Thursday, May 28, 2015


FBI's investigation focused primarily on concrete vendor - Brooks Contractors FORT WORTH, Texas - Federal authorities have been negotiating possible plea agreements with one or more of the targets of a four-year investigation into corruption and other wrongdoing in the Fort Worth school district's construction program, according to several sources associated with the probe. If a deal is completed, it will involve the first charge brought against a participant since a federal grand jury handed down its initial subpoenas in August 2000. The sources, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals from federal authorities, are potential witnesses in the investigation and were all in a position to have direct information about the probe. The Star-Telegram could not confirm the names of those discussing plea agreements. Ronald Eddins, the assistant U.S. attorney in charge of the investigation, did not return telephone calls about the negotiations, nor did he respond to a letter seeking comment. Calls to the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas also went unreturned. The plea negotiations don't necessarily indicate an end to the federal investigation. Just last month, the district received yet another subpoena asking for records of its business dealings with two additional area vendors. The probe now includes officials from several federal agencies. The scandal has led to the early retirement of four district maintenance supervisors, has pushed the school board into turmoil and has tarnished the reputation of Superintendent Thomas Tocco, whose contract will end in December. 

The FBI's investigation has focused primarily on a Fort Worth concrete vendor, Ray Brooks, who owns Brooks Contractors, and his relationship with two former school employees: Associate Superintendent Eldon Ray and Maintenance Executive Director Tommy Ingram. A Star-Telegram analysis of payment records found that Brooks was paid more than $24 million for concrete work from 1997 to 2002, much of it in increments just under $25,000, the minimum contract for which bids are required. An external auditor determined that Brooks may have been overpaid $4.8 million for work he performed on five projects. A more complete audit of all Brooks' work has not been commissioned. Calls to Ingram and Brooks were not returned and their respective attorneys both declined to comment on possible plea agreements. Ray could not be reached at his home, but he has repeatedly declined to comment for previous articles pertaining to the investigation. Since the investigation began, its scope has widened to include two more area contractors, Fort Worth-based Briscoe Construction Corp. and J&L Construction of Newark. Both companies performed construction work for the district. The grand jury also requested the personnel records of nine district maintenance employees, including two more former maintenance supervisors, Eddie Franklin and Ralph Cano. 

The most recent subpoena, dated Jan. 12, requested computer records and documents on Jimmy and Lois Jenkins, who own J&L Construction and Seamless Aluminum Guttering. The district was also instructed to turn over billing records, contracts, construction drawings and other similar documents pertaining to Allied Fence of Fort Worth and to Grady Young, owner of D&Y Welding and D&Y Trailers of Alvarado. A copy of the subpoena was released to the Star-Telegram in response to a request made under the Texas Public Information Act. Jimmy Jenkins, reached at his home, said he did not know why the documents were requested. He declined to comment further. Camille Chandler, office manager for Allied Fence, said her company has provided fence supplies to the district's maintenance department over the years. A federal agent came to the office about a year ago to peruse purchase orders from the school district, she said. "They wanted to see who had signed all these tickets," Chandler said. Similarly, Young said he didn't know why his companies showed up on the subpoena. He said his company has done some work for the district over the years, mostly repairs on trailers. He said he also might have sold Ray a trailer. The plea negotiations are in advance of possible indictments. If completed, at least one of the deals would most likely end with the U.S. attorney's office filing what is known in federal court as an information, according to experts on federal criminal procedure. In that scenario, prosecutors would charge a suspect directly instead of asking for an indictment from a federal grand jury.

 Terri Moore, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Fort Worth who is now a defense attorney, said she does not have specific knowledge about the possible agreements, but said most have standard language that delivers a desired outcome for both sides. "Prosecutors want it because they want cooperation," she said. "And the reason the defense attorney wants it? It's usually one paragraph that says the U.S. attorney's office won't bring any additional charges out of this." If an agreement is signed, the individual could provide information on others involved in wrongdoing, Moore said. Even with the negotiations, potential witnesses are being told that a trial may still be possible. River Oaks Mayor Herman Earwood, who was the school district's director of central purchasing for maintenance, said he has not been given reason to believe that he won't be called by the prosecution to testify in a trial sometime this year. "I look forward to it," Earwood said. Despite the periodic delivery of subpoenas to the district administration building on University Drive, the investigation has taken place amid much upheaval in federal offices in the Fort Worth area. The FBI agent handling the case has changed twice, and the lead prosecutor has changed once, district records show. Perhaps more significantly, the FBI had to move just as the investigation was intensifying because a tornado destroyed its office in the Cash America International building on March 28, 2000. And FBI agents nationwide had to make anti-terrorism work a priority after 9-11. District officials began to publicly question whether anything would come of the FBI's work or whether any wrongdoing might have passed the statute of limitations. Now, however, potential witnesses say the investigation appears energetic and focused. 

