John Denholm, a former Harris County sheriff's deputy turned lawyer, knows how to push buttons.
And he's done it again, filing a lawsuit that hits right at Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia's point of pride -- an open and transparent administration.
Denholm is seeking an injunction, saying Garcia has consistently refused to release public information in regards to two officers who are in court over their dismissals. Time-consuming requests by the sheriff to the state AG's office on whether stuff could be released were typical, the court documents say:
Various items have gone missing. Some requested items (audio CDs) were claimed to have not existed or were missing but were apparently found after this office's inquiry into the matter.
It would lead one to conclude somebody finally got serious about looking for the material after the AG inquired about it.
The filing says that Garcia's spokesman Alan Bernstein, identified as "a respected former reporter" for the Houston Chronicle, made statements that prove the department was hiding information.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Bernstein says the sheriff and county attorney have not seen the suit and therefore will not comment.
"I confirm that I am a former reporter," Bernstein tells Hair Balls.
Update: From Bernstein, May 12:
One of the two former sheriff's officers listed as plaintiffs in last week's lawsuit against the sheriff over open records is former Lt. Louis Guthrie, fired for a 2008 incident in which he directed the application of crime tape to a busy car wash that his wife had accused of taking $17 from her vehicle.
Today the Sheriff's Civil Service Commission, an independent body whose members are selected by the DA, Commissioners Court and the sheriff, denied Guthrie's request for reinstatement after hearing from him and other witnesses.