The crisis has two parts: 1. the possible elimination of Pappy Elkins Lake and 2. the condition of the Pappy Elkins Lake dam that has been harmed by ten high-pressure gas wells. XTO violated state laws by situating their pad site on the Pappy Elkins Dam - the only dam in Texas housing a pad site. The dam was constructed using discarded concrete and asphalt. It has suffered major erosion on the west bank as the spillway XTO constructed directs downstream water along the entire western base - a serious design flaw. Elimination of our lake is one of two possible outcomes - from actions promulgated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (“TCEQ”) - presented to the City Council by the engineering firm of Freese and Nichols ("FN") in a January 27, 2015 special meeting. Our letters to the City Council (below) and TCEQ dam department thoroughly document these issues, and a recording of the special meeting of the DWG is also provided.
FN's analytical reports of the dam have been concealed from citizens by Mayor Tedder's designation of city attorney, Mr. Jim Jeffrey, as their recipient. Open Records Requests for the reports were denied by Mr. Jeffrey claiming the reports as protected "attorney client" material. Mr. Jeffrey has a special lease with XTO in DWG (see our Unanswered Questions Page) and is overseeing DWG's pursuit of a water permit from the TCEQ. If the permit is denied, DWG will lose Pappy Elkins Lake, the dam will be "undesignated" and XTO will drill more wells - a financial windfall for Mr. Jeffrey because of the location of his DWG property. This is a clear conflict of interest and we are disappointed Mr. Jeffrey is acting in this capacity. Mr. Jeffrey has also supported what appears to be a "staged" City Council meeting (see section below regarding Purported Meeting) with the production of a questionable legal services invoice. Since 2010, he has billed DWG for approximately $250,000 .
We are longtime Dalworthington Gardens, TX ("DWG") residents concerned about:
This website is devoted to informing citizens and friends of DWG by providing documents, verified information and fact-based analysis. For too long the current City Council has conducted business in our city under a cloak of obscurity. When asked simple fact-based questions, this City Council has repeatedly ignored the questions or provided answers that have proven to be false.
Many issues that have been investigated for over a year are summarized here for your benefit. The most egregious matter we have uncovered involves the deliberate manipulation of our city's 2011 Audit Report that occurred in connection with the hiring of a new audit firm. For unknown reasons, Mayor Tedder and Aldermen Pettke and Snodgrass seemingly orchestrated a process resulting in the creation of nearly $500,000 of false profits for fiscal year 2011 - for which there is no associated cash. The deliberate manipulation of previously audited financial reports (detailed below) is alarming and has not been explained by this City Council. DWG citizens deserve to know why this was done and we are committed to finding the truth.
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Dear Citizens of DWG – On April 20, 2015, Mayor Tedder sent a letter to particular residents. It’s unclear how recipients were selected, but ALL citizens in our view should have received this letter. We provide his letter for you here:
In his letter, Mayor Tedder made misleading comments and wrote falsely of the number of Open Records Requests submitted by our group. The actual number is approximately 15 to 20 (not 200) over a one year period. Only Mayor Tedder knows if this was a deliberate act of deception. Many of our requests have been ignored or denied and we have paid hundreds of dollars in fees to DWG.
Open Records Requests have been utilized because key questions of our City Council were ignored and some of their public statements were questionable. Through our research of documents, we have identified false statements made in multiple City Council meetings by our elected leaders. Some are documented on this website with recordings, verifiable documents and fact based analysis. Our goal is to inform citizens – not insult them with ridiculous and unsubstantiated statements.
DWG’s true cost, from our Open Records Requests, stems from the Mayor’s refusal to provide data and his hiring of attorneys to shield the facts. On a number of occasions, the Mayor has directed the city attorney, Mr. Jim Jeffrey, to write letters of denial and letters to the Texas Attorney General seeking approval to deny our Open Records Requests. Mr. Jeffrey bills at $175.00 per hour. We back our factual statements by providing two of Mr. Jeffrey’s letters for your review here:
Please note that Jeffrey Letter #1 denied a request for information DWG had already provided but, through our follow up questions, was determined to be incorrect. When asked for true information, Mayor Tedder refused to provide it and instructed Mr. Jeffrey to send a denial letter. We responded to Mr. Jeffrey asking for reconsideration (found here ) without a response. This request remains unanswered.