Investigators from the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service have joined prosecutors and FBI agents on the case. Fort Worth insurance agent Ben Morrison said that when he was questioned late last year about his bonding work for Brooks, about a dozen federal authorities sat in. Moreover, the statute of limitations shouldn't be a big problem, said Guadalupe Gonzalez, the FBI special agent in charge for the Dallas division, which includes Tarrant County. For most corruption-related charges, the statute of limitations is five years from the last crime, including any acts of conspiracy to conceal them, Gonzalez said in an October interview. Gonzalez said that sometimes investigations take a long time to ensure that agents develop evidence that will lead to a conviction in federal court. He said he tries to ensure that agents don't spend years on an investigation that doesn't lead to charges. "All I can say is that sometimes it does not go as fast as you might like," Gonzalez said. 

Inquiry timeline Federal authorities have been investigating wrongdoing in the Fort Worth school district's maintenance and construction work for four years. The investigation has centered on two former top administrators, Associate Superintendent Eldon Ray and Maintenance Executive Director Tommy Ingram, and their relationship with Fort Worth concrete contractor Ray Brooks. 

• AUG. 10, 2000: A federal grand jury requests documents for work performed by Brooks' two companies, Brooks Contractors and Goldstar Concrete.
 • OCT. 11, 2001: School district administrators publicly acknowledge the federal investigation. 
• NOV. 13, 2001: School board President Gary Manny announces that an outside auditor will be hired to investigate district construction contracts.
 • SEPT. 29, 2002: The Star-Telegram reports that Brooks did personal concrete work for Superintendent Thomas Tocco, former Associate Superintendent Eugene Gutierrez, Trustee Judy Needham and Ray.
 • OCT. 26, 2002: A district investigation accuses Fort Worth contractor Leonard Briscoe Sr. of altering signed contracts in an effort to obtain more money for six school construction projects. 
• DEC. 16, 2002: Ingram and two maintenance supervisors, Ralph Cano and Eddie Franklin, choose to retire after the Star-Telegram reports that Ray, Ingram and Cano visited casinos on district time.
 • JAN. 9, 2003: District officials announce that they found pornography on the computer assigned to Ingram but said others had access to the machine.
 • JAN. 27, 2003: An external auditor determines that the district may have overpaid Brooks by $4.8 million for concrete work at five schools.
 • FEB. 3, 2003: A subpoena requests documents related to Newark-based J&L Construction Co., which built fences for the district. Another subpoena asks for the personnel files of nine maintenance employees.
 • FEB. 11, 2003: The school board votes to sue Brooks Contractors.
 • FEB. 12, 2003: A subpoena requests all documents from the district's internal investigations of Ingram, Franklin and Cano.
 • OCT. 26, 2003: Brooks tells school district lawyers that he did personal concrete work for Ingram.
 • NOV. 17, 2003: A subpoena requests all documents related to six contracts awarded to Briscoe Construction Corp.
 • JAN. 12, 2004: A subpoena requests all documents for Allied Fence of Fort Worth, as well as for companies owned by Grady Young of Alvarado.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Before we get to the congratulatory part of this story, let's talk about the vote last night regarding Avila and the contract.  Interesting how Mr. Ramos abstained from voting, not wanting to take a stand for what is right.  But we don't forget that he received money from Avila's father during the campaign, so we do understand what influenced his decision.

Ok now back to what Mr. Ramos calls his significant accomplishment, voted by his endearing colleagues as Board President.

Mr. Ramos,

We want to offer congratulations for being chosen by your peers and yet it's bittersweet because the people selecting you are not necessarily qualified to speak on what the position truly means.  We hear you saying that a "generational mexican american" from the North Side is ready to lead FWISD.  We don't understand what generational mexican american means because in this city it's just another word for the help.  In your neck of the woods we are sure it means a lot and so we come to our topic "THE HOOD."  The slogan was a good campaign gimmick to attempt to connect with the neighborhood that you had left and suddenly returned to get elected.  We won't rehash the past because it's stated fact.  But what we want you to understand is that it's time to leave the Hood Mentality.  If we are correct, the hood is based on a style of living that at times is deficient of meeting the basic needs of its residents, a dumbing down of what its people should be aspiring to.  Why can't we discuss moving beyond a hood education, a hood standard of living that is basically substandard.

