Hockley Co DA Challenger Richard Husen Admits $135,000 Federal Tax Liens

Richard Husen, Republican challenger for Hockley County District Attorney, answered questions from the Sandstorm Scholar Wednesday and admitted he has in excess of $135,000 in federal tax liens. Husen, former Levelland City Attorney, is running against incumbent District Attorney Chris Dennis.

The five federal tax liens filed against Husen by the Internal Revenue Service cover tax years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2012 and 2013 totaling $135,793.83. The liens were filed during a period from 12/29/2014 through 3/2/2015. The liens are for 1040 taxes, i.e., individual income taxes.

Husen said that the liens were the result of his double reporting certain income which he earned as Levelland City Attorney and deposited into his law partnership account. That income, reported on a W-2, was reported twice, according to Husen.

Husen: "I did not deem it relevant to the issues that are facing the district attorney's office."

Husen served as city attorney for 30½ years before retiring in 2015. He said the tax liens had nothing to do with his departure from the city of Levelland position. Husen said he and his accountant have filed amended returns correcting the income number.

"Since we discovered that the amount of income being reported was actually substantially in excess of what was earned we have filed amended returns, both partnership and individual, for each one of those years. And since that time the amount that we have paid to the IRS is everything that we believe that was owed including interest. Right now it is my understanding that what the IRS is doing is going back and reconciling what I have paid with what would have been properly reported," said Husen.

We asked Husen if the pressure of owing the federal government $135,000 created a vulnerability which criminal elements might seek to exploit?

"I don't agree that it creates a vulnerability operating the DA office because this concerns years well prior to my taking office. As far as I know most if not all of the amount owed has been paid. I don't agree that this creates any pressure or vulnerability from anyone who I would be in office prosecuting," responded Husen.

Sandstorm Scholar contacted incumbent District Attorney Chris Dennis for comment.

Dennis: "I don't care how you slice it, a need that large creates a vulnerability. To say otherwise kind of ignores common sense."

"I certainly think that type of exposure creates a certain type of need; and I don't care how you slice it, a need that large creates a vulnerability. To say otherwise kind of ignores common sense so far as I'm concerned," said District Attorney Dennis.

When asked if he disclosed the issue as part of the campaign Husen said he had not. null "I did not deem it relevant to the issues that are facing the district attorney's office that prompted me to announce my candidacy," said Husen.

Dennis disagrees. "It tends to indicate there are some management issues that might need to be examined," said the District Attorney.

Dennis said he manages a $485,216 annual budget.

What issues prompted Husen to run?

"The issues that are important and becoming more and more important are the number of cases pending. At any different time they have been increasing. They file 25 – 30 felonies a month but are only disposing of half that number."

Sandstorm Scholar asked if the District Judge had primary responsibility for managing the court docket?

Husen agreed that he does, but added, "The judge is somewhat limited to whether the DA is ready to try cases."

Husen offered no evidence that DA Dennis has not been ready to try cases.

Dennis says he is proud of his ability to move cases.

District Attorney Dennis responded to Husen's allegation saying, "There is an increase in cases filed. Crime is increasing. I dispute the idea that only half that number are being moved. That isn't true."

Dennis says he is proud of his ability to move cases and pointed to the Texas Courts website to validate his claim.

The website document, called Performance Measures, says, "A court should have a minimum goal of achieving a civil backlog index of 1.0 or less. On average, criminal cases should be disposed more quickly than major civil cases, so courts should maintain a lower backlog index for criminal cases than civil cases."

The accompanying document ranking the Hockley Co. District Court for fye 2015 shows a backlog rate of .6 for criminal cases. This suggests the court is operating effectively.

Early voting for the Republican Primary continues through Friday. The Primary Election takes place Tuesday March 1. Both candidates appear on the Republican Primary ballot.

Richard Husen Tax Liens

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Will the Real Michael Bob Starr Please Stand Up?

It’s time for the real Michael Bob Starr to stand up and let us know who he is and what his record is.

Every other candidate in the Congressional District 19 race is from Texas. They have spent all or most of their lives in this district. Their footprints are easy to find. One owns a bank whose books are published in the public record. At least three hold professional licenses from the state. Any discipline meted out against them is in the public domain. Others are business people with lengthy history in the district.

