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An Austin judge will decide this week if Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has to provide sworn testimony in the Texas Tech secrecy lawsuit.
Dolcefino Consulting is trying to disqualify Paxton’s office from representing the school in our two-and-a-half-year long effort to get the truth about the firing of Coach Mike Leach. The court hearing is scheduled for September 11th, but Judge Paul Davis will decide this week if Paxton himself has to testify under oath.
“It is shameful Ken Paxton has allowed Texas Tech to illegally overcharge, destroy public records and hide public records without having the ethics to withdraw voluntarily as their lawyer,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Houston-based investigative media consulting firm Dolcefino Consulting. “The Texas Attorney General is charged by law with enforcing the Texas Public Information Act. What they are doing in this case is exactly the opposite. They are helping to protect what we believe is possible criminal wrongdoing,”
In court filings this week, the Attorney General has called the efforts to disqualify the office from representing Texas Tech a “circus.”
“I agree that this is a clown show,” Dolcefino said. “If the Attorney General continues to represent Texas Tech there is no longer real justice in the search for truth from our government. We are on our third judge. The first two judges in West Texas refused to hold people accountable. We have spent a quarter of a million dollars in court just trying to look at public records involving the firing of a football coach 11 years ago. Think about the consequences of this kind of real collusion to deprive the public their right to know in this state.”
Tech has fought the sworn testimony of university system attorney Ronny Wall. Wall has been caught overcharging Dolcefino Consulting at least four times now for public records. It was also Wall who fought the release of records that documented widespread complaints of abuse and harassment in the Tech women’s basketball program.
Just last week, Wall blocked the release of some of the personnel records of Ralph Petrella, the former strength and conditioning coach of the Lady Raiders team. Petrella was accused of sexually harassing a number of players. Tech has fought to keep hidden records detailing other sexual harassment on campus by employees and sexual assaults of female students on campus, using the Leach lawsuit as their excuse.
“They think your right to know is a nuisance and they fight to keep their little scandals secret,” Dolcefino said. “They think they can cheat their way and get away with it. This is a direct and immediate threat.
“In January, The Texas legislature should remind this arrogant bunch they rely on public tax dollars to survive. Lawmakers should also remind the Texas Attorney General their job is to protect the right to know, not help cover up a scandal.”
Texas is the only state in the country with sovereign immunity, where a school like Texas Tech could have fired Coach Leach and gotten away without paying him the $2.5 million they owed him.
“This fight should lead to the changing of this law,” Dolcefino said. “What was designed as a way to protect the state from a flood of lawsuits has been abused by Texas Tech and other state agencies.”
Even this week court filings by the Texas Attorney General make false statements about the firing of Coach Leach. Records mistakenly released by Paxton’s office prove the investigation prior to the Leach firing was rushed, sloppy and altered.
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