You in no way carry the latino mantle nor speak for the latino community that is controlled by the same people that supported you and continue to control YOU.  Let's be honest you have been silent on the issues that matter to us as teachers, parents and students.  You have stood quiet while people's lives have been ruined and at a time when our workplace is a disaster. You have presided over a failed bond issue that you so desperately wanted and sold your soul for it and still watch the administration continue to push FWISD down.   So if this is what you call coming back to the HOOD then we don't want any part of it because it means that our environment will remain the same or worse.

Why can't you speak about moving beyond the hood into opportunities that create a better future.  If you are truly about helping everyone then your words and actions must show it.  Let's get away from the mexican stereotype and stop pretending to be someone you are not.  Your inner circle may have the respect and admiration for you sir but believe me outside of that is a whole different world.

So as you parade around claiming to lead the FWISD, correct the damage that has been done to us and then we can call your tenure as president LEGITIMATE.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


So it seems that money causes blindness to the needs of our students and good ol greed.

It has come to our attention that our departments headed by Menchaca and Monge have failed once again to fully vet staff that work with children.

Apparently we have a staff member at Daggett MS that has a troubled past and perhaps our new system does not work as well to check the background of those working with our students.

So it seems Mr. Chris Durham, a Pyramid Sub, has been working with our kids after getting fired from Oklahoma.

So Ms. Paz, could ya please take a look and actually protect our kids and not the pockets of your buddies.  While you are at it.. maybe audit Menchaca and Monge and uncover the buried bodies that Jackson says Linares helped bury.  It seems one body is already out!

Thanks, we appreciate it!


The reality tonight is that the past seems to repeat itself no matter how much stamping of approval from current board members it gets... plain and simple unethical individuals, breaking even the simplest of rules, this from a source:

In Aug of this school year Linares and Vicki Burris had the Board approve an ADDITIONAL construction procurement process which this board did for this upcoming bond program because of the 1999 shortcomings which the methodology was on what they call (CSP) Competitive Sealed Proposal, because the district could use best value.
Understand this was researched a year by the past bond leader Dansby along with a group of architects and engineers. It was highly successful for the 2007 bond issue.
However, you must have a highly qualified staff to compete with CSP. AS YOU REMEMBER, it Avila and Manning who requested the change thru Linares, Burris, and Needham. The ultimate and most importance reason was that Avila DID NOT QUALIFY under CSP because of fact that all of his veteran staff WALKED OUT after he became CEO! Therefore, a need to add the procurement methodology of (CMR) Construction Manager at Risk. This is how Avila qualifies under Turner Construction with their approval.
(2) Although the argument MAY BE legal, the perception as the FWST article states, is a horrible indictment of the Board, the District, future bond programs which you all seem to have enough trust issues especially after the Supt fiasco. You really need to understand who Linares really works for and why the need to drag feet for her to stay. The MAIN ISSUE which bothers taxpayers and citizens knowing a little about the law is the statement Paz made as quoted ”He’s (Avila) been very forthright and transparent about this situation” but unfortunately by law if he has talked to ANY Board Member about his interest in any project involving this District it is AGAINST the law because of influence and conflict of interest. Paz just let the cat out of the bag.
(3) This guy Andrew Wheat is exactly right as “With the trouble that has come before why go there”! You all are glutons for punishment and this could be a HUGE PUNISHMENT for all the board if this keeps happening. Always keep in mind thatAvila was selected to run against Martinez by whom???? Isaac Manning and their group? Who is Isaac Manning but head of bond steering committee!!!! You must certainly know that it was Manning and his group along with Needham and Jackson who pushed Speer to run against YOU!! It is also common knowledge with FWISD followers that Dansby told Avila several times he would not be on the Bond Management Team. We know REALLY why Dansby is gone and I guarantee you most Board Members don’t want to go there.

I truly believe if this passes that the entire board will held accountable and could be headed for another FBI investigation. A Board Member should ask at this time for an external audit of the process used to select them and also Linares, Burris, Needham, and especially Manning as control. CAN YOU SEE THE REALLY BIG PICTURE?????

So PAZ what do you say now?

