John Parker, who operates the Red Barn on Hwy 67, was an elected Somervell County Hospital District board member at the time Darrell Best filed a petition to remove Paul Harper. (Reminder that elected board member Ron Hankins is the one that actually wrote up the petition, secret until a recent deposition). One of the charges for removal was that Harper had made a motion at a Somervell County Hospital District to set the tax at zero. This did not happen, and as has been noted on other posts., there was no apparent investigation regarding whether this was actually 1. Following is part of Parker's testimony at the hearing that occurred August 20, 2019.
Atty Brown shows John Parker a copy of the minutes that prove that no motion was made. Incidentally, Ron Hankins, who actually is the person that wrote the Petition for Removal, voted to approve those minutes. You can find the signed minutes on the Somervell County Hospital District website at glenrosemedicalcenter.com Despite Darrell Best's charge, NO MOTION WAS MADE BY PAUL HARPER on the tax rate, item X.
As Parker pointed out below, there is actually a video of the meeting in which this took place. The Glen Rose Reporter had written about the activity at the meeting, got it wrong and had to issue a correction.
Brown asked "And was that motion the grounds for his removal or the basis for his removal?".
Parker: The perception of that, I believe, by Mr Best is what caused it to happen. I wish he had gone and watched it again on the video.
Brown: And at some point in time did you then understand that the State of Texas joined in as the party who was prosecuting this case against Mr Harper?"
Parker: I did. And I was amazed that our County Attorney chose to not look at the video.
Brown: What.. What kind of effect did it have on you that the State of Texas adopted Mr Best's allegations and sought to remove Harper from office?
Parker: I decided if a baseless allegation can cause the State of Texas to come down on you, I'd better be careful what I"m doing.
"Like Chip, I didn't have $25,000 either". Well, gosh, who really does? This is why what the State of Texas did is a SLAPP suit, frivolous, which would cause most people to quit rather than fight the baloney.
Brown: So did you believe that you were susceptible to a lawsuit?
Parker: After Paul did nothing and got sued, yes. I sat close to him at most of the meetings. I felt like nearly anything I'd do might cause me to be sued by someone that could easily be enjoined by the State of Texas or our County Attorney.
And John Parker said he was actually threatened by someone who works for the Somervell County Sheriff's Department.
Brown: Were you ever threatened with a lawsuit?
Brown: Who threatened you with a lawsuit?
Parker: The chief deputy for Somervell Sheriff's Department told me that if I had asked to try to get the $25,000 paid to Paul, he would sue me. That was just after one of our meetings.
That was probably the meeting held on 3/20/2015 at which the indemnification was discussed. According to John Parker, the person that threatened him was Dwayne Griffin. Note that at the meeting in which this was voted on after this,on May 28 2015, the hospital attorney had said that he agreed Harper should be paid the $25,000 from hospital funds. From the minutes
Ron Hankins, who had secretly written the petition for removal, and did not recuse himself for some reason from the vote,voted against.
Parker also mentions that he was threatened in one of the open meetings. I believe that was "Bob". (I was at that meeting recording from the left side of the room.)
Brown: And so you decided not to run for re-election. And did the removal suit that was filed against Harper have.. obviously play an effect on that?
Parker: I'd say it was primarily.
Brown: Do you think Paul Harper took any action to harm the hospital district while he was an elected member of the board?
Brown: But just because you didn't agree with him, you didn't believe he had to be removed form the board, is that right?
Parker: I certainly did not.
Brown: And you wouldn't advocate for removing somebody from office because they had a different view from you, would you?
Parker: Certainly not. That's why you have several members of the board.
Brown: So do you believe that there was any merit to this lawsuit to remove Paul Harper from office?
Now Mr Lucas, as the State of Texas, asked questions.
Lucas: Mr Parker, what feedback did you get from the community during your service on the board?
Parker: They stayed away from me.
Lucas: Okay, does that mean
Parker: It wasn't that way to start with
Lucas: Okay, I mean, does that mean they were opposed to what you were attempting to do on the board?
Parker: No. It meaned they were opposed to what they were told I was attempting to do and that I was on Paul's side and he's getting thrown off. So it was just a problem.
Lucas: Now, the 2016 election, would it be fair to say that that was an evaluation of everyone's performance on the board that was running for re-election?
Parker: No, I'd say it's an evaluation of if you don't agree with what's going on, you better not run.
Lucas: There was such an emotional reaction from the public, right, that you probably just didn't want to deal with that anymore?
Parker: WEll, I certainly didn't want to have the public as upset with me as they appeared to be because I was trying to tell everyone Paul didn't do anything wrong. It's on the World Wide Web, watch it.