Issues regarding XTO were thoroughly covered in our February letter: Bottom line – XTO knowingly disregarded the law. They knew the TCEQ would deny a request to drill on our dam. Our lease with XTO includes protective provisions that obligate XTO to cover the expense of needed modifications to our dam and the woefully inadequate spillway they constructed. We have painstakingly walked Mayor Tedder through the protective provisions in the lease but he seems unable or unwilling to consider what are fundamental business principals commonly found in agreements. Instead of approaching XTO to honor their contract with DWG, our Mayor and Aldermen defend XTO and blame citizens. We do not understand the unanimous inaction on this matter by Mayor Tedder and every member of the City Council.. They appear more interested in protecting the interests of XTO than the citizens they represent.
Mayor Tedder's Untruthful April 20, 2015 Letter to Citizens
The Purported and Unverifiable July 24, 2012 DWG City Council Meeting
Here are a few of the reports we prepared for the TCEQ.
After several months of research, we have identified deceptive actions of XTO. Sadly, we the DWG city council may have knowingly facilitated XTO's ability to act in this manner. Below is a letter to XTO that highlights some of the matters we have uncovered.
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You may recognize these beautiful creatures. All of them called Pappy Elkins "home" at one point. Help us bring them back!
In May 2014, we filed a complaint with the TCEQ against XTO for taking more water from Pappy Elkins Lake than was legally permitted. The TCEQ conducted an investigation and ruled that XTO had violated their permit. XTO appealed this ruling and the City of DWG has attempted to cover XTO's position by providing data to the TCEQ we find questionable. This investigation is ongoing and once completed we will share the TCEQ published results of the investigation.
When XTO appealed the TCEQ's initial ruling, we decided to do a thorough investigation of the data provided to the TCEQ by XTO and the city of DWG. Our analysis led us to the conclusion that XTO removed 15 million gallons of water from Pappy Elkins Lake - their permit allowed the removal of only 3.2 million gallons. We shared all of our research with the TCEQ over a series on months and reviewed our findings with them in several meetings.
The data DWG provided to the TCEQ supported 100% XTO's position that they limited their diversion of water from Pappy Elkins Lake to 3.2 million gallons. We found the data provided by DWG to have serious flaws when analyzed against data obtained through numerous open records requests and other independent sources. We share all of our analysis in the reports below. We also share the following summation of our findings:
Eric Griffey's July 9, 2014 cover story on condition of Pappy Elkins and roles played by XTO and DWG.
Highlights include the following:
City Attorney, Mr. Jim Jeffrey, falsely claimed to be "a citizen of DWG" so he could illegitimately speak as a citizen. His unbecoming behavior was not explained. Alderman Snodgrass accused a citizen of lying in the August 2014 Council Meeting where the tampering of DWG's audited financials was exposed. Mr. Snodgrass offered no support for his accusation - understandable since tampered financial reports are self evident and indisputable.
September 24, 2014 Council Meeting
City Attorney, Mr. Jim Jeffrey denies access to public information from a proper Open Records Request. Our response follows:
James Osborne covers the ruling by the TCEQ that XTO removed 1.4 million gallons of water from pappy Elkins without a valid permit.
At the August 20, 2014 Council Meeting we asked Mayor Tedder and Alderman Pettke, CPA, why DWG's 2011 Audit Report was dramatically changed in the 2012 Audit Report - the first audit performed by BrooksCardiel, PLLC, DWG's new audit firm in Houston, TX. Specifically, profits were TRIPLED - without an increase in cash - without requisite disclosure. These changes were overseen by Mayor Tedder and Alderman Pettke, CPA, who oversee all of DWG's accounting. Despite many requests, no viable explanation has been provided. Mr. Pettke has defended changes to the 2012 Audit Report as "normal" with a new audit firm. Mayor Tedder has stated that many "reverse journal entries" were made, though he has not made them available. Below we provide Mr. Pettke's statement, citizen comments from the August 2014 meeting, follow-up letters sent August 22 and September 22 to the DWG City Council and BrooksCardiel's defense of their undisclosed changes.
