LA MARQUE — An investigation by a law firm hired by the city of La Marque concluded that Councilwoman Connie Trube did say she wanted to close the city library because only African-Americans used it.

In his report, Brian Begle, an attorney with the firm Olson & Olson, said the evidence gathered in the investigation “indicates that Trube did, in fact, make several statements regarding defunding the city library because it was used primarily by ‘blacks.’”

On Monday, Trube again denied making those statements and said she was not a racist.  

Allegations surface

The allegations first surfaced in sworn affidavits by former council candidate Deanna Bethea and her husband, James. In her affidavit, Deanna Bethea said she heard Trube say in regard to the library that “no one uses it but the damn (N-word)” and that the city was wasting money on the library.

In a recording made by James Bethea, Trube is heard talking about La Marque school board member Annie Burton, saying: “I hate to say this, but she really turned black.” Trube also says Burton helped “gang up” with others on the school board.

“That is why the school district went to hell,” Trube is recorded as saying.

The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas made the recordings and affidavits public and turned them over to the U.S. attorney.

In a meeting June 2, both Mayor Bobby Hocking and City Manager Carol Buttler said Trube told them on separate occasions in 2012 that she wanted to close the city library because only African-Americans used it.

Trube has denied making the comments and said she would not step down as some in the city have been calling for her to do.

At the June 2 meeting, the council voted to censure Trube for her remarks relating to the school board and approved the Olson & Olson investigation.

Evidence gathered

Begle said he was tasked with looking into the allegations concerning Trube’s comments about the library and to review the veracity of Deanna Bethea’s sworn statements.

Begle said he interviewed 11 people, watched two televised interviews with Trube, read the Betheas’ affidavits, listened to about two hours of recorded conversations from James Bethea and went over council minutes and videos of meetings in the process of his investigation.

A pattern established

Begle said while Trube strongly denies saying she would like to defund the library because African-Americans use it, four separate people said they heard her make that statement.

Begle said Buttler, Hocking and his wife, Pattie, and former City Clerk Zina Tedford all said they heard Trube make those remarks.

Begle wrote in his report that the recordings and television interviews “establish a pattern of inappropriate and racially insensitive statements by Trube.”

“Given the four corroborating witnesses, the pattern of behavior, it was my decision that there was evidence sufficient to show that this (statement) took place,” Begle said.

He also said there were no assertions in Deanna Bethea’s affidavit that could be disproved, and some were conclusively proven as true.

Begle said he also looked into the possibility of civil rights violations but said he found none. He looked into decisions on Section 8 housing, library funding and an ordinance banning basketball goals in the street, but did not find any civil rights violations, Begle said.

Conversation between council members

Trube continued to deny the allegations throughout the nearly hourlong discussion of the investigation Monday. She grew emotional at times as she recounted the times she had helped neighbors or city employees who were African-American.

She said she was not a racist and, instead, said she believed the allegations were all a ploy by the police union to attack her. Trube said there was racism within City Hall and said she would expose it at some point.

Trube said recorded comments about the La Marque school district trustees were taken out of context.

Councilman Keith Bell, the only African-American on the council, said it was important to have a conversation that could help deal with the hurt and angry emotions caused by the comments.  

“If you are saying to us that you didn’t mean these things, that they were taken out of context, then I think we need to hear from you truly what you meant and truly how you feel about African-American people,” Bell said.

When speaking about the school board, Trube said she was stating that the current trustees had failed the school district and a “new set of black people” on the school board was needed. She also said she worked for all the constituents in her district regardless of race.

But when Bell asked if Trube could see how her comments could have offended some and asked if she would be willing to offer an apology, Trube stopped short of a full apology.  

“If anyone did not understand what I was saying and they totally missed my point, yeah, I could apologize to those who were not capable of understanding my point,” Trube said.

After the meeting, Bell said he believed Trube truly believed her statements were not racist. But when pressed on what he thought of Trube’s comments, Bell said her words were hurtful to many.

“As an African-American, I believe what I heard on the tape was racist,” Bell said. “But we have to be proactive. We have to move forward.”

During the meeting, Bell said the council had done what it could to censure Trube and he would not ask her to step down. That was a question for voters in her district to ask, he said.

Bell instead asked for those in the city to work together and be positive and not resort to name calling and fighting each other.

“I’m not going to hate,” Bell said. “I’m going to follow the lessons I learned from Dr. Martin Luther King, and I’m going to try to positively resolve issues and heal our community so that we may move forward.”

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

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(20) comments

Walter Manuel

"“As an African-American, I believe what I heard on the tape was racist,” Bell said. “But we have to be proactive. We have to move forward.”

