Coats Questions County Expenditures

Commentary: Robert Coats

This week I attended the regular Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting and observed two significant events during the proceedings: one involved Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker’s questions concerning expenditures incurred from the recent Trump rally, the other involved my question regarding county money being given to a developer in Magnolia.

Walker’s questioning of expenditures by the county incurred for various expenses for the recent Trump rally was stifled, and County Judge Mark Keough’s Chief of Staff Jason Millsaps had to explain the expenditures before the court. Various county employees tried to get Walker to give up in his pursuit for answers as to why the county spent this high of a dollar amount. Walker stopped asking when Keough and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley had Budget Director Amanda Carter explain that there were available funds. Robert Walker was on to something. Those who held the event should reimburse this county our expenditures above our normal cost.

When the time came for citizen comment, I began to respectfully ask about the signed agreement for $79 million taxpayer dollars that are going to be returned to Audubon Development, a large-scale development being built in Magnolia.

The first question: Who initiated the contact between the county and Audobon?

Secondly: Why is a decision of this magnitude and with this amount of tax dollars on the consent agenda out of public view?

In response to my series of simple questions, the commissioners responded by sitting in silence.

After some silence, a county attorney basically said the process is not complete. Keough said we don’t have to answer. Riley then said it’s a done deal. They can’t or won’t answer basic easy questions.

Do you trust people who refuse to answer basic questions about giving a developer back almost $80 million of this county’s tax dollars, which instead should be going towards planning for our future roads and flood mitigation effort, among other priorities?

$80 million of your tax dollars are being given to a developer. Do not vote for anyone who refuses to tell you, as ordinary people their reasoning as to why.

If you vote for Riley, you are endorsing more of these done deals to be made in the future. If you vote for Keough, you are now voting for a formerly conservative-turned Riley endorsed figurehead. If you vote for Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts, you are endorsing Riley due to your silence. 

Vote them all out and truly have a transparent, accountable Commissioners Court, or accept the hidden nature and deals that are made with your tax dollars out of public view.

Questions? Comments? Thoughts? We want to hear from you! Contact the editor by email at or by phone at 936-777-0743.

Published by Reagan Reed

Reagan is a journalist and educator from East Texas. He has been involved in numerous campaigns, worked at the Texas Legislature, and covered Texas politics for years as a journalist.

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