Before He Meets the Press Over Bail Money, Clay Jenkins Wants to Correct Some Things

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So, let's work backward. On Sunday, The Dallas Morning News reported that "bail bondsmen owe Dallas County at least $35 million in uncollected default judgments, many dating back decades." Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins, himself a former bail bondman, refused to speak to Ed Timms and Kevin Krause. But yesterday, he released a statement refuting some of The News's story and insisting in 2010 "we hired a bond forfeiture subject matter expert to work full-time in our Civil Division to seek forfeiture judgments in current civil cases."

Watkins also said he would be hiring a law firm, yet to determined, "to collect an estimated $35 million in outstanding bond forfeitures owed to the county." At which point County Judge Jenkins issued his own release cautioning the DA to hold up a second: "I wish there was a $35 million dollar pot of gold for the taxpayer," said Jenkins's statement, "but the truth is that the actual amount of legally collectible bond money will be a fraction of that."

Moments ago the county judge sent another release -- this one containing the amount he now says the county's owed in bond forfeitures. That number: "in the range of $6 million dollars or less." The words "task force" and "antiquated I.T system" also appear in the release, which was sent out in advance of a press conference tomorrow morning featuring Jenkins and Dallas County Commissioner Mike Cantrell (I know, if only). Jump, if you can stop from vibrating.
Dallas County Announces Bond Forfeiture Task Force and Re-Assessment Plan

In the recent weeks there has been much attention placed on the issue of bond forfeiture judgments and the alleged outstanding debt owed to Dallas County taxpayers. Misinformation and subjective communications have led to a gross misinterpretation of the true nature and totality of the bail bond forfeiture challenge facing Dallas County. We have now determined that the actual total dollar amount of bond forfeiture judgments that may actually be legally collectible is in the range of $6 million dollars or less. The proper evaluation of the true total could take many months to complete.

The Dallas County Commissioners Court has been aware of a fundamental problem at the County being an antiquated I.T system. Shortly after taking office, County Judge Clay Lewis Jenkins began the County's I.T. system overhaul with the establishment of the I.T. Governance Committee and his immediate appointment of Commissioner Mike Cantrell as its Chair. The Committee has worked vigorously over the past few months to streamline our systems in order to communicate more efficiently interdepartmentally. This represents a massive undertaking for the current Dallas County administration. We expect that a fully operational automated case management system will be online in the next 24-30 months.

Meanwhile, other remedies will be in place to properly monitor the bail bond system going forward. This Commissioners Court is committed to working with the D.A., all elected officials and county staff to ensure all monies owed are collected for the taxpayers.

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23 comments
Bailman2008
Bailman2008

Sorry excuse for how public servants are supposed to conduct themselves.  A large amount of bondsmen give hearty donations to those in power and especially gifts to those that assist them with forgiving bond forfeitures that they owe or altoghether just setting them aside so no one finds them.  It happens everywhere and as long as you have humans running the nuthouse it will always happen.  Just make sure and punish those that do the deed.  I would suggest that you take a look at who the major bond companies and attorneys, because they write bonds also and probably are the biggest recipients of favors, and review where some of their campaign donations went to. JWP knows this and so the many others in the know.

La Piso
La Piso

Then what is the purpose of the Bail Bond board where sits Clay Jenkins, JWP, Etta Mullin, among others. What are they doing each month?

RUKidnme
RUKidnme

Pay close attention how they said only approximately $6m is "legally collectible". They did NOT say that only $6m is OWED to Dallas. There is an important legal distinction...

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

"... fully operational automated case management system will be online in the next 24-30 months...."   B.S.                  I'm sure such a system is already in place in over 500 cities / counties in the USA and the system could not take more than 12 months to fit into the Dallas systems.

Two to almost-three years to implement? That proposal would be tossed into the trash by any corporate entity.

Balch Springs Citizen
Balch Springs Citizen

Sounds like Linebarger has a new contract with the county, no wait they have an evergreen contract anyway.  G-Men please check them out thoroughly that are very deep in this mess.

