The Insider

Loneliest Job in Town
Last week we indicated that 50 municipal judges had received late notices on their annual dues from the State Bar of Texas, when in fact only the 15 full-time city jurists were so notified. Chief Judge Sylvia Garcia blamed the late notices on a failure by City Controller Lloyd Kelley's office to forward the necessary backup documentation specifying the individual judges whose dues were being paid by the city. But Kelley's chief of staff, Allen Baquet, claims the office did indeed send along the paperwork it received from the muni courts when it paid the judges' Bar dues. "Don't let your unremitting attacks on Mr. Kelley cause you to be so sloppy," Baquet wrote us. "Just call and ask for the facts. Like the Maytag repairman, we'll be waiting." Baquet didn't return our subsequent phone inquiries -- he must have been out on a service call -- but Garcia's assistant, Anna Otero, says that Kelley's office, instead of sending the documentation to the Bar, filed it away. After the late notices hit their targets, Otero says, she contacted Wesley Dormer of Kelley's staff, who retrieved the filed-away statements. Otero then sent a courts employee to pick up the statements and dispatched them by Fedex to beat a looming deadline. Dormer says he recalls talking to Otero about the dues problem, and while he doesn't remember all the details, he acknowledges that her account is "highly possible." 'Nuff said, Mr. Baquet?

The Insider is available by phone at 624-1483 or 624-1496 (fax) or by e-mail at insider@houston-press.com.

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