Background. Basically, for some reason Somervell County was considering taking out a loan for the benefit of Glen Rose Medical Center. The bonds are held in the name of Somervell County, but Glen Rose Medical Center/Somervell County Hospital District is entirely responsible for paying the payments on the bond. This is as a result of GRMC coming out from under the county and creating its own taxing subdivision. There was no open meeting at either Somervell County Commissioners Court nor at Somervell County Hospital District discussing this, thus the public had no way to know this was taking place. Ultimately, Somervell County Commissioners Court passed on doing a loan, and this is what Somervell County Hospital District voted to do, from a later called meeting in February.
Jan 4 2016- Brian Watts received the bond payment bill and sent an email to Ray Reynolds and Michael Honea with due date 2/15/2016
Someplace in the time frame period between Watts sending out the bill and Jan 22, Watts approached Ray Reynolds, according to a video of Somervell County Hospital District. Did he do so because he just up and wanted to find out if they would pay?
Wednesday, Jan 20, 2016
Friday, Jan 22, 2016 - Brian Watts sent Danny Chambers a copy of the Hospital Transfer Agreement. (on Somervell County Salon here)
Monday, Jan 25, 2016. Apparently at least by the Friday before, Danny Chambers, Andy Lucas, Brian Watts, Ray Reynolds and Michael Honea met regarding the possibility of getting a loan for the hospital to make the bond payment.
Jan 28, 2016. According to the next email, there was a meeting that included Ray Reynolds and Mike Honea regarding getting that loan, and after Brian Watts polled the commissioners to find out if they approved and to what amount. There was no Somervell County Commissioners meeting this week, but there was a Somervell County Hospital Board meeting on January 28, 2016. None of this was brought up to the board. In fact, Ray Reynolds did bring up that the bond payment was due on the 15th but breathed not a word of these side negotiations for the benefit of informing the elected board nor the public. But, again, Reynolds and Honea KNEW on Monday that they were going to try to get a loan from the county.
Jan 29, 2016 Reynolds says he will post an agenda to meet on Tuesday even to approve the assistance of the loan, as well as some kind of interlocal agreement.
second part. Note that Brian Watts answers, on Friday Jan 29 2016 that he had "discussed your proposal with our commissioners. The consensus among the majority of the court membes is a loan in the amount of $315,000 is the maximum the County would be willing to advance. This amount represents the principled part of the payment that is due on February 15th". Given that the time on this email is 9:14 am and there is a reference to a meeting the day before, it's apparent that this was discussed at least by the previous day, Thursday, Jan 28th 2016. What Brian Watts did, which included the *majority* of commissioners was a walking quorum, in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Mentioning again that there WAS a meeting of Somervell County Hospital District that Thursday night and this was not brought up, although it's apparently that quite a few principles in Somervell County Commissioners Court arena, including Andy Lucas, knew about it.
Feb 2 2016. Chip Harrison had sent out a message calling for a special session on this Tuesday night. But apparently the county was still trying to figure out if what was being discussed, ie, a loan to the hospital, was even legal. By that night, the special session of the Somervell County Hospital District was cancelled.
another Feb 2 email showing yet another attorney discussing the legality of this.
Feb 9, 2016- Somervell County Hospital District called a meeting to approve another bank loan, by now the whole idea of Somervell County loaning money to the hospital was DROPPED. In fact, the Somervell County Commissioners Court met that week and this was NOT on the agenda. Never had been. Notice in the above link, including 2 video clips of this, the sleight of hand to make that bond payment. The bank could not make a loan to the hospital to cover the bond payment but oculd for operations. (Wink-Wink)
As a side note, was told by one of the Somervell County Commissioners that one of the attorneys involved in looking at this deal said the county making a loan to the hospital would have been illegal.