If recent media reports are correct and former County Commissioner Lee Groce signed a document attesting to the fact he “Did knowingly and willfully make a materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation” in the infamous Liberty County FEMA fraud case, then why would anyone consider allowing taxpayers money to pay Groce’s legal bills?
The government may have agreed to drop all other charges against Groce and they may have given him a deferred sentence of 12 months and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service. But are we missing something here and there is some common sense reason that Groce’s plea-bargain should lead to more disrespect of the taxpayers of this county by trying to force Liberty County to pay a bill for $85,000 for the legal fees he incurred while fighting the indictments against him.
Media reports describing advice from the Attorney General’s Office and Robert L. Hobbs, the attorney in charge of the U.S. Attorneys Office in Beaumont to our County Attorney, aside … Is there no one who is going to protect the taxpayers of this county after a crime has been committed against them?
Considering the statement coming back from that request for advice from the US Attorney’s office and Liberty County Attorney Wes Hinch- “ Groce acknowledges his culpability on multiple points ... though the pending indictment will be dismissed, the situation could hardly be characterized as exoneration.”
Perhaps it is time for Liberty County’s District Attorney’s office to do what many felt they should have done in the beginning. Continued concerns about the selective prosecution by the attorneys in the D.A.’s office will not be tempered - as Groce sends taxpayers a bill and reminds us that the good ole boy system may be close to being gone, but nowhere near forgotten.
If taxpayers pay this bill, is it the result of a D.A.’s office that sits on its hands when a case is presented against political allies while they freely accept cases that are of no interests to the people of the county when it is a political enemy? If that happens, it is a gross injustice to the taxpayers of this county and it shouldn’t be tolerated. Why would any self-respecting lawyer work in a department with such practices going on, then turn around and run for public office?