Dallas County promises to collect bad bond debt

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on July 8, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 8 at 11:39 PM

DALLAS - Dallas County officials say they will step up efforts to collect debt owed from bail bonds and other fees.

County Judge Clay Jenkins made the announcement Friday,after it was reported that $35 million in forfeited bond money has never been collected.

Jenkins said he took a hard look at the debts and found most of the $35 million is actually no longer "legally collectible," except for about $500,000. Still, he said, the problem exposed the county's badly outdated computer system that is supposed to track debts. 

Friday, Jenkins vowed to bring "a massive overhaul" to the county's IT system, so it can track and monitor debts. He said the process of tracking debts takes too much time and the information is difficult to share.

"It is like a cold-case file where we're taking DNA and sampling thousands of cold cases," he said. "So, it takes the clerks about 45 minutes to get through all the information when someone finds a specific case that they want an answer to."

Jenkins said the $500,000 that is collectible will be referred out to a law firm that specializes in collection.

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