Friday, April 20, 2012

Sheriff's race hot and heavy on too many offenses

Big shakeup in Falls County liquor locker

Marlin – Former Texas Alcoholic Commission investigator Ricky Scaman had decided to make his move.

He would run for Sheriff of Falls County, but there were a lot of people standing in his way.

By the time Mr. Scaman showed up at a remote Falls County location to take a ride with his boss, investigators had built a Bible of complaints on his job performance, including thumb-indexed chapters and verses on time keeping, investigative techniques, and a racy photo of a smiling embrace with a topless – and very nearly bottomless – stripper. Ah, entertainer. Er - uh – exotic dancer?

An investigator, he was there to listen to reason as Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Executive Director Alan Steen drove him around his rural property near Marlin in an official state vehicle.

The message was clear, according to a lawsuit filed this week in district court on behalf of Mr. Scaman.

Ricky Scaman should not quit his $50,000 a year job as a TABC investigator to run for Sheriff of Falls County, a political position that pays a paltry $31,000 per annum.

According to the lawsuit, though the message was clear, the reasoning behind it was not, at least from the scant information supplied by Mr. Scaman's attorneys.

The three defendants have yet to answer the allegations of complaint.

It is unclear if a shift in plans by current Sheriff Ben Kirk to seek re-election rather than step aside figures in the controversy.

What is clear is that everyone involved was in - or had been - in serious trouble over their job performance in law enforcement or work as a corrections officer.

Former Falls County Sheriff Larry Pamplin had at one point pled no contest to a charge of stealing $23,574 in “fake expenses,” according to Mssrs. Mark Straton and William Torrey, Mr. Scaman's attorneys.

Trent Pamplin lost his peace officers' certification for a 10-year period following his conviction for drunk driving. The Texas Youth Commission fired him from his job as a corrections officer at the local juvenile detention facility when he was caught sleeping on duty.

His former boss at the youth commission, Alan Steen, who became the top man at TABC in 2003, is described in these terms by Mr. Scaman's lawyers:

“During his tenure at TABC, the TABC has been involved in a number of scandals including car chases, alleged rapes of minors, shootings, violent bar raids and at least one sexual harrassment lawsuit.”

According to the laconic recital of the lawsuit, Mr. Steen once told a mechanic who was working on his parents' motor home near Georgetown to “take his service contract and get off the property.” A police officer noted in an official report that Mr. Steen threatened “he would kick the repairman's ass.”

The dispute? The man allegedly wanted to be paid what he was owed, according to the report.

Following a closed executive session of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Mr. Steen resigned his position effective June 1.

Investigators had been scrutinizing Ricky Scaman's job performance for some time, according to a 76-page complaint filed by his supervisors at TABC, a complaint reportedly based on more than 400 pages of reports and statements gathered over his tenure, which began in 2005. (click here to read the report of the TABC Office of Professional Responsibility)

It was not Mr. Scaman's first rodeo with regard to complaints against his professionalism.

In a 2004 civil suit, Bernice M. DeRouen alleged she had been subjected to "willful physical abuse and false imprisonment" following a wild ride in a patrol car driven by a female officer who pursued another vehicle while she rode, handcuffed, in the back seat. She sued the Falls County Sheriff's Department and then Falls County Deputy Ricky Scaman, a legal action the County's attorneys claimed was erroneous since Falls County and its Sheriff's Department are the same enttities. Mr. Scaman arrested Ms. DeRouen for Class C Misdemeanor Assault. (click here to read Falls County's appeal brief)

What did he do as an investigator for TABC?

The duties varied from delivering classroom lectures to underage drinkers on the evils of consuming alcohol to conducting investigations of errant bar owners who do business in ways contrary to state law.

Investigations of disturbance calls in establishments licensed to serve alcoholic beverages tops the list, but there are many operators of shirt tail beer joints that will tell tales of TABC investigators peeping in windows and knocking on doors after hours.

