Could this scandal possibly get any worse?
“Is anything going on with Dupree this week?”
That was my editor on Monday morning asking me what stories I would be working on this week.
“Hopefully, nothing,” said I with a great amount of sincerity.
I frankly couldn’t imagine what more could happen until there is some sort of resolution of the different actions already under way against gay Constable Mike Dupree. He is the subject of an independent internal personnel investigation ordered by the Dallas County Commissioners Court, a petition filed in Dallas County District Court by three employees in an attempt to remove him from office and a criminal investigation by State Attorney General Greg Abbot’s office.
By mid-week I thought we were about to make it through this issue without a story about Dupree, but I got blindsided.
I went to Mama’s Daughters’ Diner on Wednesday, April 11, for lunch and picked up a copy of the latest Dallas Observer. I perused the menu, ordered, started thumbing through the Observer, took a swallow of iced tea and started choking.
There staring back at me was a picture of Dupree and the headline, “The hits keep coming; yet another deputy alleges misdeeds by Constable Mike Dupree.”
I couldn’t believe it. Although he has not been charged with any crimes, Dupree already has been accused of ordering his deputies to arrest an alleged former boyfriend in order to have him deported to Honduras, sexually harassing several male employees and coercing an unwilling gay employee into publicly supporting him.
I didn’t think this tale could get any more twisted.
I was wrong.
The Observer reported that Dupree’s longtime deputy, Les Willie, had joined the melee against the constable. It was stunning news.
This was the deputy Dupree lavished praise on for his service to the community. I’ve interviewed Willie and quoted him praising the constable. I’ve taken pictures of Dupree giving Willie a commendation. I’ve seen the two sitting together over lunch in restaurants in Oak Cliff. I thought he was Dupree’s sidekick.
But there it was in black and white a quote from the affidavit that Willie signed against Dupree: “Constable Dupree, on several occasions, instructed me to take narcotics (cocaine) out of the property room and make traffic stops with the intent to plant these illegal drugs on his campaign opponents, Jaime Cortes, Kenneth Hines and Domingo Garcia,” according to the Observer.
Willie claimed that Dupree had ordered him to use his patrol assault rifle to fire shots into the constable’s personal car so a report could be filed with the Dallas Police Department claiming a political opponent shot at him.
Willie backed up other employees’ claims that Dupree has a fixation on young Latino males and will do just about anything to turn his fantasies into reality.
Dupree has remained silent in the media about all of the allegations against him, but two lawyers and a relative have steadfastly maintained his innocence.
His latest lawyer, John Weddle, called all of the allegations against Dupree “lies,” according to the Observer.
Weddle vowed the constable could prove his innocence through the introduction of notes and tape recordings. He asked, Why has Willie never filed a complaint with the public integrity division of the Dallas District Attorney’s office when the constable ordered him to commit illegal acts?
“The reason why he didn’t is because it didn’t happen,” Weddle said.
The two lawyers and Dupree’s sister, Michele Dupree Klaes, contend Dupree has done nothing wrong.
They claim he is the victim of a plot conceived by his employees, in part, in retaliation for Dupree ordering them not to moonlight at nightclubs after a deputy was shot working as a security guard last year. His sister who provided the information to Dallas Voice in a letter to the editor said she thinks it also may be a plot by Republicans to get Democrats.
To Dupree’s credit, he still has some strong supporters in the LGBT community who believe he is innocent and being framed. They believe the constable is incapable of the atrocities of which he has been accused.
One community activist, P.D. Sterling, told me recently that he plans to take the witness stand on Dupree’s behalf as a character witness if the constable goes to trial and “tell them how the cow ate the corn.” Another activist, Grant Kinser, has twice taken me to task for my reporting about Dupree’s problems.
From my standpoint, I don’t think I’ll be surprised by anything that develops in the coming months pointing either to Dupree’s guilt or to his innocence.
There’s only one of three things I feel sure about: either Dupree is one of the most corrupt politicians ever to be elected to office, he is completely crazy or he is the victim of one of the most diabolical, well-orchestrated conspiracies ever to be conceived by a group of subordinates.
Which of these three is the truth, has yet to be proven.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 13, 2007