Monday, May 25, 2015


So the mere number was not disclosed nor alot of information as it normally happens with our board.
What we are reading is that PAZ is ok with it because AVILA has been up front about it.  PAZ it is unethical to even consider it regardless.  What did you get in return for this?  Well let's not forget that Avila's father contributed to campaigns back in 2013 and more than likely that last ones.

Guess there are favors being given and this is a complete shame.  The STAR quotes Sims not happy with it and so those not in favor should vote no.

How many bids were given?  How was his firm better than any other?  Come on folks..

CORRUPTION, CORRUPTION and those voting in favor are Corrupted as well.
Here it's called the good old boy system.  TOCCO is walking the halls of FWISD!

I am sure he may get the school named after him or his father

Friday, May 22, 2015


Sutherland has reported on her blog that the board agenda includes an item for Byrne, a firm headed by Avila up for a contract.

It seems cronyism is alive and well and we knew this would happen.  It's not secret and it doesn't seem to bother anyone.  So now the games begin on who will be making money from our district.

Wouldn't surprise us if he votes for it but even then he has the votes to get it approved from the Mafia Gang.

Will Ramos and Paz go along with it?

We shall see.



Tell me if this does not look like the system we have in place now!

Play place a name by the bird !


We see many people commenting on the corruption, nepotism and unethical parts of our district.  We see injustices, workplace bullying and overall bad business being shown by every leader from the Board to Central Admin.  
We know politics plays a big role as we noticed in the recent elections and so we are bound by the people who run this city and ultimately the school district.  Nothing happens without their consent as we noticed with the AHHS scandal and others.  Also how contracts are handled and so forth.  The answer lies deep underground.

Below is an article by D Magazine back in 1995 that still rings true to what our city is and what the picture below shows.. A Cartel living amongst us....

Monday, May 18, 2015


We had to ponder on the newly selected assistant superintendents, which were just, washed a bit and made shiny.  But we all know it was all a ploy to sell us people who have no direct experience at all levels of education.  Interestingly enough when assistant principals are chosen they must have a principal certificate to be considered.  Yet our new assistant superintendents do not have a superintendent certificate... but yet are in positions that have a direct effect to our students.  Yet when you look at their experiences they have no other experience than their respective certification.  Some will say Washington has all levels but yet no one can provide the successes created that will help us.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015


So the votes, if we watched correctly, 6-3 to give raises to administrators and a new hire.  No surprise that the gang voted together.

So the change that Tobi Jackson stated is empty because the House of Cards continues it's doing.

Tell us how this is logical to be giving more money to the people at the top and when we are in need of teachers we are not even being competitive.  Tell us Board Members where teacher raises will fit in when you vote on the budget next month?  I am sure that you will have an excuse not to give teachers a raise because there is no money.

The other side is hiring or promoting when you have no plan in place going forward nor goals nor anything.  There is a leadership vacuum that is being taken advantage of by Linares and Company.  Those of you who voted in favor have no dignity.  You keep on with the same people that have brought us where we are and you are fine with it.

What a shame....

Thank you Dr. Sutherland for your stance and once we have the video available we will post it.  Thank you to Trustee Ramos and Paz for joining the crusade....

UEA are you eating crow now?  your beloved Jackson has completely brought on an administrator that uses a bull horn to chide students and anti-teacher.  Shame on you as well.


We are fresh off the elections and the administration is once again maneuvering to keep the same people in place and secure their spot.

Thanks to Dr. Sutherland we know that some people will be getting promotions and one that is coming back.

So tell us how their qualifications have helped improve our students.  Tell us how many people were interviewed for the position and their qualities?  As a board member I would ask very poignant questions to make sure we did not pass over really qualified people.

Does Molinar need more money to fix up her wardrobe?  I mean if that's the case we can get donations to get her a few sizes bigger.

So more raises to the top... but Cherie, our friend, is coming back.  Guess she couldn't handle it in Dallas?    So tell us that after two years she is now qualified to be asst super?  You need at least three years to be a principal but guess if you have connections you get fast tracked.  What achievements does she bring from her current position?  What does she bring from EHHS?  But we knew this would happen because of her connections to Jackson.  (I guess Jackson likes to also play with residence policies.. so happens that Ms. Washington lives in Mansfield, Tx and not even in the district.)  Interesting how laws and policies only apply to certain people and not all..)

Dr. Sutherland is correct, the new Super should choose his people.  Do board members really ask themselves why we are in the state we are?  Do you not realize that the same people you are promoting are the ones that have contributed to the current state of the district?  I guess Continuous Improvement means nothing if you keep recycling the same thing.  In this case we recycle crap over and over.  Vote NO Dr. Sutherland for these positions.  So Tobi, will you vote for change or vote favoritism?  Also why are there no hispanic being promoted, is the pool that shallow that we can't get better?

