GUILTY! Lumberton Councilman Don Burnett's Committee FINED by Texas for ILLEGAL $25,000 from Walmart (bribe?)
by David Bellow on July 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM
Lumberton City Councilmen Don Burnett and Andy Kelley have had their political committee fined for serious violations of the law.
I filed the complaint months ago with the State of Texas Ethics Commission. This week I got a letter in the mail from them. The State of Texas concluded that the councilmen's committee, Keep Dollars in Lumberton Committee, violated Texas law by accepting $25,000 from Walmart and giving it to Texas Petition Strategies. The financial transaction was illegal because it was a behind-the-scenes massive money exchange that was done before the committee was even formed. It is illegal for a committee to accept or expend such a large amount of money without having first formed the political action committee.
The Ethics Commission assessed a fine against the committee's treasurer, Joan Abshire, a local realtor.
You can see a copy of the State's findings that a violation of the law occurred here.
Many members on the Lumberton City Council have a bad history of lies, corruption and illegal backroom deals. Most recently, a jury ruled against the City of Lumberton and ordered the city to pay judgment of over one million dollars. The city had been sued because they stole a man's land without giving him even close to proper compensation. They thought they could railroad him but he got a lawyer and the city lost.
This latest finding of guilt from the Texas Ethics Commission is just the tip of the iceberg.
To make a long story short, these councilmen wanted to bring alcohol sales into the city. The people of Lumberton were not necessarily against drinking, they just wanted Lumberton to stay a safe, quiet community. To get their petition passed, they promised the city residents that no alcohol would be sold near the schools. In order to finance their petition they got Walmart to donate $25,000 even though Walmart is near a school. Walmart and the councilmen knew they could not sell alcohol near a school so it was strange that Walmart put up that money. After the alcohol sales came to the city, Walmart immediately requested that these city council members give Walmart a variance to be able to sell alcohol by the high school. Walmart was given a variance to sell alcohol by the Lumberton High School by the same people whose political committee was given $25,000 from Walmart. A bribe? What do you think? Illegal transfer of money? Yes, according to the Texas Ethics Commission.
There is much more corruption in Lumberton that is yet to be exposed but will be exposed soon.
Oh, and if these councilmen claim they were not a part of this committee, just refresh their memory with a flyer that the committee sent out with Don Burnett and Andy Kelly's names proudly displayed on the article as main members of the committee.
These councilmen do not like me because I stand for the people and I expose public corruption. They are always trying to say I am wrong but at the end of the day it is they who are always the ones getting in trouble with the law.