Fincannon clarifies allegations, Wichita Co. DA responds
WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Commissioner Mickey Fincannon held a press conference on Friday to discuss the recent feud with his predecessor Lee Harvey, saying that Wichita Co. DA John Gillespie’s decision to make a recent email public was forcing him to clarify allegations.
Fincannon read out a 5-page press release to media during the conference on Friday. He clarified that he had never actually filed a criminal complaint, but said he has received numerous complaints about his predecessor.
During the conference, Fincannon specified that he had two complaints. In the first, abuse of power, he said, “Mr. Harvey used Wichita County employees and equipment to do personal business for himself while on county time. I personally witnessed this myself and told investigators but had never made a formal complaint until now.”
Fincannon’s second complaint accused Harvey of falsifying documents as an elected official. Fincannon claimed that he had not learned about the issue until Wednesday, and said he had requested the allegations be investigated.
At the end of the press conference, Fincannon said he did not expect the allegations to be resolved before the election. He reiterated his stance that he had run a factual campaign, and said he was going to make the complaints directly to the appropriate agency regardless of the race’s outcome.
“In the past weeks this election campaign has become very tense, to say the least... Negativity was never my goal, and only the facts have been presented by me.”
Fincannon also stated that he was making the complaints public because of DA John Gillespie’s decision to include media on his request to Judge McKnight for independent counsel:
Wichita County DA John Gillespie released a statement shortly following the press conference, explaining that he had released the email for public transparency and indicating that he would not interact with the situation further than necessary.
The press conference was held by Fincannon after it was revealed on Thursday that he was exploring a possible criminal complaint against the former Commissioner for Precinct 2. An email from Fincannon to DA John Gillespie asked who to send the complaint to, given “all the current controversy involving any other investigations.” The Feb. 10 email asked Gillespie for a fast response, and Gillespie forwarded it in a message to Judge Jeff McKnight of the 30th District Court almost two hours after it was sent and received.
In his message to Judge McKnight, Gillespie asked that the two independent prosecutors he had requested on Feb. 9 be able to handle situations related to “any claims Commissioner Fincannon is now making, and any other criminal complaints/investigations relating to former Commissioner Harvey which may arise.” Gillespie had initially asked for independent prosecutors due to conflicts of interest.
While Fincannon did not refer to former Commissioner Lee Harvey by name in his email to Gillespie, the two men have been publicly feuding since Fincannon accused his predecessor of mismanaging county funds during his tenure as the Commissioner for Precinct 2. Harvey argued that the data had been misrepresented, and claimed the accusations were timed to coincide with the upcoming election.
The Wichita County Sheriff has also been involved in the dispute. Sheriff David Duke reportedly launched an investigation into allegations against Harvey. The former Commissioner said the sheriff overstepped boundaries and stated he would file an investigation against him for abuse of power.
Both Fincannon and Harvey are running for the Precinct 2 seat on the Wichita County Commissioner’s Court.
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