Alderman Mike Pettke, CPA - Announces Investigation by State Authorities
In the September 2015 DWG City Council Meeting, Alderman Mike Pettke, CPA, displayed an angry tirade and announced that he and the city’s accounting firm, BrooksCardiel, PLLC were the subjects of an investigation by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (“TSBPA). In this meeting Alderman Pettke also made multiple public statements that we believe he knew — or should have known — were untruthful. For the benefit of concerned DWG citizens, the untruthful statements are discussed here. Mr. Pettke's comments are provided here:
Alderman Pettke’s refusal to candidly answer simple questions about the city’s finances as reported on its publicly issued and audited financial statements needlessly necessitated an investigation by the TSBPA. This website (see below) reported on this matter in 2014. The TSBPA considers legitimate complaints about false and deliberately misleading financial statements, and the citizens of DWG are entitled to know the truth about how and why a city financial report was falsified. The “how” has been incontrovertibly documented – we believe only Alderman Pettke and BrooksCardiel, PLLC can answer the “why”.
In the August 2014 DWG City Council Meeting, Alderman Pettke was asked about a financial table for 2011 that had been deliberately altered by the population throughout of 20 false numbers (“Falsified Table”). The Falsified Table, which appeared in DWG's 2012 Annual Financial Report, is shown here where the false numbers are highlighted in red: . The Falsified Table fabricated nearly $500,000 of profits for DWG – or 2.7 times what we now know — and Alderman Pettke and BrooksCardiel now admittedly concede — were the true profits for 2011. Yet in the August 2014 meeting, Mayor Tedder and Alderman Pettke defended the integrity of the Falsified Table and the work of BrooksCardiel. Two days later, on August 22, 2014, the entire DWG City Council received our email that included the following questions:
These serious questions went unanswered. Instead, Alderman Pettke instructed BrooksCardiel to publish a report that defended the alleged correctness of the Falsified Table. This deceptive report (located on the DWG website) made no mention of a “mistake” and attempted to authenticate numbers BrooksCardiel and Alderman Pettke had to know were false at the time (“BC Report”). Additional emails and phone calls to BrooksCardiel and Alderman Pettke were exercised in futility, and private conversations with Aldermen Motley and Loe were fruitless as they were unwilling to consider the matter. With no other option available, we contacted the TSBPA and asked for their help.
In May 2015, under the pressure of a TSBPA investigation, Alderman Pettke apparently instructed BrooksCardiel to correct the Falsified Table and replace the fabricated numbers with the actual numbers. His unsupportable assertion that the Falsified Table was “just a mistake made by BrooksCardiel” – all 20 false numbers – is, frankly, incredible, if not infeasible as a practical matter. Perhaps 1 or 2 numbers – but 20? It is as though a Rolls Royce “mistakenly” came off a Volkswagen assembly line to the surprise of everyone. If BrooksCardiel and Alderman Pettke truly believed that the Falsified Table was a mistake, they would have readily conceded it in August 2014, not published the BC Report and then subsequently issued a correction of the falsified financial report. They did none of these things.
Here are some of the untruthful statements made by Alderman Pettke in the September 2014 meeting:
These are just two examples of the untruths Alderman Pettke brazenly declared in the meeting. Fortunately, facts and figures are stubborn, independently verifiable, and cannot be easily falsified in a double-entry system of accounting.
Link to FB Page
DWG city leaders receive a 2014 Turkey Award for misleading residents about XTO's use of water from Pappy Elkins Lake for frac water.
