NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES
DALLAS — "Prolific, systemic, unabated corruption."
Those are words a private investigator used to describe Dallas County Constable Jamie Cortes' office. And now there are charges of retaliation.
The report released on Monday is billed as an investigation into improper employment practices of Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes. But it doesn't require much reading to see the numerous criminal allegations woven into the report's narrative.
Bribery, abuse of office, and improper campaigning are detailed in the report produced by a private investigator for Danny Defenbaugh, FBI Special Agent In Charge of the Dallas field office,
Among the more serious allegations: Constable Cortes had worked a deal with Dowdy Ferry Wrecker Service to get a $25 kickback for every car his deputies had towed.
In all, 23 deputies, clerks or county employees signed sworn statements saying they either witnessed improprieties or were subjected to them.
Now that the allegations have been made public, County Judge Jim Foster says at least one of those whistle-blowers is paying the price.
“I believe we are already starting to see retaliation start,” Foster said. “As a matter of fact, I know we are already seeing retaliation start against some of the current employees.”
But Cortes’ attorney, Larry Friedman, is calling the report “unlawful, unauthorized and without meaningful conclusions.” Friedman said it is no coincidence that the report is being released at the same time early voting begins.
Foster, however, maintains that the allegations are so serious that he wants to reinstate civil service protection for deputy constables at the next meeting of County Commissioners.