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

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BROWNWOOD, Texas - 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.

On Friday former Brown County Probation Director James Williams, who is named in the investigation, called the whole case unfortunate. 

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. 

G4S was eventually awarded the construction contract. 

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. 

"It's water under the bridge. I think the AG's office did what they did, case was closed," Williams said.

He left Brown County the end of 2012 to become Senior Director of Probation and Community Service at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

Deputies accused West of bribery, abuse of official capacity, and securing execution of document by deception, according to case files. 

The Texas Attorney General's Office chose not prosecute West, and on Thursday he told KTXS it proved he did nothing wrong.

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. 

"You took three trips to Arizona and Florida. We've already digested that," Former Chief Deputy Bobby Duvall said in the recording.

"Which you did for both companies," Former Sheriff Bobby Grubbs replied. 

"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.

"That's a problem?" West said. 

Williams joined West on those golf trips, according to documents. He said the golfing coincided with a major fundraiser one company was hosting. 

"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. 

Williams said he was also grilled by the AG's investigators after he left to work at TJJD in Austin. 

He said the G4S deal helped bring jobs to the county and was good for the juveniles in the justice system.

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