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Citizens are calling to “drain the swamp” after Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal approved more money for a contract with the engineering firm of his business partner, Bobby Adams.

Montgomery County Commissioners Court voted 4-1 to add $385,000 to an almost $2 million contract with the engineering firm Halff Associates, of which Adams is a vice president, during their December 20th meeting. The contract with Halff Associates is for drainage construction on the SH 249 extension, known as the “Aggie Toll Road.” Commissioner James Noack was the only dissenter.

In addition to his position at Halff Associates, Adams co-owns a holdings company with Doyal called WS&G which they founded in 2010. Because of the close relationship between Adams and Doyal, many conservative activists believe there is a conflict of interest.

Local attorney Eric Yollick argues that Doyal should have recused himself from the vote:

“First of all, Judge Doyal is in a business relationship with an officer of Halff Associates Inc., Bobby Jack Adams, and therefore I believe that it is inappropriate under rules of ethics if not the law for Judge Doyal to not recuse himself.”

However, Yollick believes there is another conflict, claiming that Halff Associates has contributed to Doyal’s legal defense:

“Second of all, there have been reports and also there is specifically a document that suggest that Halff associates has been involved in the funding of the legal defense of Judge Doyal in the TOMA case that is pending in a district court. And so for those reasons I think Judge Doyal should recuse himself.”

Doyal and two commissioners were indicted back in June and charged with violating the Texas Open Meetings Act. The penalty could be up to six months in jail. However, if convicted Doyal would be required by law to resign. The case is set for trial in March 2017.

During the meeting, Doyal tried to dismiss the claims that Halff Associates was providing funding for his case. However, when asked how much money they had given to Doyal’s lawyer, James Baker with Halff Associates who was in the audience replied that he, “didn’t have that number.”

Also in attendance, The Woodlands Township Board Director Bruce Rieser called for sweeping ethics reform,“I would certainly urge you gentlemen to consider this very strongly and create an ethics program that would be the pride of this county.”