It’s time we were allowed to look beyond the spit and polish.

But Michael Bob Starr is a stranger. He’s only recently become a Texas resident. We’ve found no record that he even owns property in Texas. Never has.

Of all the candidates, Michael Bob Starr is a mystery. Who recruited him to run? Who is supporting him? Even that last question is a secret for Michael Bob Starr. Starr is the beneficiary of dark money by way of a Super PAC organized to funnel money from unknown donors into a campaign to support him.

We call on Michael Bob Starr to release his military personnel record.

Starr is the classic carpetbagger. No one really knows who he is. He hopes to take advantage of a short election cycle and the cumbersome federal laws regarding the disclosure of contributors to do an end run on West Texas before voters wake up and start asking questions.

It’s time we were allowed to look beyond the spit and polish. Stop hiding behind the flag and the men and women of Dyess Air Force Base and show us who you are.

We call on Michael Bob Starr to release his military personnel record unredacted except where national security is compromised. The former colonel should release all military performance reviews, fitness reports, disciplinary actions, reprimands and commendations. In addition, Colonel Starr should ask that the Super PAC “Conservative Texans” immediately release the names and amounts of all donors. Enough secrecy.

We’d like to know why Starr wasn’t going to get his star.

There’s one thing you can be reasonably certain about an officer who retires at the rank of Colonel: he was never going to get a general’s star or he’d have stayed in. Generals in the Air Force are rarer and much better paid than congressmen.

We’d like to know why Michael Bob Starr wasn’t going to get his star.

The voters have a right to know Michael Bob Starr as well as they know Jason Corley, Jodey Arrington and the rest of the candidates. It is within Starr’s power to make that happen.


Starr: Been There, Done That and Got the T-shirt

A Breitbart Texas article describing CD-19 congressional candidate retired Col. Michael Bob Starr’s LGBT activism prompted the candidate to fire back Monday wrapping himself in the flag and calling his detractors “cowards.”

The article includes a picture of then Col. Starr triumphantly crossing the finish line in the Dyess Air Force Base “Gay Fun Run” wearing a gay pride T-shirt. The event was a part of the Dyess observation of LGBT Pride Month according to the caption on the Dyess AFB photo. The Breitbart headline described Starr as a gay rights activist.

bob_starr2In today’s news conference Starr said that he did not support LGBT activism or gay marriage but was only there to support his troops.

A statement from Senior Airman James Rogers to the Abilene Reporter News confirms that Starr was indeed very supportive. “We’re the first LGBT support group on Dyess,” Rogers said. “The atmosphere of acceptance, from Col. (Michael Bob) Starr to the new Airmen Basics has been great. They’ve put an emphasis on changing. You can see with us out here, we’re here because we have the support to be out here” (Abilene Reporter News, May 3, 2015).

It appears from photos that Starr has shown his support in two such “Fun Runs.”

Who is the real Bob Starr?

The LGBT agenda is well known to be a left leaning political agenda that seeks, among other things, to force businesses to participate in activities the owners may find objectionable on religious grounds.

Now all of that is fine, if that is who Michael Bob Starr is, an active supporter of the LGBT agenda.

The question seems to be, “who is the real Michael Bob Starr?”

In a January Faith & Family Forum at Rock City Church, Michael Bob Starr was as militantly anti-gay as any Republican candidate on the dais.

In Monday’s news conference the Michael Bob Starr we saw was a sniveling whiner who called those who told the truth about his actions “cowards” who were conducting a “coordinated, well-financed attack.”

The Michael Bob Starr we saw was a sniveling whiner.

Starr demanded his opponents not make Dyess Air Force Base part of their attack strategy.

But wait, aren’t those military aircraft in the background of Michael Bob Starr’s commercials? Or was that a Greyhound bus? Doesn’t he use “U.S. Air Force” liberally in his material? If Michael Bob Starr can use his command of Dyess AFB as a qualification isn’t it fair for someone else to criticize his actions while serving as base commander?

And while he denied supporting the LGBT agenda, Michael Bob Starr also stated plainly about his actions, “I don’t regret any of this.”