Jason Allen of local CBS 11 interviews several DWG citizens. DWG refused to speak with him.
We have received great interest from both the film and print media.
WFAA investigative reporter, David Schechter, visited Pappy Elkins and interviewed Steve Flowers. This is a great summary of the issues and Mr. Flowers notes the shortsightedness of using Pappy Elkins as a frac pond.
In the fall of 2014 XTO constructed a large green structure on the DWG pad site. In the November 2014 Regular Meeting of the City Council, we asked the council to provide information regarding the permit that was issued to XTO for the construction of the green building. Alderman Motley led the Council's response to our question and made the following points:
Mayor Tedder and Aldermen Piland, Loe, and Pettke confirmed Mr. Motley's summary of the July 24, 2012 meeting including their belief that the DWG Council had been deceived by XTO. Their comments are provided here:
In the recording you also heard Mayor Tedder promise to approach XTO and ask if the compressor can be moved and the green building removed from the pad site. This has not happened and we are disappointed that the culture of this DWG City Council is defined too often by empty promises to citizens.
With no action by the DWG City Council we undertook a fact finding exercise regarding the July 24, 2012 Council Meeting ("Purported Meeting"). We have uncovered an astonishing set of facts and documents that indicate that the Purported Meeting never occurred. City Attorney, Mr. Jim Jeffrey, has also produced billing records that are questionable and seem designed to support the unverifiable Purported Meeting. Council meetings are suppose to be recorded, timely documented and verifiable but none of these characteristics apply to the Purported Meeting. We addressed our concerns regarding the Purported Meeting to Alderman Motley since he was the chief spokesperson for the DWG Council in the November 2014 Council Meeting. Our letter to Alderman Motley along with copies of evidentiary documents is provided below. Mr. Motley, despite assurances that he would find answers to our questions, has provided no credible evidence that the Purported Meeting actually occurred.
Dear Mr. Motley – we are seeking your help with questions concerning the validity of Resolution 12-35(A) of the City of Dalworthington Gardens. This resolution, approved by you and three other members of the DWG City Council (“Council”), amended the drilling permit of XTO Energy (“XTO”) and, in part, allowed for the installation of a gas lift compressor and construction of a large permanent structure on the XTO gas well pad site adjacent to Pappy Elkins Lake.
Resolution 12-35(A) is dated July 24, 2012 – the day of a purported Special Meeting of the Council (“Purported Meeting”). Mr. Jeffrey claims to have drafted and executed this resolution on July 25, 2012. During the November 2014 Council Meeting, you outlined the Purported Meeting and referred to a presentation made to the Council by Walter Dueease, a senior executive of XTO who has appeared before the Council on numerous occasions over the last several years. A copy of Resolution 12-35(A) is provided here:
Our questions stem from the following chronology of events:
The minutes of the Purported Meeting state that the Council discussed the construction of a 43-foot by 23-foot building that would be 16 feet tall. However, you said in the November 2014 meeting that, according to Mr. Dueease’s presentation in the Purported Meeting, the building was to be below the 8-foot privacy wall surrounding the pad site. These purported minutes also do not contain a motion for adjournment - the only minutes published on DWG's website with this distinction.
As you can see, there is a clear disconnect between the Purported Meeting Minutes (written and posted three years late) which embody Resolution 12-35(A), and your statements made in the November 2014 council meeting.
Here are questions that we have for you based upon the specific sequence of events above:
1 – Will you vote for the adoption of the Purported Meeting Minutes?
Because the minutes were created April 1, 2015, they have not been voted on by the Council and are unofficial. This also means that XTO's revised drilling permit is invalid as a matter of law. As you know, the Council approves minutes of prior meetings each time the Council meets during a regular session. In the August 2012 council meeting, only the minutes of the July 19, 2012 Regular Meeting were voted on. No meeting since has considered the Purported Meeting minutes.
2 – Can you explain the odd "naming" of Resolution 12-35(A)?