They are just doing their job. They are there to see if they can find an open container of beer or a bottle of whiskey, to rouse a drunk sleeping with his head on the bar or stretched out on a pool table, or go through the trash in search of liquor bottles with labels that have not been defaced to prevent their being refilled with illegally distilled and untaxed products of the bootlegger's art.

A part of the folk lore of any Texas watering hole, neighborhood bar or outright blind pig, this constant war of wits between the men and women behind the plank while catering to the needs of their tipsy clients and the TABC agents who ride herd on their business is the stuff of Legend – all part of growing up, as Willie Nelson might say.

Then there are the underage girls, a bar owner's biggest challenge to keeping a license – that is, after paying the bills and keeping the employees from walking away with most of the owner's money stuffed in their pockets.

Many a bar owner has succumbed to a competitor's dirty trick of furnishing underage females with fake ID on ladies nights, allowing the hapless patsy to pack his bar with good looking chicks, and then calling the TABC investigators to report underage drinking – all in the interest of common decency, the moral development of youth, and the safety of motorists on public roadways.

By the time the agents arrive, the fake ID's are long lost; the girls are sent home to their mommies, and the bar's license is suspended for 28 days - pending an investigation.

The pages of the “Marlin Democrat” are often graced with accounts of Agent Ricky Scaman arresting various persons for Class B Misdemeanor offenses involving their patronage at area drinking establishments. Mr. Scaman is running for Sheriff as a Republican.

Complaints against Mr. Scaman included falsification of a government document by making incorrect entries on his time sheets. For instance, he claimed to have been doing an investigation in neighboring Bell County while he was actually in Falls County, doing something else.

But the crowning event occurred at The Two Minnie's, a local gentlemen's entertainment club, where professional – ah, entertainers – dancers, dance partially nude, displaying ample breasts and performing torrid contortions on stage while gyrating to the music and picking up the tips tossed or stuffed into their g-strings.

Ricky Scaman strolled into the club one evening and a young woman wearing only a thong grabbed him in an embrace while another police officer hugged her from the rear and an employee of the establishent made a snapshot. That's one of the illustrations in the Bible built by investigators investigating Ricky Scaman, investigator.

During their rural ride, Mr. Steen allegedly furnished Mr. Scaman with an “unsigned list of ridiculous and far-fetched allegations” that could be used against him if he did not change his plans to run for Sheriff of Falls County.

After his refusal to change his plans, the lawsuit alleges, a Major Robert Cloud took him aside in a conference room on September 21 and told him “I am not leaving here today unless you resign or are terminated.”

Mr. Scaman is at present apparently unemployed, though he is still pursuing election as the Sheriff of Falls County.

Pictures of him wearing the ubiquitous white cowboy hat of the candidate for Lord High Sheriff festoon the rural landscape of Falls County on ever country road and corner fence post.

On-line campaign literature asserts that he is a recipient of certain awards for his work, a Master Peace Officer certified by the State of Texas, and has “the ability to look at the big picture.”

Mr. Scaman's lawsuit alleges that Mr. Steen, the director of the TABC, involved the state agency in a plot with his co-defendants to deprive him of his First Amendment right to seek public office, a violation of Texas Penal Code Sect. 39.03 – Official Oppression.

A Class A misdemeanor, the offense consists of misconduct by a public official if under color of his official duties, he:

“(1)intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment,
or lien that he knows is unlawful;
“(2) intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful; or
“(3) intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment.”

The three defendants thereby conspired to commit “tortious interference” with Mr. Scaman's right to seek office and committed slander and libel by making the allegations of complaint in the official TABC complaint used to terminate his employment.

The suit seeks damages in excess of the jurisdiction of the court and that the jurors render the judgment attached to any forthcoming verdict of culpability following a trial.

The burning question: Will a judge or jury, or both, determine that the three defendants knew their conduct was unlawful?


  1. why dosnt the first link in this artical work!


  3. as far as allen steeen the crrok goes that is a good thing !!!!!!!