His partner claims charges stem from anti-gay bias, say indictment has left Dobbs ‘disgraced’ and ‘financially destroyed’
David Webb | Contributing Writer
SEVEN POINTS — The pending prosecution of gay former Mayor Joe Dobbs by the Henderson County District Attorney has left the official disgraced and financially destroyed, according to his life partner, Michael Tayem.
Dobbs submitted a letter of resignation to the Seven Points City Council late last week, relinquishing his duties as both mayor and chief of the city’s volunteer fire department. According to Joey Dauben, publisher of the EllisCountyObserver.com, some sources are saying that Dobbs was forced out of the volunteer fire department after news broke about the indictments.
Tayem, a former Seven Points police officer who has lived with Dobbs in a committed relationship for several years, said Dobbs was fired from his job as a juvenile probation officer with the Texas Youth Commission in Rockwall after he was indicted on Aug. 19 by a Henderson County grand jury.
Dobbs was indicted on a felony charge of assault on a public servant and misdemeanor charges of official oppression and interference with public duties.
“It’s been horrible,” Tayem said. “It’s left us in ruin and struggling to make ends meet. He was the primary source of income for us.”
Tayem was also indicted on a misdemeanor charge of interference with public duties in connection with the same alleged incident on Aug. 16.
The district attorney reportedly told the grand jury that Dobbs and Tayem had interfered with an investigator from his office who was attempting to serve a subpoena at Seven Points City Hall in connection with an ongoing investigation of Dobbs’ administration as mayor.
Tayem had been on suspension from the Seven Points Police Department since May when a citizen filed a complaint with the Henderson County District Attorney alleging that he was the victim of police brutality at Tayem’s hands.
Through Tayem, Dobbs has declined to be interviewed in connection with the charges pending against him until his attorney advises him to do so.
In a statement relayed through Tayem, Dobbs said he believes the indictments were an act of retaliation because of his complaint to the district attorney three weeks ago that the same investigator had engaged in official oppression against a member of the Seven Points City Council. That council member submitted a written statement detailing what the investigator had said to her, Tayem said.
Dobbs said in the statement he also believes the initial investigation of his administration and the indictments were motivated by anti-gay bias.
“We can’t think of any other reason for it,” Tayem said.
In a telephone interview this week, Henderson County District Attorney Scott McKee denied that his office was motivated by anti-gay bias or retaliation.
He noted his office continues to investigate the city of Seven Points in connection with another law enforcement agency, but he declined to identify the agency, which is widely believed to be the FBI because of the federal agency’s presence in the city during a previous mayoral administration.
“That is a patently false statement by him,” said McKee in regard to Dobbs’ claim. “His sexuality has absolutely nothing to do with the investigation.”
McKee said he believes that the evidence in connection with the alleged incident on Aug. 16 merits the indictments.
City Secretary Dru Haynes said in an interview this week that the City Council had called a meeting for Sept. 2 to accept Dobbs’ resignation and to decide what to do next.
“The day-to-day business of the city is going on without interruption,” Haynes said.
Dobbs’ resignation marks the conclusion of his tumultuous tenure as mayor. Controversy began immediately after he was elected in a landslide more than a year ago.
For almost a year, three members of the City Council who had supported Dobbs’ opponent in the election boycotted council meetings and refused to resign.
With a failure to establish a quorum each month for the City Council to conduct business, Dobbs said he was forced to run the city on his own with the advice of the city attorney. That apparently led to the investigation of his administration by other law enforcement agencies.
After city elections this past spring, the City Council had begun establishing quorums again and meeting regularly.
Dobbs had ran on a campaign of restoring integrity to the city after the former mayor, a municipal judge and a council member were indicted on corruption charges following an FBI investigation of the city.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 2, 2011.