Each time the Council votes on a matter a resolution is created. Resolutions are designated by year (i.e. 12 meaning 2012) and a sequence of numbers. In 2012, Resolution 12-36 was the first item voted on in the August 2012 Regular Meeting (Departmental Reports) and Resolution 12-35 was the last item voted on in the July 19, 2012 Regular Meeting (Executive Session Action).
3 – How did Mr. Jeffrey and all members of the Council “overlook” the Purported Meeting (July 24, 2012) when preparing the August 19, 2012 Council Meeting Agenda?
As you know, DWG’s city administrator (Melinda Brittain) prepares a draft agenda for each Council Meeting and distributes the same in advance to Mr. Jeffrey and the entire Council for comments. The agenda for the August 2012 Council Meeting included consideration of the minutes of the July 19, 2012 Regular Meeting but not the minutes of the Purported Meeting. See copy of the August 2012 DWG Council Meeting showing only the minutes of the July 19, 2012 Regular Meeting were considered: According to Mr. Jeffrey's legal billings, he drafted and signed Resolution 12-35(A) on July 25, 2012 - then on August 15, 2012 he reviewed and approved the council package for the August meeting that included minutes of the July 19, 2012 regular meeting but not the minutes of the July 24, 2012 Purported Meeting. Seems Mr. Jeffrey was grossly negligent in reviewing the August 2012 council package or his recently produced billing for the month of July 2012 is deliberately misleading.
When the Council conducts multiple meetings in a particular month, the minutes of each meeting are considered for adoption during the regular meeting the following month. For example, the agenda for the Regular Meeting in August 2014 included the minutes of three council meetings that occurred in July 2014 shown here:
We do not understand how the minutes of the Purported Meeting – a critical meeting for XTO and DWG – could have been excluded from the August 2012 meeting if in fact the meeting took place.
4 – Why is XTO’s Walter Dueease missing from the Purported Meeting Minutes?
You stated clearly that Mr. Dueease came before the Council in the Purported Meeting and made a presentation where he misled you and the entire Council. When Mr. Dueease presents to the council, as he did for example in the regular June 2014 and July 2014 Council Meetings, his presence and participation are reflected in the minutes. In fact, Mr. Dueease is noted in numerous Council meeting minutes as far back as 2007.
Following the November 2014 council meeting we were hopeful that Mayor Tedder and the Council would make good on promises made that evening – that XTO would be approached about relocating the gas lift compressor or replacing it with a cleaner and safer electric powered model. This has not happened. Instead, Mayor Tedder seems to have organized an obvious cover for XTO.
Without answers to the above questions, and in light of the few facts we are presented with, we can only reasonably ascertain that your comments in the November 2014 Council Meeting, Resolution 12-35(A) and Mayor Tedder's posting of Purported Meeting Minutes is a scheme to cover for XTO’s failure to follow the rules of our city. We are hoping to receive answers to the proposed questions in an attempt to gather more facts that will discredit what appears to be a shabby scheme, confirm if we have in fact been misled by our Council through incomplete information or if this was simply gross incompetence on the part of Mayor Tedder, Mr. Jeffrey, Messrs. Snodgrass, Pettke, Piland, Loe and you.
To recap – No meeting minutes, no meeting recording, no meeting notes, no bill from Mr. Jeffrey (that would indicate whether he attended the Purported Meeting), no participation by Walter Dueease, minutes posted that are invalid (unapproved), a resolution created years later and sandwiched between two preexisting resolutions thus requiring the use of a “letter" and a resolution without a date indicating when it was signed. And, somehow XTO was able to construct a large building in plain view of city hall without a requisite permit.
This shameful litany of facts is symptomatic of a culture of deceptive governance by this Council. We believe DWG citizens are entitled to receive, from you, Mayor Tedder and the other Alderman, informed and honest answers to these questions. If you do not have answers, we ask that you please use your best efforts to find answers. Otherwise, such questions will be added to a long list of ignored problems and unanswered questions – now a hallmark of your Council.
We look forward to hearing back from you promptly.