Commissioners in uproar over F-150 purchase
The Ellis County Press
ELLIS COUNTY – County commissioners unanimously approved the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department to purchase a new Ford F-150 for the amount of $26,315.35 from Paul Murrey Ford Monday, Sept. 14.
Murrey Ford, a family owned dealership since 1957 is located in Kaufman.
Matt Murrey, an ECSO employee who was also a huge Johnny Brown campaigner owns a third of the company.
" I am honest, there isn’t anything wrong with this transaction, I signed a conflict of interest form," said Matt Murrey.
Murrey claimed he would make very little profit ($200 according to obtained documents) and made sure he saved the department more than $13,000.
"I told them to look around and bring me prices and I had my brother make the deal, so it wasn’t me," said Murrey.
Upon contacting Sheriff Johnny Brown, he wanted a more detailed message left so he would "be more prepared."
"I don’t have a clue right now but, the best bid gets it [the purchase of vehicle]," said Brown.
A couple commissioners said they were not aware of the relation at the time of the vote.
"I didn’t know that at all, if I did, I certainly would have asked about this maybe being a conflict of interest," said pct. 3 commissioner Heath Sims, R-Waxahachie.
Sims didn’t think, perception wise even, this deal looked good.
"I spoke with Dennis [Brea-rley, ECSO chief] Friday before our vote and I made sure this wasn’t coming out of tax payer dollars.
"I was told it’s being purchased with seized drug money,"said Sims.
Commissioner Dennis Robinson, pct. 1, R-Palmer, said he wasn’t aware of the relationship either.
"Without all the facts I want to be careful on comment but it is questionable," said Robinson.
According to Chief Dennis Brearley, in order for the money to even be accessible to they had to fill out a DAG-71 form through the U.S. Department of Justice at the time the money was seized.
"By checking the option of drug services, this entitled us to be able to use the money forfeited for purchase so it’s non-tax dollars being spent," said Brearley.
Brearley, who wasn’t aware of the ownership status until he spoke with The Ellis County Press, said a string of phone calls last night has initiated the purchasing agreement to be placed on hold.
"Knowing what I do know, I need to make a few calls myself," said Brearley.