Now that he’s resigned, former constable says he’ll turn one of his hobbies into a future career
An auto mechanic, a paint and body repairman, a plumber or an electrician those are some of the jobs former gay Dallas County Constable Mike Dupree is considering taking now that his 27-year law enforcement career is in ruin.
Dupree, who last week reached a settlement agreement with Dallas County and the Texas Attorney General’s office to resign and plead guilty to one Class A misdemeanor charge of abuse of official capacity to avoid a civil jury trial and criminal prosecution, said he plans to turn one of his “hobbies” into a source of income in the private sector.
“I’ve made a list of ideas and opportunities,” said Dupree in a telephone interview this week. “I’ll look at it. I think I deserve a little rest and relaxation for a little while. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Dupree said he would not rule out trying to put his law enforcement experience to use in the private sector as a private investigator or some similar profession, but it would have to wait until after he completes one year of probation in connection with the guilty plea. The terms of his agreement stipulate that he must give up his peace officer license and never seek elected office in Texas again.
In return, Dupree will receive deferred adjudication and serve no time if he successfully completes probation, performs 24 hours community service and pays a $500 fine.
The plea deal was approved in County Court No. 9 on Tuesday, July 2, according to Dupree’s attorney, John Weddle.
“It’s done,” Weddle said. “We’re through.”
Weddle said Dupree agreed to plead guilty to using employees in his office to work on his campaign on county time.
Weddle said the allegation, which surfaced in an independent personnel investigation ordered by county officials, was bogus but Dupree agreed to the plea deal to put the matter behind him.
The Commissioners Court has appointed Constable Derick Evans of Precinct 1 to run the Precinct 5 office until the court appoints a permanent replacement.
Dupree’s resignation, which was given to County Judge Jim Foster in a handwritten letter on June 29, ends a six-month standoff between him and the Commissioners Court. Two members of the court, Commissioners Kenneth Mayfield and John Wiley Price, had repeatedly called for the former constable’s resignation since a story was published last year in the Dallas Observer about Dupree’s alleged involvement with a 20-year-old Honduran native who was deported.
After more reports by the Observer and the Dallas Voice about Dupree’s alleged involvement with the Honduran man and his reported attraction to other young Latino men, several of his employees filed personnel complaints against the constable alleging sexual harassment. Other employee complaints followed, alleging official corruption by Dupree.
Although Dupree repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, the former constable said this week he resigned to protect himself, his ailing mother and sister and the taxpayers’ resources. If Dupree continued to fight the growing number of employees turning on him, he might risk felony conviction and it would waste taxpayer’s money to prosecute him, the former constable said.
“It’s a difficult thing to admit that you did something you didn’t do to plead guilty to something you didn’t do,” Dupree said. “But I had no recourse. I’m not going to jail for something I didn’t do.”
The Commissioners Court planned to increase the cash bond he was required to post as an elected official to a six-figure sum, Dupree noted.
“That would have been out of my means so I would have been removed from office anyway for failure to maintain a bond,” Dupree said. “This was a carefully planned and executed series of events that happened.”
Dupree’s critics on the Commissioners Court have denied that there was a conspiracy to remove him from office. The commissioners, who denied being anti-gay, said they had an obligation to pursue a case against Dupree because of the employee’s allegations and the liability they posed to the county.
Unfortunately for Dupree, it appears only his relatives and a handful of his closest friends believe his story. The Dallas Morning News published an editorial this week lambasting county and state officials for allowing Dupree to avoid serving time behind bars.
In reaching that opinion, the newspaper cited the independent personnel investigation by retired Judge Maryellen Hicks, of Fort Worth, that was recently released substantiating the allegations against Dupree. The report also led to the Dallas County Democratic Party and Stonewall Democrats of Dallas suggesting it might be time for Dupree to resign.
In response to the report, Dupree said he was surprised by the results of Hicks’ investigation which portrayed the former constable as an ineffective public official who had terrorized his employees by sexually harassing them and ordering them to commit crimes because he thought she believed the employees had conspired against him. The former constable said he presented evidence to Hicks that showed the employees filed the complaints after he disciplined them for violations of department policy.
Dupree said he had ordered the employees to quit working part-time jobs at strip jobs that paid them up to $5,000 per month extra because of safety concerns.
“When you start messing with people’s money, they get very vengeful,” Dupree said.
Dupree noted that although many people have abandoned him over the past few months, some remain supportive.
“I’ve got a lot of phone calls from people who say that they believe in me because I ran such a good office for six years,” Dupree said.
Dupree said he was honored to have served the taxpayers of Dallas County, but he wants no further involvement in politics or law enforcement even if that were possible.
“If this is the direction of the way our land is going to go politics are going to infiltrated and corrupted and so forth then I don’t want any part of it,” Dupree said.
“What I’m going to do is get back into the private sector, work and make an honest living like I always have.”
Dupree said he suspects his name will one day be cleared because the FBI is investigating allegations of corruption against some of his former employees who are accused of shaking down undocumented immigrants during traffic stops and for other wrongdoing.
Those employees banned against him and fabricated allegations, he said.
“There will be something come down the line, and let’s hope justice is served,” Dupree said. “It’s going to catch up with them. All of these people will start snitching off on each other about what happened.”
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, July 6, 2007.