OK, Mr. Bell, since people in LM are so intolerant to using the word "black" then I suppose we should expect to see the city of LM and LMISD next February change and advertise "Black History Month" as "African American History Month"?

You can't have it both ways and expect any sort of "healing" as ya'll professed and you certainly can't play 2 sides from the middle like you did in tonight's council meeting when you were obviously playing to the audience's reaction when you kept drilling councilwoman Trube with rapid fire questions and throwing more salt into the wound and then with your next breath saying that "the city needs to move on and unite".

I don't recall you ever having any problem with Geraldine Sam or even questioning the "Mother Lode" of racism herself about being a racist after having Quannel X come to town threatening the citizens of LM several years ago when she was being thrown out of office?

I hear the term "blacks" and even other words not so nice being used all the time from my own African American friends calling me about the folks over at LMISD on a regular basis, so what councilwoman Trube said is exactly what some people in the African American community are simply thinking and believe, but they can't publically say themselves for fear of retaliation from their own community.

It's no secret that a group of African American friends spearheaded by Annie Burton did in fact stack our school board in order to fire Mr. Burley and Timothy Fields in retaliation so that they could hire back Russel Washington and their little game has now backfired on them and as a result is costing us OUR school district and has now flowed over to city hall.

The only way that we'll start that healing process that everyone kept mentioning in tonight's council meeting is for EVERYONE involved in this mess to agree to take a polygraph test and only then when the results are in can all of this be laid to rest. Without a polygraph obviously someone is trying to hide something from us and it very well may be the truth!

I am so done with the double standards in this podunk town and I'm sure I'm not alone in looking forward to the DOJ coming in and doing their own investigation that way somebody will eventually have to eat the can of worms that they intentionally opened up!

God bless what little is left of the city of LM....[sad]

JBG JBG

“I’m not going to hate,” Bell said. “I’m going to follow the lessons I learned from Dr. Martin Luther King, and I’m going to try to positively resolve issues and heal our community so that we may move forward.”
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Good for you Mr. Bell! I concur with your assessments here. Lets try to mend what's broken and move forward, together as much as situations and circumstances allows us to. I look forward to yall doing great things for this community while moving forward.
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It won't be easy, because there will most likely be some who don't want to go forward, but if it was EASY, there would probably be ninety-five year old grandmothers running for the job! So for sure all of you up there will have challenges, and I don't think you guys would have it any other way. God bless all of you and the City of LaMarque. I will be praying for you and the others. Lets go to work!!!!!!!!!!

Jake Feigle

In the special meeting of June 2, called by the Mayor was premature because the Mayor had only heard the allegations by the Betheas. Connie must have been convicted only by their words, because Connie was asked to resign by the Council. Word was sent out by the Council that anyone that wanted to address the issue when the closed session ended , must submit their request in writing. The problem with that was, only the people with the Betheas were told. Allegations had also been made about racism agaionst the City and the Fire Department. These allegations were not made by the
Betheas.Once again we were denied to tell our side of the story. The Council , l that night, hired the form of Olsen & Olsen to investigate the charges for la fee of $10,000, Only the charges against Connie were presented at the June 30 meeting. It seems that the kangaroo court was still in session..

Walter Manuel

At the end of the day, taxpayers are the one's ultimately out $10,000 and we still know everything that we knew before the investigation started and the DOJ will STILL be doing their own investigation.

So, seeing how nothing was either gained or changed for that matter, it was nothing more than smoke and mirrors from the very beginning....[whistling]

Theresa Bethea

Earlybird,,Missionary Man and Mike 55 aka Jake, Walter, and Connie, you really need to get a hobby and get over being so obsessed with us. Jake and Connie you were both sitting right there in the middle of all the "racist' conversations, laughing and joining in. You are both guilty You know the truth but you keep wanting to blame everyone else so you don't have egg on your face.
Let me assure you that I am not a liar and have nothing to lie about. Jake you claim you know of two lies I've told. Please be so kind as to share. I would love to know what you think I have lied about.As a matter of fact be a man and tell me face to face instead of turning your back and ignoring me when you see me like you did in the city hall parking lot during runoffs. Be sure you have the proof to back it up, also.
Let me clarify also that not once did the name Connie Trube ever come out of the police unions or Cleats mouth until after I took this information to them.
I am too much of a lady to stoop to the drama and bs that you and Walter Manuel like to spew on these blogs so read this with pleasure and clarity because it will be the only time you will see me respond.
You want me to take a polygraph? Then break your wallets out and pay for it. I'll sit in the same room your Councilwoman sits in. Oh wait...that would be a waste of money since the investigation has proven I was telling the truth, and that your girl Connie is a racist and a liar, right!!!
Since only the 3 or 4 of you are the ones on here running your mouth and stirring the pot, let me assure you that very few if anyone cares what you have to say.
I know who I am and I know what I stand for . I am also the type that could care less whether you like me or not, but rest assured when you brought my child into this you messed with the wrong momma. Walter do your homework and you will see that we live in the Santa Fe School district and pay our school taxes to them, therefore my son goes to school there. Don't run your mouth ever again about my son. Your not as smart or as liked as you might like to think you are!!
Be careful of what you say about me and my family because the first time you cross the line and it falls under slander, know for a fact I am going to be on each of you like a fly on stink and you will regret the day you started smearing my name.
Now you go and have a very blessed day, as I intend to do the same.

