Grits read through the TEC ruling against Sharon Keller, who was hit with a record $100K fine for various failures to disclose financial information, and notes that the system isn’t done with Keller yet, as there is still the matter of a pending criminal complaint against her.
I called [Travis County Attorney David] Escamilla to ask about the status of the criminal complaint, which has now been sitting at his office for more than a year. Escamilla had not yet read the TEC opinion himself, declaring that he’d asked two of his prosecutors to review it and report back to him tomorrow with a recommendation how to proceed.
Escamilla and I spoke both on and off the record. On the record, he said he hadn’t moved forward before now because he’d been been waiting for the Ethics Commission to complete its investigation. He said he would give “great weight” to the Ethics Commissions findings of fact and conclusions of law, which would have a “great influence” on whether his office elected to proceed with prosecution. Escamilla was particularly impressed that the TEC identified 13 different alleged Class B misdemeanor violations and said the remarkable volume of violations might also be a factor in whether to go forward.
IMO prosecutors should particularly investigate the circumstances surrounding the property purchased by her father and the boards of directors Judge Keller sat on but did not disclose. Why wouldn’t her father tell her about those properties? And if Daddy listed her as a company director without her knowledge or participation in the company’s affairs, doesn’t that begin to look like Keller’s father has been setting up dummy companies for some unknown purpose that he’s been concealing from his family? It’s a legitimate question if we are to believe the Presiding Judge’s denials that she knew anything about the assets and corporate affiliations in her amended ethics disclosure.
My guess: By a long shot, the last shoe hasn’t dropped in this saga.
I would not be surprised if there are charges brought against Keller. And while Grits frets over the possibility of Keller resigning as a result and being replaced by John Bradley, I think she’d continue to insist she’s done nothing wrong and would stick it out till the bitter end. Which ought to be the ballot box in 2012, followed by whatever the criminal justice system may have in store for her. That’s my hope, anyway. See also editorials from the DMN and Star Telegram for more.