In Their Pocket

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We’ve called our latest investigation in Port Arthur “In Their Pocket” because that’s exactly the allegation being made—that certain city officials are in the pocket of an ambulance company that benefited for more than a decade from exclusive city control… until they got busted. It’s time for the Port Arthur City Council to show if they are in the pocket too.

Thurman Bartie can sure put on the friendly face at the Port Arthur council meetings he runs.

The mayor of Port Arthur was all smiles the first time we met last December.

But the job of mayor is mostly ceremonial in this golden triangle town. Bartie is no more important than anyone else on council.

Someone should remind him. We don’t mind doing it.

We’ve watched the mayor end debate over a controversial pleasure island deal with a developer with a troubled history.

And since we busted Acadian Ambulance, we’ve gotten a dose of the mayors angry outbursts.

“Refrain from that or I’m going to ask you not to speak at all,” Bartie said. “Okay. Go right ahead. Proceed. Proceed sir. No don’t you do what you were getting ready to do. You proceed.”

Bartie has been mayor in Port Arthur for nearly two terms. That’s the limit.

“Incumbent Thurman Bartie says he’s not quite ready to give up his seat.”

He’s now trying to get petitions signed to change the city charter to end term limits so he can run for mayor again.

“This would be an opportunity for continuation in serving and leadership in our city,” Bartie said on the local news.

Before folks sign it, they should take a look at Bartie’s history with his own city’s police force.

We looked, and it includes repeated allegations of domestic violence going back nearly twenty years.

In one police report, Bartie is accused of ramming his car into his wife’s car.

In another incident, Bartie’s wife called 9-1-1 claiming Bartie was trying to kill her.

Bartie was never charged, and a request for a warrant in another unrelated incident appears to have been ignored.

Bartie was a public official in Port Arthur long before he ran for mayor. He was a judge, a justice of the peace.

And he has the rare distinction of being thrown out of that office by the Texas Supreme Court, and not just because of his repeated use of obscene language from the bench.

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