Eversole admits mistakes in campaign report
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- There is more fallout from a 13 Undercover investigation.
County Commissioner Jerry Eversole swore his campaign finance reports were true, even though 13 Undercover told you they weren't. <> Now, a major development in the months-long investigation into the powerful politician's alleged misuse of campaign funds.
Jerry Eversole has been a county commissioner for sixteen years. He's raised millions, but he now claims he's ignorant of the states election laws and that his sworn campaign reports were wrong.
"Ignorance of the law is no excuse," said campaign ethics watchdog Fred Lewis.
The admission came in a press release issued today. This came months after 13 Undercover documented possible misuse of tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations.
The commissioner has never agreed to answer our questions on camera, but in a statement he said, "I regret that I have not been more attentive to the details of my campaign finances."
What a difference a two month surveillance investigation makes. The commissioner has apparently changed some of the ways he spends campaign funds in the wake of our investigation.
"You're shaking things up," Lewis said. "People are starting to realize they have to take election laws seriously."
Gone is the spending in clothes stores written off as public relations.
In his new campaign report, he's no longer using campaign funds to pay for his workout place. He used to claim thousands of dollars in expenses.
During our surveillance last fall, we couldn't help but notice the commissioner's love of Starbucks. On his last campaign report, he claimed $2,700 in expenses at Starbucks in just 18 trips.
This time, just one Starbucks bill was $53.
He used to go Java Java restaurant near his Heights home a lot on campaign funds. There were 44 trips between January and June. There were zero instances on this six month report.
Also startling, the amount of money Eversole now says he has in his campaign account, $1.8 million.
The commissioner says he's sought the advice of experts to help him clean up his campaign finances and former Judge Robert Eckels will now handle his campaign money.
The commissioner is using campaign funds to pay lawyer Rusty Hardin. That bill is nearly $15,000 in one month. We reported last month the FBI was probing the commissioner.
But Eversole remains silent on possible misuse of government employees and equipment on his campaign and how much he paid a county contractor for design work on his home in the Heights.
And he's still refusing to sit down on camera to answer all the questions raised by our investigation.
13 undercover, wayne dolcefino
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