Charges, denials of corruption in Brown County, but no investigation

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Judge Ray West
Judge Ray West (screenshot: KTXS)

Brown County Judge Ray West, accused by the county sheriff’s office of bribery and other misdeeds, was cleared by the Attorney General, according to documents uncovered by KTXS in a months-long open records battle.

Former Brown County Chief Deputy Bobby Duvall, who was one of three investigators on the case, maintained he believes the judge committed corruption in 2013 and criticized the Attorney General’s Office for not pursuing a probe into West’s activities surrounding his relationship with companies bidding to rehab a county building.

According to the documents obtained by KTXS, West and former Brown County Probation Director JR Williams took three golf trips paid for by two private companies that were bidding to turn a building into a facility housing juvenile inmates.

Ultimately, West allowed one of those companies to begin construction on the property before getting approval by the commissioners’ court.

West is running for re-election as Brown County Judge, a position he’s held in this county — located about 150 miles northeast of Austin — since 1992.

“Only now is someone publicly making a statement like this that is completely unsubstantiated,” West told the station.

The documents obtained by KTXS include audio recordings where West told law enforcement not to pass their investigation to the Attorney General’s office.

From KTXS:

“The problem is that if you get the AG in here, they start twisting that book around,” West said in the recording.

Duvall also said West tried to stop the investigation.

“What I tried to do was explain the law to them and they didn’t listen,” West said. “The attorney general’s office did listen. They knew the law. They didn’t listen to me. They just knew the law.”

“We were like two grown man that wanted to cry. This was just real hard for us to swallow,” said Bobby Duvall, Brown County’s former chief deputy sheriff.

West told the station the AG’s decision to drop the investigation proved he acted within the law.

“Nothing happened with it,” West told KTXS. “[Duvall] should’ve known better than to have made a public statement like that.”

West also provided the station a statement:

It is extremely unfortunate that Mr. Duvall, as a former law enforcement officer for Brown County, would resort to making reference — public or otherwise — to a claimed investigation that he personally tried to instigate, and that he admits resulted in no action. He should know better. I am mostly disappointed in Duvall’s actions because as a law enforcement officer, he should have been a reflection of this county. We deserved better character and services from our law enforcement officials, and we are now getting the kind of service and good character from our sheriff’s office.

See both reports by KTXS here:

Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.

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