When last week’s campaign finance reports were published in the newspaper along with a list of all the donors to each campaign, T. Beck Gipson did a double take. He thought he was the only “Thomas Gipson” in Kerr County, but the article listed a Thomas Gipson as a donor to George Baroody’s campaign in the amount of $100. The entry shown on Baroody’s report indeed listed “Thomas Gipson” of 118 Bent Oak Lane as a $100 donor. See an excerpt of the report below, and find the full report here.
But T. Beck Gipson insists that he has never donated to Mr. Baroody’s campaign, and that he no longer resides at 118 Bent Oak Lane, having sold that property and moved to a new home in November. According to Gipson, no one resides at that address at this time because it is undergoing renovation. Further, in a letter to the Kerrville Daily Times, Mr. Gipson states that he is a long-time personal friend of Baroody’s opponent, Gary Cochrane.
In his letter, Mr. Gipson asks that the newspaper retract and correct the story, and also notes that he has forwarded the matter to the District Attorney for investigation “in the event that other such errors might confirm my suspicions about the unusual clerical error.” The letter is shown below. Fraudulent or false reporting could be a violation of the State Election Code.
What happened? We don’t know all of the facts yet, but in addition to the reporting above, here are some things we do know:
- George Baroody, a candidate for Place 1, acts as his own treasurer. He’s the only candidate to act as his or her own treasurer in this campaign.
- The report he filed on April 4 includes his signature affirming that, under penalty of perjury, all of the information is true and correct.
- Baroody claimed to have 18 financial contributors to his campaign — the fewest of all four candidates that filed for this period.
- Of the four candidates in the race, Baroody collected the least in donations for this reporting period.
- By March 7, the date listed for Gipson’s contribution, Gipson had not resided at the address listed since November 2018.
- The Kerrville Daily Times made multiple attempts to contact Baroody by phone and text on Monday but did not receive comment.
- The Kerrville Daily Times article on this subject is available at this link:
Takeaways & Commentary
Could this have simply been a clerical error? Certainly, and we should withhold final judgment until we know all of the facts. It’s certainly curious how something like this could happen on a candidate’s sworn report when that candidate has been scrupulously examining all of the City of Kerrville’s financial records and reports, and plans on making a presentation to the rest of council about the financial condition and debt positions of the city on Tuesday night. Again, at this time there is no evidence that suggests that this report was intentionally falsified or filed fraudulently, and we look forward to Mr. Baroody’s explanation.
This article was authored by Aaron Yates, founder of Kerrville United.