Former Brown County official calls investigation into Judge West unfortunate, defends golf trips


BROWNWOOD, Texas - {span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}A public corruption investigation into Brown County Judge Ray West that was started by the sheriff's office was eventually dropped once it reached the Texas Attorney General's Office.{/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}On Friday former Brown County Probation Director James Williams, who is named in the investigation, called the whole case unfortunate. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}Williams was the director at the time when two companies began looking into a turning a county building located on the 800 of Coleman Road into a juvenile justice facility. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}G4S was eventually awarded the construction contract. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}But the Brown County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation in 2013 claiming West rigged the bidding process. One of the complaints law enforcement received was from Commissioner Wayne Shaw, according to documents. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}"It's water under the bridge. I think the AG's office did what they did, case was closed," Williams said. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}He left Brown County the end of 2012 to become Senior Director of Probation and Community Service at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.{/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}Deputies accused West of bribery, abuse of official capacity, and securing execution of document by deception, according to case files. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}The Texas Attorney General's Office chose not prosecute West, and on Thursday he told KTXS it proved he did nothing wrong.{/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}Audio recordings obtained by KTXS through an open records request show investigators questioned West for taking three golf trips paid for by the companies bidding for the facility. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}"You took three trips to Arizona and Florida. We've already digested that," Former Chief Deputy Bobby Duvall said in the recording.{/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}"Which you did for both companies," Former Sheriff Bobby Grubbs replied. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}"And you did it for both companies, but i.e. that's a problem, even with both companies that you shouldn't have done," Duvall said on tape.{/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}"That's a problem?" West said. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}Williams joined West on those golf trips, according to documents. He said the golfing coincided with a major fundraiser one company was hosting. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}"It coincided with them showing all what they do and us wanting to know what they do before we get in any type of discussion about it," Williams said. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}Williams said he was also grilled by the AG's investigators after he left to work at TJJD in Austin. {/span}{/span}

{span style="font-size:16px;"}{span style="font-family:Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif;"}He said the G4S deal helped bring jobs to the county and was good for the juveniles in the justice system.{/span}{/span}