About 90 days ago the Backgate broke the story on what many would call fraud, or at the very least, misappropriation of public funds. The Backgate received credible information just weeks after a Colorado prison chief was killed by a gunman at his residence as he answered his front door, that TDCJ's Executive Director was implementing his own security detail. Information gained from employees within the agency itself alleged that Livingston pulled Office of Inspector General officers off Huntsville area units. thus bringing ongoing cases there to a standstill, to follow him and his family on the streets of Huntsville 24/7.
The officers racked up what some allege as thousands of dollars in overtime in the weeks they spent shadowing Livingston and his family. Officers escorted Livingston's wife and child to grocery stores, school activities, and anywhere else they needed to go. Sometimes sitting overnight in a vehicle outside of Livingston's personal home just outside of Huntsville. It was also alleged that Livingston ordered that an extensive alarm and video surveillance systems be installed in his personal home that came out of the taxpayers pockets. All the while there were no credible threats against Livingston or his family. Livingston allegedly spend thousands and thousands of dollars on personal security, even after granting himself a substantial raise while line staff got a mere 5% bump.
We asked TDCJ to answer these tough questions and asked for overtime usage hours and costs for the duration of his security, which lasted approximately 30 days. We also asked if OIG staff were reassigned to him from TDCJ units where they are already dangerously short handed with investigators. TDCJ refused to answer and referred our questions to the AG's office for an opinion on it's release. The AG's office finally answered and denied our request in full. They contend that by releasing the amount of overtime money spent on the project that it could somehow jeopardize Livingston's security in the future. They also refused to answer questions as to who authorized the expenditures, and whether or not taxpayer money was used to purchase alarms systems for Livingston's personal residence. So as it stands, the veil of TDCJ secrecy and blatant disregard for supplying taxpayers answers to legitimate questions about it's operation continue. We contacted state Senator John Whitmire's office 5 weeks ago regarding the implied cover-up and have yet to hear back as of today. We however won't stop here. Stay tuned.
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