OK, so apparently Dallas County Constable Mike “King of the Latin Lovers” Dupree wants to throw down with one of the Dallas Observer’s reporters by peddling a malicious little lie. Fine. Apparently Dupree never heard the adage “don’t pick fights with people who buy ink by the barrel.” That little rule must be kept in the same book that says “don’t use your badge to get your ex-lover deported.” Someone should buy Dupree a copy of that book -- for Father’s Day, perhaps.
So what’s the battle about, you ask? Here is a post on the Web site of the Turtle Creek Democrats, a group led by Geoff Staples, who is Dupree’s campaign advisor. As you can see, it suggests that Observer reporter Matt Pulle -- who has been breaking news about Dupree’s sexual and political peccadilloes and the various agencies investigating him -- left some vulgar, harassing voice mails on the phone of former Deputy Constable Jim Gilliand in February.
It cites an Ellis County sheriff’s report -- which, coincidentally, was faxed to the Dallas Voice. How do we know that? Because last week Pulle, Observer Editor Julie Lyons and I met with Gilliand, Voice Editor Tammye Nash and reporter David Webb. Dupree was urging Webb to write a story about the report, Webb told us. Unfortunately for the constable, his campaign advisor doesn’t edit the Voice, which employs real reporters and editors.
The six of us listened to Gilliand’s tape of his voice mails. Here’s the deal: There are a half-dozen poor-quality messages on the tape, all anonymous, all coming from a blocked number. None sound like Pulle, at least to our ears. Some refer to Gilliand as a “fat ass” or suggest he fellate Dupree. (We wouldn’t call Gilliand a fat ass, but he’s definitely not a trim Latino male in his 20s looking for a father figure, which may be why he and Dupree don’t get along.) After the last harassing message, there’s another call. No message on that one, but the caller’s number wasn’t blocked. It was from Pulle. Got it?
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Imagine you get six obscene voice mails. Then you get a seventh call, this time from your mother. She doesn’t leave a message, but you see her number on caller ID. If you’re dumb enough to assume that it was your mother leaving the nasty anonymous calls, then congratulations: You’re dumb enough to qualify as an investigator for the Ellis County sheriff.
See, not being highly skilled sheriff’s deputies or sleazy political hacks, we actually did some investigating. We listened to the tape of the messages -- something Staples didn’t feel was necessary. We talked with Gilliand -- again, something Staples didn’t bother to do. We even got Pulle’s phone records from Cingular, something the phone company tells us the Ellis County investigator didn’t do, though his report says he did. According to those records, Pulle made a call of 60 seconds or less to Gilliand on the day the harassing calls happened. A minute later, Gilliand called Pulle back, and they spoke for 13 minutes. That was one of several times Gilliand called Pulle over the ensuing weeks. Kind of an odd action for the man called “fat ass” if he believed it was Pulle harassing him, dontcha think?
We still have some questions, of course: For instance, why didn’t Ellis County seek a subpoena to get the number of the harassing calls unblocked? Is that technically possible? Who in the sheriff’s office was shopping this report around to Dupree? Exactly what did the sheriff’s office do to investigate this allegation? How common is it for them to put a “suspect’s” (hah) name and phone number in the public section of an offense report?
Questions, questions, questions. We’ll try to answer those in a news story in next week’s print edition, which we’ll start on once our company’s lawyer gets done making a few calls. We hadn’t planned to do that, since the report was so obviously bogus, but now with Staples slinging the mud, Pulle is rightfully concerned about his reputation. Frankly, given some of the claims made about Dupree in sworn affidavits, we’re a little worried the Pulle might suddenly find himself arrested for possessing drugs he didn’t know he had. Stranger things have happened. Oh, and Mr. Staples, we’ll at least try to be thorough, fair and factual. --Patrick Williams