Suspected illegal meeting caught on tape
The Ellis County Press
BARDWELL – Mayor P.W. “Jinker” Gentry and Councilman Alvie Hollingsworth were both videotaped and photographed in a meeting that was not posted.
Councilwoman Maggie Walker said she was unaware the meeting was taking place at Hollingsworth’s house on April 22. Texas Department of Transportation worker Michael Elliott was also at the meeting.
The participants and attendees at the gathering at Hollingsworth’s house were photographed and recorded. Upon noticing The Ellis County Press vehicle, Hollingsworth became aggressive. However, just before this occurred, a registered sex offender, James Drennan was photographed at the mayor's shop off FM 984.
“I’m tired of John Allen [expletive] Hoskins,” Drennan said, in reference to this reporter.
Drennan asked to pose for the newspaper’s camera in which he stuck up his middle finger.
Citizens question why Gentry – whose shop neighborhood children congregate around – allows a sex offender within close proximity to the youngsters.
Drennan, according to court documents, is a convicted felon and registered as a sex offender for an alleged indecency with a child allegation.
After catching a convicted sexual predator at Mayor Gentry's shop, and after seeing children present, Hoskins proceeded to Hollingsworth's residence.
Hollingsworth, who was also seen meeting with the mayor before April 7’s contentious council meeting (since there are three council members, two comprise a quorum), told this reporter on April 22, “I’m a city councilman and you don’t stop taking photographs, we’re going to have [expletive] problems.”
Hollingsworth kept repeating his demands for this reporter to stop taking photos of the meeting.
At the time of Hollingsworth’s demands, other city officials began leaving. Elliott, himself a target of a public corruption probe by state officials, went to the Police Chief Michael Spurgeon's residence, with Gentry going to the Bardwell Food Mart, the city’s only convenience store to watch the reporters activities in town.
Shortly thereafter, this reporter summoned a patrolling Ellis County Sheriff’s Office deputy who had been patrolling the area, and filed an incident report alleging an illegal Open Meetings Act violation. The mayor, seeing the report being filed, left the area and could not again be located.
While filing the report, Hollingsworth drove by and began taking photos of this reporter. Nearby, Chief Spurgeon emerged from his residence and watched the events unfolding on Sycamore Street. Hollingsworth called Walker – the councilwoman who spearheaded an inquiry into several city officials – and asked why the paper was “now after me.” , in addition to contacting Lester Hammond, a Bardwell resident, who was in Hoskins' vehicle at the time the incidents transpired. Hammond said that Hollingsworth was irate, and that he was told "their 37 year friendship was over".
A regular (legal) council meeting will take place on Monday, May 5 at Bardwell City Hall beginning at 7 p.m.