you can see her entire press conference and see her latest responses to all our stories on Precinct 7 by clicking on each badge.
The constable has declined our repeated offers for an on-camera interview, even though we said we'd put the whole thing online for you to watch. The offer still stands.
On Thursday, Walker's defense attorney, Chip Lewis, issued the following statement:
"All of the money raised through the raffle went to buy the prizes and the pay expenses of the Christmas party. Further, constable Walker goes into her own pocket to cover said expenses."