1979 Road to Nowhere

Commissioners approve private road maintenance all over the county, circa 1979

Local newspapers and prosecutor lie about road maintenance.

Not only does Cherokee County equipment maintain private property of friends and relatives of local politicians, commissioners build completely new roads for well-connected landowners. In the documented past, the Cherokee County Commissioners Court was more than eager to annex private property in order to provide services for members of their clique. City and county road crews have been ordered to work on golf courses and hunting clubs used by their bosses. A stark editorial difference exists between the recent ousting attempts against Precinct 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti for paving a bona fide public road VERSUS local reporting that all roads in “Cherokee County need to be maintained because they are in the county.” (Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress, “Commissioner defends club road maintenance,” August 21, 1980)

Old newspaper articles show former County Commissioner William Kennedy authorizing culverts to be installed on roads all through the privately owned Cherokee County Hunting Club south of Rusk, TX. This type of isolated road improvement on private property was acknowledged and accepted in local newspapers. The current district and county attorneys’ mentors never considered prosecuting those Commissioners for improving their buddies’ private properties at taxpayer expense. The former Sheriff never dispatched his deputies to seize precinct maintenance logs to prove any impropriety. In their minds, it was good for everybody. They were open about their corrupt solidarity.

Jacksonville Daily Progress, August 21, 1980

In 1979, County Commissioners openly defended using taxpayer dollars to pave the private “road to nowhere” on the personal property of Lewie Byers, a wealthy Rusk banker and former Rusk city councilman. The Byers landlocked property off FM 2962 had culverts, grading and other roadwork installed on it “almost entirely for Byers’ benefit, and practically no one else’s.” (Source: Rusk Cherokeean p. 1, 14, “Road to Nowhere But Banker’s Land,” September 13, 1979)

On Nov. 13, 1978, the Commissioners Court agreed to commit county funds and equipment, and accept the road as a county road, although it leads to nowhere except to Byers’ property. Now that the road has been taken over by the county, it will be maintained at the taxpayers’ expense. (Source: Rusk Cherokeean p. 1 “Road to Nowhere But Banker’s Land,” September 13, 1979)


County Helped Build This Road To Lewie Byers’ Land (Source: Rusk Cherokeean Sept. 13, 1979 p.1)


Rusk Cherokeean p. 1, 14 September 13, 1979

An apologetic Alto Herald editorial was written in response to the Jacksonville radio station KEBE revelations to the public that the Lewie Byers property was being developed on the county’s dime.

After checking out the project, The Herald does not believe any criminal act has been committed. We firmly believe that County Commissioner William Kennedy is an honest and honorable man… The taxpayers of Cherokee County simply don’t feel they should help Councilman Byers, or any other land speculator and developer, make possible windfall profits at their expense…(Source: Alto Herald p.2, editorial “Road to Nowhere” September 13, 1979)

Alto Herald p.2, editorial “Road to Nowhere” September 13, 1979 

Now fast forward to 2010 after Precinct 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti rattles their cages, Cherokee County newspapers forget their own articles on Lewie Byers and on their front pages claim a bonafide public road to be “private.” (Source: “Commissioner paves Patterson Lane” Cherokeean Herald August 25, 2010) The corrupt Good Ol’ Boys and Biddies are not just trying to have it both ways; they claim a nonexistent oversight has been committed by the Pct. 3 Commissioner for maintaining a school bus route. At the same time they pretend not to have had county subsidized improvements performed on their own and their buddies’ properties for the last three decades.

Cherokee County brand of gotcha politicking.  It’s way of life.

Embedded reporters writing propaganda for Cherokee County, Texas newspapers take their cues directly from the district attorney’s office. No physical meeting is needed on courthouse property after decades of printing lies fed to them; editors know to publish fabrications that either promote their collective corrupt agendas, or completely bury facts. Case in point: Precinct 3 County Commissioner Katherine Pinotti is under “investigation” by the corrupt county Good Ol’ Boy system, because she ostensibly authorized gravel to be spread on Patterson Lane, located in the northern part of the county.

With the help of sheriff deputies, the County Attorney spearheaded the fabricated “investigation” (Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress August 26, 2010) into whether certain laws had been violated by Katherine Pinotti, because (according to them) there were conflicting reports about Patterson Lane being private or under the aegis of county maintenance. A mock commissioners court meeting was later held to declare the road as “private,” despite the outdated mapping system delineating Patterson Lane as a County Road under past maintenance. The sham investigation is now in the hands of the District Attorney. Local reporters have done their duty to pile on the lies by claiming Commissioner Katherine Pinotti paved an unmarked road.

Is it plausible that Cherokee County’s longtime newspaper reporters have become amnesiacs? Probably not. Perhaps the goal is for their younger readers to remain oblivious to what the local press has archived about the insidious public corruption in their home communities. Meanwhile, they assume their more mature readers won’t remember the commissioners court, et al law-breakers of yesterday. Editorials and articles written in the same newspapers as far back as 1978 show that commissioners and city councilmen alike were more than eager to build roads on private property, hunting clubs and golf courses frequented by the Cherokee County ruling class.

The Rusk Cherokeean (prior to combining with the Alto Herald) became a punching bag for local politicians in the Fall of 1978 for having the audacity to report that the City of Rusk and commissioners were using public equipment and labor to improve the local golf course located on the New Southern Motor Hotel grounds. Local attorneys, prosecutors, judges and the whole lot of corrupt Good Ol’ Boys past, present and future played golf on the “obviously illegal” and  “public-funded subsidy of a private interest group.” (Source: Rusk Cherokeean editorial p. 2, Nov. 2, 1978) They were all active members of the New Southern Motor Hotel Country Club located on Hwy 69. Many of them are life members.

Coming up, Julian & Buddy’s Road Service as told by former heavy equipment mechanic, a retired county employee and former commissioners nemesis.

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