Dobbs resigns 7 Points mayoral post After being indicted on assault charge

His partner claims charges stem from anti-gay bias, say indictment has left Dobbs ‘disgraced’ and ‘financially destroyed’

HAPPIER TIMES | Joe Dobbs, left, and his partner, Michael Tayem, right, celebrate with a supporter after Dobbs was elected in a landslide as mayor of Seven Points.

David Webb  |  Contributing Writer
davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com

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.

—  Michael Stephens

UPDATE: Gay Seven Points mayor resigns, says his indictment stems from anti-gay bias

Seven Points Mayor Joe Dobbs, left, and his partner Michael Tayem with one of Dobbs’ supporters following his election last year.

Gay Seven Points Mayor Joe Dobbs has submitted a letter of resignation after being indicted on criminal charges in connection with an alleged incident at the Cedar Creek Lake city’s municipal building on Aug. 16, according to a statement released to Dallas Voice.

Dobbs’ life partner, suspended Seven Points police officer Michael Tayem, relayed a prepared statement from the mayor during a brief telephone interview Friday afternoon. Tayem, who also was indicted in connection with the alleged incident, said the mayor could not provide any additional information until he consults with his attorney.

In the statement, Dobbs attributes his legal problems to “retaliation” and anti-gay discrimination.

“The charges appear to be retaliation in response to a criminal offense I reported,” Dobbs said in the statement. “We think a lot of it is also related to my being gay. We can’t think of any other reason.”

Tayem said Dobbs resigned because he could no longer justify the stress.

“Joe put in a letter of resignation because it is not worth the stress anymore,” Tayem said. “After everything we’ve done, it’s just not worth it anymore.”

—  admin

Gay Seven Points mayor, partner indicted

Seven Points Mayor Joe Dobbs, left, and his partner Michael Tayem with one of Dobbs’ supporters following his election last year.

Charges reportedly stem from altercation at City Hall between Dobbs, Tayem and an investigator for the DA

DAVID WEBB  |  Contributing Writer
editor@dallasvoice.com

SEVEN POINTS — Gay Mayor Joe Dobbs and his life partner, suspended police officer Michael Tayem, have been indicted by a Henderson County grand jury on criminal charges in connection with an alleged incident at the Seven Points City Hall on Aug. 16.

Charges of assault on a public official, official oppression and interference with public duties were filed against Dobbs, 36, on Aug. 19, and a charge of interference with public duties was filed against Tayem, 29, on the same day, according to Henderson County judicial records.

Assault on a public official is a third-degree felony; official oppression is a class A misdemeanor and interference with public duties is a class B misdemeanor.

Judicial records show warrants for the arrests for Dobbs and Tayem are now closed. District Judge Dan Moore of 173rd District Court set bond for Dobbs at a total of $13,500 for his three charges and $1,000 for Tayem’s one charge, according to published reports.

The charges reportedly stemmed from an altercation Dobbs and Tayem had with an investigator for the Henderson County District Attorney, who was serving a grand jury subpoena in connection with an ongoing investigation of city business being conducted with another law enforcement agency.

Additional charges reportedly may be brought against the Seven Points officials at a later date. The ongoing investigation has focused on allegations that city contracts were negotiated improperly by Dobbs and Tayem, who was in a management position on the police force before his suspension.

The criminal charges follow more than a year of controversy since Dobbs was elected in a landslide. He promised in his campaign to return integrity to the city of Seven Points on Cedar Creek Lake after several high-ranking city officials were indicted and convicted on criminal charges. An FBI investigation led to the prosecution of the former city officials, which included the former mayor, a municipal judge and a city council member.

After his election, Dobbs managed city business on his own for a year after several members of the City Council boycotted meetings, preventing a quorum. The dissenting council members had supported Dobbs’ opponent in the election.

Since Dobbs was elected, the city has seen two police chiefs terminated. One was fired by Dobbs and the other reportedly was asked to resign.  The current police chief reportedly was also asked to resign recently and refused.

Dobbs, who is also chief of the city’s volunteer fire department, allegedly tried to pressure Police Chief Curt Koger into resigning because Dobbs was angry about a police report detailing a citizen’s complaint that Tayem had ridden a motorcycle through a neighborhood at a high rate of speed with red lights and a siren sounding, according to the Cedar Creek Pilot.

Dobbs reportedly asked Tayem to join him and help put out a fire.

Tayem was suspended from the police force in May after a citizen filed a complaint claiming that he was abused by the police officer while being jailed. That complaint has also been under investigation by state and federal law enforcement agencies.

Tayem managed Dobbs’ campaign for mayor, calling himself Dobbs’ “bulldog.”

Dobbs said in an interview after his election that although he won the office by a large margin, a small group had tried to use his sexual orientation against him during the campaign. He claimed a former city official called him a “queer bitch” in a public setting.

—  John Wright

CEDAR CREEK LAKE: Gay Kemp officials leave office; Seven Points council may finally meet

Openly gay Seven Points Mayor John “Joe” Dobbs, left, and his former partner Michael Tayem, right, are shown with a supporter.

Openly gay Kemp Mayor Matt Ganssle, who won the office in the Cedar Creek Lake town two years ago, was defeated by a challenger in a 97 to 26 vote last week. Ganssle’s colleague on the council, openly gay Councilman Jerry Hazelip, did not run for re-election, so he was also replaced by a newcomer.

Gannsle and Hazelip reportedly were both fatigued by the resistance of oldtimers in the community toward any progressive ideas they put forth. Ganssle apparently did not put up any campaign signs or do much else in an attempt to get re-elected.

In Seven Points, openly gay Mayor Joe Dobbs, who was elected one year ago, may finally be able to preside over a functioning city council as newly elected council members take office. For the past year, several incumbent council members, including one who owns the Dairy Queens in both Seven Points and Kemp, refused to attend meetings or to resign after Dobbs’ election. That led to no quorums and no meetings.

Dobbs, who won office by a landslide despite his opponents’ gay-bashing tactics, has run city business mostly on his own for the past year, relying on the advice of the city attorney to keep the city afloat. The city had been nearly paralyzed already by an FBI investigation and felony indictments of a former municipal judge, the former mayor and a former councilman on corruption charges.

—  admin

Must’ve at least been a Freudian slip: Cedar Creek newspaper headline links gay mayor to ‘shack up’

A Cedar Creek Lake newspaper headline accompanying a story quoting gay Seven Points Mayor Joe Dobbs caused just about everybody’s jaw to drop recently.

The Cedar Creek Pilot headline read, “Seven Points Police Department has shack up.” Absolutely no one in the small community about 60 miles southeast of Dallas believes that the headline on the story was a mere mistake. At the very least, it’s being viewed as a Freudian slip, if not an outright attack on the mayor and his life partner, who is a Seven Points police officer.

In the story the mayor was interviewed about four vacant positions on the police force. Dobbs’ partner, Michael Tayem, who is currently on administrative leave, is a subject of the story. A complaint against Tayem is reportedly under investigation by outside law enforcement agencies.

The newspaper’s Web site carried the same story with the headline, “Seven Points Police Department has shake up.” An e-mail to the publisher of the Athens Daily Review, who supervises the Cedar Creek Pilot’s publication, failed to gain a response about the headline. No correction of the headline was observed in the next edition of the weekly newspaper.

—  admin