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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
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January 16, 2013     Hays Free Press
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January 16, 2013
 

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Page 4A NEWS Hays Free Press January 16, 2013 + BY ROSS RAMSEY Texas Tribune Kenneth "Buddy" Barfield, a top adviser to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, is facing a criminal investigation amid accusa- tions from the Dewhurst cam- paign that he embezzled hun- dreds of thousands of dollars from political accounts and falsified campaign finance re- ports from 2008 to the present to hide his actions. Barfield is accused of fal- sifying bank deposit slips, vendor invoices and other documents to cover up his al- leged actions and to make the balances appear legitimate. An accountant in Dewhurst's campaign found a discrepan- cy in December, and that led to the discovery that at least $600,000 was missing from the state campaign's account. Barfield was confronted the next day and asked to leave; he told campaign officials he would pay the money back, but hasn't done so. And the al- leged pilfering, first reported by The Dallas Morning News, has been referred to the Travis County district attorney for possible prosecution. 'All I can say is that the lieu- tenant governor is shocked and dismayed that a trusted former senior adviser would steal from a campaign account for his own gain," said Rob Johnson, a former adviser to Dewhurst who is acting as the campaign's spokesman. "The level of money is shocking." Barfield did not return calls seeking comment. State law requires candi- dates to correct their reports within 14 daysoffindingerrors. Campaign officials scrambled to get the right numbers to- gether by that deadline. In the week before Christmas, they filed corrected reports with the Texas Ethics Commission, correcting the stated cash-on- hand numbers and explaining bluntly what happened. "It was recently discovered, unknown to the officeholder and the treasurer of the com- mittee, that the contribution balance shown on the original report was false," the correct- ed reports said. "The correct contribution balance is stated herein. The incorrect balance was the result of Mr. Kenneth A. Barfield, an official of the campaign, supplying false in- formation. Unknown to the officeholder and treasurer, this person, who was respon- sible for compiling the infor- mation used for the report, intentionally submitted false and incorrect amounts and documentation. This misrep- resentation of contribution balances was directly related to the misappropriation of committee funds to his own account, and for his own per- sonal benefit. Appropriate ac- tions are being taken to obtain full restitution to restore to the committee the misappropri- ated funds." The corrected state cam- paign finance report covers a period dating from the be- ginning of 2008 to now. The campaign's cash on hand was overreported in each of the 11 reports; differences between what was originally reported to the state and the corrected amounts reported this month range from a low of $600,562.12 to a high of $1,296,358.14. For Barfield, the transpar- ent part of his association with Dewhurst has been lucrative. The Senate campaign, which lasted less than two years, reported paying Barfield $143,196 directly, and paying his company, Alexander Group Consulting, or AGC, another $1.1 million for advertising, media buys and direct mail. From 2002 through mid-2011, the state campaign paid him $161,639 directly; according to its reports with the Texas Eth- ics Commission. From 2009 to this year, the state campaign paid AGC $4.88 million for consulting and media buys, according to the TEC. Bound for Odessa: Continued from pg. 1A because of the relationships I've built." Feldt has always had West Texas in his blood. He played at Midland High and Texas Tech University. Feldt was a graduate assistant at Texas Tech and was a head coach at Breckenridge and Pi- lot Point high schools. He led Pilot Point to the 2009 Class 2A Division I state title. He also was an assistant coach at Appalachian State University, Southern Methodist Univer- sity and M!dland High. Permian plays its home football games at Ratliff Sta- dium, which has a capacity of 17,906. Last year the Panthers averaged approximately 15,000 fans per game. Hays' Shelton Stadium has a capacity of just over 8,000. "It feels like I'm home again," Feldt said about the job. "Thls is the district I played my high school football in, and these are the games my dad took me to since before I could walk. It's such an exciting time for myself, my wife Kathy and our entire family. It's a dream come true to be the head football coach at Permian - everyone knows the Permian Panthers." It will be the third time Feldt has taken over for a coaching legend. At Pilot Point, he replaced G.A. Moore, the state's all-time winningest coach. At Hays, he took over for Bob Shelton, who is eighth in all-time wins in Texas, and now he replaces Gary Gaines at Permian. Gaines was the Panthers' head coach during the "Fri- day Night Lights" season and led the team to the 1989 state and national championships. During his second stint as head coach at Permian, Gaines had a 23-21 record from 2009- 2012. "The community and the city are hungry for the Pan- thers to be back on top," Feldt said. "It's going to take a tre- mendous amount of hard work from the kids and the coaching staff but we're going to roll up our sleeves and go to work. We're going to be 100 percent dedicated to that goal." Feldt said he plans to hit the ground running at Permian. "I'm excited about this new Hays coach goes home to West Texas challenge," Feldt said. "We're ready to win like Permian is supposed to win. This is the job I've always dreamed about and it's incredible it's become a reality." Hays officials have yet to set a timetable on hiring Feldt's replacement but Dr. Kim Pool, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction said the plan is to have a new athletic coordinator for the Rebels soon. "Hopefully it will be acceler- ated because spring football starts pretty soon," Pool said. "We're getting pretty good at this. We've had to hire two dif- ferent athletic coordinators each of the past two years." Pool said the hiring pro- cess will mirror ~he one that brought Feldt t" lays in 2011 and Todd Ra, ,, md to Leh- man last year. "We will meet with the booster club and teachers and create criteria and a pro- file of who we're looking for," Pool said. "We will then have a group who will go through the applicants and narrow them to people we want to interview for the job. Hopefully we will find our next Hays High athlet- ic coordinator and head foot- ball coach out of that group of applicants." Pool said administrators Carolyn Hitt, assistant superin- tendent for human resources, Betsy Russell, director of stu- on the committees," Po01 said. dent programs, and Hays High Pool said she appreciates principal David Pierce will be what Feldt did for Hays but on either the committee to se- understands his desire to land lect the finalists for interviews the Permian job. or on the actual interview and Senior quarterback Caleb selection committee. Kimbro, who set every single In addition, parentswhohave passing and scoring record at children in extra-curricular ac- Hays, agrees. tivities, coaches, teachers and "I think I speak for the en- other administrators will be on tire team when I say we were the differentcommittees, blessed to have had coach "Since whoever we hire~will Feldt for the past two years," be the athletic coordinator as Kimbro said. "He allowed us to well as the head football coach, accomplish many great things. we obviously want to have par- I know he will do very well at ents who have students play- Permian and I wish him the ing sports other than football best." i hi,,! ~?~ ,~,;. ,. }~! MARK DAMMERT, M.D. Otolaryngologist, Board drtified FELLOWSHIP-TRAINED IN FACIAL PLASTIC SURGERY Allergy & Sinus Management Vocal Cord Disorders Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment Head & Neck Cancer Surgery i .. Hearing Loss & Ear Disorders Skin Cancer Dizziness & Balance Disorders,Functional & Cosmetic Facial Surgery Thyroid Disorders Offering Adult & Pediatric Care Up to 60 Mo. Up. to 60 Mo. ) 4-