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Section A: General News


Officials hush-hush about Jim Miller investigation


Officials hush-hush about Jim Miller investigation
Jim Miller


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Wilson County News
July 3, 2013
6,005 views
49 comments

FLORESVILLE -- It has been more than a month since Floresville City Councilman Jim Miller revealed that he was the subject of an ongoing Texas Rangers criminal investigation. That probe, Miller said, was initiated by 81st Judicial District Attorney Rene Peña.

The Wilson County News on June 4 submitted an open records request to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) -- which oversees the Texas Rangers -- asking for copies of relevant criminal complaints, warrants, and affidavits. DPS replied to the newspaper by mail, in a letter dated June 17, signed by Assistant General Counsel Molly Cost.

According to the heavily redacted information DPS released, someone filed a criminal complaint Aug. 21, 2012, with the Floresville Police Department, alleging that Miller lied on his application for placement on the city’s November general election ballot. Miller filed that application eight days prior.

Floresville police Chief Lorenzo Herrera said June 28 that it was former Floresville City Secretary Margaret Aranda, the election judge, who filed the initial report with Patrolman Kevin Swinehart. Because the complaint pertained to a city election matter, Herrera said the investigation was turned over to the district attorney’s office to avoid a potential conflict of interest.

Nine months later, on May 1, 2013, Peña requested that the Texas Rangers conduct an inquiry into the matter. Ranger Cody Mitchell is heading that investigation into Miller’s alleged “tampering with a governmental record with the intention of making it genuine.”

Miller’s residency status is the focus of the allegations against the councilman. Aranda informed Miller minutes before the filing deadline that he was ineligible to seek office because his voter registration only had been filed June 20, 2012, despite indicating on his application that he had resided in the city for five years, eight months. This was refuted during Secretary of State’s office spokesman Alicia Pierce’s subsequent interview with the Wilson County News, in which she said, “There is no obligation to establish residency through voter registration.”

Miller and his attorney, Eric Opiela, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Antonio, attempting to compel Aranda to place Miller on the ballot. The court on Aug. 24, 2012, ruled in Miller’s favor.

Based on a reply to an open records request to the Wilson County Voter Registrar’s Office dated Sept. 25, 2012, Miller listed his residence as 1013 C Street, Floresville, which also is the address to his business.

But with regard to copies of the complaints, warrants, and affidavits, DPS sought a ruling from Attorney General Greg Abbott. The Floresville Police Department also sought a ruling when the Wilson County News on June 18 asked for copies of relevant complaints, offense reports, supplements, and transcripts related to the allegations against Miller.

While the attorney general’s office has not replied to the police department’s request, in its reply to DPS’ request dated June 24, Abbott wrote that the information requested may be withheld pursuant to Section 552.108(a)(1) of the Texas Government Code. This is because the items pertain to an active criminal investigation.

As of press time July 1, Miller has neither been arrested nor formally charged with a crime. If he is charged with tampering with a governmental record with the intention of making it genuine, he faces up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both.

Miller declined to comment.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
July 17, 2013 9:24am
 
Alvin....Your points are valid and correct. You might give up arguing with idiots. Remember the old saying that when you argue with idiots, you are both arguing with a fool. The idiots have opinions and you have facts but ... More ›

 
Alvin Charmaine  
July 17, 2013 6:02am
 
Boots the integrity of an election is the issue, not the motivation. There is no need to name call, I have been respectful. I am more concerned about the election process being corrupted, and the complacency people like yourself ... More ›

 
Boots&HighWaters needed  
Floresville  
July 16, 2013 10:42pm
 
Alvin "Blow Hard" this is nothing more than a political favor that rene wishes he could have a "Do Over".

 
Alvin Charmaine  
July 16, 2013 7:50pm
 
Tiger - i dont believe i have said anything untrue, if I did it was unintentional. The Rangers were called in because the issue of residency is unresolved. The courts decided that there wasnt authority to keep Jim off the ballot ... More ›

 
TigerLily  
Floresville  
July 16, 2013 10:47am
 
Alvin, there you go again. Speaking untruths. The Texas Rangers were investigating because the DA called them in as a favor to the former mayor and his crooks. This bunch of people all have things on each other and they don't ... More ›

 
Xavier bernal  
San Antonio, Tx  
July 16, 2013 8:27am
 
You would think now that the investigation would be complete. Has there been any updates on this? I truly hope it goes well for Mr Miller, I believe he is making the effort to put this town back on the right track. A lot of ... More ›

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
July 16, 2013 7:33am
 
Alvin is right. All the rest should wait for the investigation to conclude. Of course, it may be like the Zimmerman case where people refused to accept facts.

 
Alvin Charmaine  
July 15, 2013 9:55pm
 
I should add - it would probably be a good thing if Jim is eligible, a lot easier that way. I actually hope he is a resident. Cheaper and easier that way.

 
Alvin Charmaine  
July 15, 2013 9:52pm
 
Glen yes they did go to court, the issue of residency was unresolved as best as I understand it. Jim was allowed on the ballot without his residency being established, because they lacked authority to act - and that is why ... More ›

 
Glenn Quagmire  
Quahog, Rhode Island  
July 15, 2013 12:02pm
 
Ain't they already go to court over this? If they did, why the judge gonna let him break the law? Ain't the cops got other stuff to do?

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