Jake Feigle

Lie number 1. You said Connie bad mouthed the Librarian. After she voted she came and talked to us, then went and talked to you When she left us every one of us said what a good job she doing. Not one bad thing was said about her. And Connie was in on that I doubt that she had a change of heart to say what you said she said. .. .How convenient for you to not have that on tape with all of the hours you said you had taped. Lie number 2. You said that Chris used his position on the planning board to deprive someone from getting what they requested. I was with Chris on every inspection, and his information to the rest of the board was what allowed by the ordinance. And for your information, the board can only make their recommendation to the Council. Here too, l with all of the hours you said you had , this too was not on the tape. Polygraph test are the only way the entire truth will come out. I have been saying this over and over, but I guess none of you want to find the truth.

Theresa Bethea

By the way, if your not smart enough to tell. The last post is by me, Deanna Bethea not Bubba.

Lois J Carelock

When a citizen signs up to speak at a city council meeting, and usually before they approach the podium, the mayor reads the paragraph under CITIZEN'S PARTICIPATION which includes:

"Personal attacks will not be allowed.......".

Unless my hearing is worse than I think it is, "personal attacks" against Councilwoman Trube were allowed last night. Another "double standard"? Shame.

Lois J Carelock

And let me add: "Personal attacks" were made, not only by the citizens speaking last night, but also by elected representatives of this community.

Double shame.

Walter Manuel

Deanna, it woldl take you and a whole army of people to discredit what I say, your actions alone proved your own worth and true character. Only a sore loser waits to present resent all of this evidence only after she LOSS pathetically by a landslide.

It was all politically motivated and you can go tell your lies to those who are too weak and want to believe otherwise. The information that you have provided has only proven HALF of what you claim, so don't start spewing off that you were vindicated in the end. The other half of what you alleged to have happened remains just as questionable as to why you got involved in all of this in the first place when no one had ever even heard of you before running for office?

Go ahead and live with the reputation that you created for yourself, now that's your monster that you personally created not me.

As far as "your child" goes, I said if you wanted to help LMISD, then why does your child attend SFISD? Parents have options as to where they choose to send their child to be educated, obviously you yourself don't feel that LMISD is good enough to educate your child or perhaps there's other underlying reasons that you would rather not discuss because then your TRUE colors would then show through?

So, Deanna you see, you've been exposed for the woman that you are truly are by your own actions and now you want others to pay for the polygraphs to prove that we're telling the truth and that you indeed lied? I don't think so!

Take the polygraph test and pay for it yourself, your battle to tear down our city obviously mean't more to you than a measly couple hundred dollars out of your pocketbook to prove your own true credibility. Otherwise, it's still just "he said/she said" from a sore loser.

I intend on having a blessed day and you do as well Mrs. Deanna Bethea.[wink]

Walter Manuel

Your right again Very Aware, personal attacks were allowed during last nights meeting, as well as, outbursts from the crowd who attended.

If my memory serves me correctly when Geraldine Sam was mayor she once had 2 citizens escorted out of the meeting when they spoke out after she requested that they not speak from the audience.

Wonder why this didn't happen in last nights meeting? Seems double standards is becoming a standard in LM these days?

Walter Manuel

Ooops! That should be, "Only a sore loser waits to present all of this evidence only after she LOSS pathetically"....

JBG JBG

Why don't you go take a polygraph Mr. Earlybird/Bull Connors? You can let the operator use all the questions I asked you previously on this forum! You know all those you keep talking over, avoiding, and won't answer, just like a wannabee shotcaller would do.
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I note you still won't explain what TURNING BLACK MEANS? Talk to me!!!!! If I'm BLACK or even African-American, how could I get elected and then TURN BLACK or AFRICAN-American? That bothers me!!! I need you to tell me what that really means!!!!!! I would imagine others would like to know too!!!!!!!!!
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Tell us about that apology, a couple of years ago you made on this forum for unbecoming remarks, but said the other day, I must've been smoking dope out of pipe? Did you apologize on this forum when I asked you to, "I think I called you DEACON" when I asked you to apologized! Tell the people about that!!!
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I can't hear youuuuuuuu!!!!! Speak a little louder Mr. Elder of the Church. I'm thinking about coming over there Sunday and listening in on those Sunday School lessons!