Starr never identified who was behind the “coordinated, well-financed attack.” Jason Corley, the only candidate who has raised this issue, is hardly “well-financed.” Corley is also the only candidate to have not raised and spent enough money to require him to file a campaign finance report. And Breitbart Managing Editor Brandon Darby says he only found out about the issue when the Starr campaign called him trying to do damage control. Darby is an outstanding reporter and editor but it doesn’t require a Bob Woodward to Google “Michael Bob Starr LGBT” once you get that call.

Starr: “I don’t regret any of this.”

Through all the invectives, hurt feelings and whining Starr never denied any allegation contained in the Breitbart article except to say that running in a gay pride race and wearing the gay pride T-shirt did not imply that he supported the gay pride agenda, only the troops.

Been there, done that and got the T-shirt but I really didn’t mean it.


Editorial hypocrisy produces Flores endorsement

Lubbock’s daily newspaper, we like to call it the Daily Nickel, has come out with its endorsements. They are notable but only for their hypocrisy.

Sedeno
Commissioner Sedeno

The Daily Nickel’s endorsement of former Commissioner Gilbert Flores for county commissioner over incumbent Bubba Sedeno in the Democratic Primary was, in its best light, a blatant act of doublespeak. It also renews questions about how relevant a daily newspaper can be when it is owned by a Georgia media conglomerate and has little or no corporate memory.

The argument for editorial hypocrisy is found in the editorial’s reference to Sedeno’s vote for a raise for commissioners. That vote was 4-1 for the raise and Commissioner Bill McCay, who received the Daily Nickel’s endorsement for Pct. 1 Republican Primary, also voted for the raise.

Flores made the motion for a twenty percent raise.

A further demonstration of the duplicity at work is found in a July 24, 2001 article in the Daily Nickel. There we learn that during his previous tenure on the commissioners court Flores himself made the motion for a larger, twenty percent pay raise. The commissioners approved that raise by a 4-1 vote also. McCay was not on the commissioners court at that time.

One of the underlying reasons for the Daily Nickel’s duplicity is found in its ignorance. Ignorance is a sad accusation to make of a media outlet however the Daily Nickel boasts a lack of any institutional memory of itself or the community it presumes to serve. imageTwo thirds of its editorial board are new transfers to Lubbock. Collectively, editorial board opinions are a vivid demonstration of the absence of any historical context.

This is the same publication that in its December 27, 2015 edition announced on the front page that it would soon feature a new column edited by a former Lubbockite who at the time also appeared on the state’s registered sex offender list. The article no longer appears on the paper’s website yet no retraction can be found.

One assumes that Daily Nickel management, when confronted with public outcry over the outrageous move, backed down and attempted to cover up all trace of the lapse. Had management merely looked up its new columnist in its own archives it would have learned the truth. Ignorance on the front page.

Sedeno refuses to be a token.

But ignorance is not the only reason behind the specious endorsement. Unlike his opponent, Bubba Sedeno refuses to be a token. He didn’t take office to get along with the rest of the commissioners. He has consistently challenged the status quo and boldly represented his district without apology.

The commissioners court has long been run by a Queen Commissioner and her Duke. Those two believe their districts, although equal in population to Sedeno’s, merit better and more attention from taxpayer dollars. For years, while Flores was commissioner and without his objection, those two commissioners ran the county with an iron fist behind a cloak of secrecy that produced questionable expenditures and backdoor raises to favored employees.

Commissioner Sedeno has fought for transparency. Unlike Flores, he’s not satisfied to merely collect a paycheck. But the power establishment at the county and the Daily Nickel abhor a minority who isn’t there to just get along.

The power establishment at the county and the Daily Nickel abhor a minority who isn’t there to just get along.

If Sedeno “erred” past offending the Queen and her Duke, both of whom have the ear of the editorial board, it was in cooperating with any media outlet except the Daily Nickel. The editorial board is punishing Sedeno for not realizing that the Daily Nickel and it’s ever shrinking circulation is the only game in town. Except it isn’t the only game in town and Sedeno made no mistake when he refused to bend his knee to the Queen and her Duke.

Whether on the front page or the editorial page, the Daily Nickel has become the marionette for establishment interests and the politicians who cater to it. That calls in question the legitimacy of every endorsement it makes.