La Piso
La Piso

Cantrell was the computer genius that got Dallas County into this IT mess. Remember when he made Dallas County purchase a system from his friend that is a girl? The system didn't coordinate with the existing computer program and the jail was shut down for several weeks. Several prisoners were "lost" in the system and jailers had to hand-write book in information.

MarkO
MarkO

My 72 year old father could have a system in place this weekend that could track who is posting the bond, when they are to report to court, and send a notice to the bond companies on the people that didn't show and how much money they will need to bring down to the court on this default.

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

Okay, I am missing something here.... If they went head to head about cutting the DA's budget, because the County ain't got no money... Then where is the money to PAY a law firm coming from? Percentage of collections? So, shouldn't we --because WE PAY TAXES-- hire a COLLECTION AGENCY? Sounds like that is more efficient. Lawyers write letters that threaten, but collection agencies call your mom's minister to get that dough!

And to cut them some slack, at least they were aware there was a problem---6 months ago. Now, it will take another two years? Uh-uh. There HAS to be a system in another gov't entity already where we could look at it and buy it from its maker....

So, in other words, bail bondsmen, you have two years to not pay, move or go out of business...

LaceyB
LaceyB

This is random, but, before Hollywood Corp left, I worked for them, and they left me with over $3k uncollected--which is bad debt on their books. Called and harassed Hollywood (now in Oregon). Called and harassed TX workforce. Called and harassed "Uncollected TX Money". My guess is my 3k and all this bond money is in the same place...gone.

But, if any of the smarty pants people here on Unfair know what to do, I was planning to go to Cabo in Dec., so, I would be much obliged.

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

I have to quote Riddell's law here: Any sufficiently advanced form of incompetence is indistinguishable from conspiracy. 

Phelps
Phelps

It's simple.  Bondsman pays the debt.  The county notes it in one place in the records, but fails to note it in all the places.  Pretty soon that outdated entry bubbles back up to the surface.  County duns bondsman, bondsman says, "already paid it, goober."  City sees that they have, stops dunning, never corrects the entry, repeat again every couple of years (more often when the county realizes it is broke again.)

BoPeep
BoPeep

So, do any of these morons know what the real number is? Is this rampant mismanagement, or something much, much worse?

Deep-Sigh
Deep-Sigh

From 35 million to 6?! Reallllyyyyyy.  There must be more money at JWP's house in coffee cans.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Well maybe that "fraction" if recovered will help bring this antiquated system up to date. Lol. Amazing. That's like saying, the government only takes a fraction of my income. Bad wording Clay.

IttyBitty Wussy
IttyBitty Wussy

Linebarger is definitely touched by the investigation- note that Demetris Sampson's name was in the original warrant...

CrackerDaddy
CrackerDaddy

Ah yes........the AIS and the JIS.  I actually made it to the final interview for the project manager on that contract.  the lady of whom you speak seemed kind of clueless.  After acing the interview.  I find out she decided she didn't NEED a project manager and that the technical architect could manage the project as well as do his job.  Cutting corners to put $$$ in her pocket.  No wonder that project crashed and burned like ti did.  The more I watch Treme, the more I see Dallas.

BoPeep
BoPeep

While I completely agree with you (hiring a law firm to collect is silly), it seems like the first step is for everyone to get an ACCURATE ACCOUNTING of how many dollars are involved. The "spread" between $6M and $35M is just a joke! C'mon folks, this is basic math, right? It's just not THAT difficult!

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

You had $3k in Hollywood Video late fees?  Wow...

El Rey
El Rey

I hope you are right. Incompetence is more forgivable than graft and corruption anyday. Dallas County voters need to remember the incompetence and vote in a more competent commissioner's court in the future.

LaceyB
LaceyB

I knew I stood the chance of getting that comment. I actually did work there, for a summer. Really--torture on a stick. The ones they pull out before you can leave the store securely.

Tom L (No, Not That L)
Tom L (No, Not That L)

I suspect it is a little of both. It's easy to hide a little bit of corruption (say a mil or two) in a big pile of incompetence.

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