Jake Feigle

I did nor say that statement you are asking about someone turning black. If al of the peoples will tale the polygraph test first, as it should be, then I will be glad to take one.

Jake Feigle

JBG, Do you draw these things out of a hat, or do you really come up with them yourself? Either way, you are not very good at it. You need to find some new toys to play with.

JBG JBG

Earlybird/Bull Connors,
You know what your problem is? Your big unrestricted mouth! You don't know when to SHUT UP! Your mouth is what got you into this mess your are currently in now! Standing up big time impersonating a Christian on a city parking lot telling OFFCOLORED jokes and stories about minorities and then maligning, and ranting on endlessly about people for catching you on tape! If I was eighty years old, I think I would be living a more truthful life than lying publicly about things I should've known better than to lie about.
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You claimed I reached in a hat just to grab stuff! Did I make up your parking lot conversation? Did I grab that out of a hat? Did I make up that this was not the first time you've been caught doing this sort of thing? That leads me to believe this kind of stuff is common in your life! You apologized before, a couple years back for this SAME type stuff, and you know it! I was the one who asked you to do so and YOU know that too! You won't even address the question and every time I bring it up. You want to sidestep answering it BECAUSE you know you did it. There are others who knows you did it too,...and who posts on this forum even today!
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Now you come back with this pathetic attempt to salvage some measure of credibility with the voters and constituents here, and probably any church members who might be monitoring these forums observing your escapades! My guess is you are now feeling the guilt and condemnation coming from the same DEVIL who deceived you into participating in that now, notorious parking lot conversation in the first place! That is the same thing he did to JUDAS ISCARIOT. He trick him and then condemned him for doing what he tricked him into doing, ( selling Jesus for thirty pieces of silver!) Fool did not even ask for GOLD!
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Hey you get no sympathy here my friend, YOU RUN WITH THE DEVIL, YOU FALL WITH HIM TOO! Talk about NOT being good, I question why anyone would allow you to hang out around City Hall anyway, trying to be a SHOTCALLER? You are a political liability, and even if you were not, YOU certainly are now! Some ShotCaller! You could not even get your own friend recalled, YOU did not have the JUICE, so you bungled that job up too! So you decided if you could not beat her YOU would JOIN her! That about right? Stand up like a WANNABE SHOTCALLER....and answer my questions, all of them! ( He won't).
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I still maintain YOUR BIG MOUTH cost Mr. Osteen at least 2-3 minority votes, from what happened on that parking lot, and then afterwards your constant ranting on this forum maligning people for catching the conversation on tape! Not only that, you made another mistake by continuing to downplay Mr. lane, and his prior experience, when not one candidate to my knowledge who is presently ON THAT SAME COUNCIL HAD EXPERIENCE BEFORE THEY "FIRST" GOT THERE!!!!! If there was a calculated mistake Mr. Osteen made in handling his run for office, I'd say it had to be having YOU and your MOUTH on his side! If that had not happened he would likely be District B Councilman today!
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How an I doing with this? Am I doing all right? Amen! Let me put some more on this impostor!
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Just like I said, YOU DON'T KNOW WHEN TO SHUT YOUR MOUTH! Please explain how you are going to be an asset on any future candidate's team with all the baggage you are carrying? If anyone gets foggy about who and what you represent, don't worry about it!!! Old JBG will be around to remind any and everybody about your pathetic credentials and all the negative aspects you will bring to their team! Among them, a big uncontrolled mouth, who has the propensity to go off anytime and saying anything! You really need to go seek some sort of therapy for these problems, especially the humanitarian ones. I realize you are burdened with the spirit of "BIG" "BULL" Connors from ALABAMA, but that is no excuse! A spirit only controls those who allows them to control them! You might want to use that tidbit in your sermon Sunday! God help those who are listening to you!
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Walter Manuel

I received a call from several people today asking me if Councilwoman Trube's civil rights had not actually been violated during this investigation when the city was supposed to hire an "impartial" source and yet hired their own city's attorney who no doubt interjected their own opinion into their findings?

I suppose it's well worth Councilwoman Trube looking into it? [whistling]

Walter Manuel

That should be, "and yet hired the city's own "law firm"...[wink]

Cynthia Bell-Malveaux

Stop...everybody

Paul Steele

Love...love U all, please can we just get along and move on 😍

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