Saturday, May 9, 2015


If you are keeping up with results, it looks like the board will stay as is unless there is divine intervention.. which seems unlikely

Another four years that we as teachers have to endure with a divided board and now the fight to get a superintendent.  Low voter turnout favors the money elite and so it happened in this election.  For some reason people are not hungry for anything different.

We hope Sutherland pulls it out because we need someone who can at least voice our concerns and hear us out.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


An Open Letter To The Voters In
FWISD District 5
My name is Linda LaBeau and I am the opposition candidate for District 5 trustee, Fort Worth Independent
School District. I am challenging Ms. Judy Needham a 19 year FWISD incumbent.
It’s time for new ideas, transparency and fiscal oversight at FWISD. We need an across the board salary
and performance review for FWISD central administration by the school board to finally step up to their
fiduciary duty to taxpayers of Tarrant County. The ongoing financial losses are due in part to: poor
technology contracts; $2.3M of equipment sitting in a warehouse; overpayments to employees; $39M owed
to state and federal agencies due to attendance errors by FWISD central administration and poor oversight
by the current trustees.
Fort Worth ISD has lost sight of its purpose stated on the board website. The school board has ignored
their core beliefs: Every child is entitled to an education to include children of diverse backgrounds and
in partnership with teachers and parents and community – these have become just words, not principles.
These errors in oversight and loss in vision are the fault of the FWISD trustees – many of whom have
simply been there too long.
This election will shape the future direction of FWISD. We need a fresh perspective. In my role as District
5 trustee, I want to restore teacher, student and parent faith in the FWISD board of trustees by listening
to them. Hiring a new Superintendent with an MBA as well as Ph.D in education and with experience in
analyzing and reviewing all performance measures from central administration down to the classroom is
the first priority for Fort Worth.
Entrenched incumbents continue to offer the same excuses and ideas expecting different results. These
are not solutions. Needless legal battles continue to divert taxpayer money to the courtroom when those
resources should be directed toward the classroom.
Where restructuring is required, the new Superintendent with the guidance, review and oversight by
the new board of trustees will streamline central administration and direct all available resources back
to teachers and students in our classrooms in order to improve educational opportunities. Our teachers
should have an increased authority and focus on teaching basic skills and knowledge and not consumed by
teaching to the test.
It is imperative citizens of Tarrant County District 5 elect a trustee with the skill set and ability to work
with all FWISD trustees who are working in the best interest of children. Our diverse and ever changing
FWISD schools must provide a safe and appropriate public education. FWISD must assure our business
community we are providing an educated student population ready for entry level employment. We must
provide opportunities to all students whether they are bound for trade school or college.
I have the skill set developed over 25 years of working with state agencies focused on best business
practices as well as through development and implementation of collaborative relationships within the
business community, writing contracts and being awarded state contracts, and being successfully self
employed in facilitation and mediation with large school districts.
Our City, Our Community and Our Citizens deserve nothing but the best from FWISD.
Our children deserve a public education which enables them to realize their dreams

for the future. To accomplish this, FWISD needs new Board Leadership – NOT more of the same.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


This transcript for those of you who are new is the recording that was accidentally done for an executive session to discuss Palazzolo back a few years.  Never had a session been recorded, the secretaries thought it was odd that microphones were being put in the session and the tech guys who knew how to work it were told to go home.

So use your context clues educators and tell me this wasn't a setup all along.  Well the recording went online for about a week and then the district took it down.

But not before a copy was obtained and now transcribed.

Now this is one of the three lawsuits coming up where our taxpayer money will be at since our district can't fess up and deal with the fact they were stupid in what they did.

So enjoy..


Here is Needham's Lies about what she has done and will do.

ALSO, interesting how MOSS, BIVENS are supporting Jackson with contributions.  I guess COLE has not convinced.  TOBI is trying hard because she knows she has competition.

Friday, May 1, 2015


It's time to exercise your voice to put new people on the board and keep Dr. Sutherland on it to make a strong coalition.  We can't keep complaining here if we are not going to go vote.  Early voting is on now visit websites of candidates to find out where.  We know where Tobi, Needham, Cole and Speer stand..
We won't get another shot for four years... we know we can't take four more of the same corruption, bullying and so on....