Wayne Dolcefino Investigates CEIDC

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

CROCKETT – The Messenger has learned famed investigator Wayne Dolcefino and his company have been brought in by concerned residents to look into the matters regarding Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation. (CEIDC)

Representatives from Dolcefino’s company contacted this newspaper after coming across the articles and information over the past several years pertaining to both CEIDC and the ongoing investigation into its practices and policies. 

Dolcefino worked for nearly 27 years at Houston television station ABC13 KTRK, heading up their undercover investigation unit, exposing public corruption, wasted taxpayer money, government malfeasance and fraud. Dolcefino is one of the nation’s most decorated journalists over his long career, garnering thirty Emmy Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, five Charles Green Awards, an Edward R. Murrow award, a Jack Howard Award for investigative reporting, numerous honors from the Associated Press and Texas Association of Broadcasters, and an unprecedented three medals from the international journalism organization Investigative Reporters and Editors.

According to company documents, Dolcefino Consulting is “an investigative media consulting firm, hired by companies, law firms, private citizens and taxpayers to expose injustice, fraud, and abuse of power. Our mission is simple. Set the record straight.”

CEIDC Executive Director James Gentry was recently voted back to work, after a year and a half on paid administrative leave, following troublesome findings during a forensic audit released in January, 2023. Although the newly-elected Crockett City Council voted to put Gentry back to work and confirmed this decision in their role as interim CEIDC board members, it is unclear if Gentry has officially returned to work. The Messenger has learned the CEIDC office remains locked and closed at the present time. 

Shortly before press time, Dolcefino himself contacted this reporter to clarify his take on the situation. 

“We’re hired all over the country to investigate questions of corruption, fraud, injustice – from the court system to governments. We’re involved in investigations of rogue government agencies, especially economic development corporations,” Dolcefino said. “We’re in San Benito right now investigating the economic development corporation there. We’ve investigated the economic development corporations in Dickinson and in Kemah in recent months. They are the source of a lot of problems.”

Dolcefino worries Crockett city council may have made a mistake in putting Gentry back to work. 

“(Gentry) has a big, giant dark cloud over him, and I think it was a horrible mistake to bring him back. Right or wrong – if all the allegations are true, if some of them are and some of them aren’t – once someone has that bad of a reputation, it just hurts the town for them to stay in that position, and we’re coming into investigate,” Dolcefino said. “And if this is simply a matter of racial politics, if council members voted to give someone back their job just because he’s got the same skin color as they do, then that’s the kind of stuff that’s going to destroy this country. It’s nonsense. I hope it’s not that. I hope it’s not a question of race. But it doesn’t matter so much whether someone is corrupt or just incompetent – incompetence is enough to get you booted. It should be enough to get you booted.”

It is not known what outcome an investigation by Dolcefino’s company will have on the ongoing investigation, public sentiment, or indeed, outside perception of Crockett and the potential for businesses to come and establish themselves here. 

According to Messenger sources, the next city council meeting is set for later this month and may well clear up some of the confusion surrounding CEIDC, such as the actual status of Gentry and if he is back on the job and any changes or modifications which may be adopted to better control its internal bookkeeping and operations. 

There was confusion among some residents over Gentry’s status, given that his employment contract was not renewed after it expired last year. Gentry is a city employee and needs no official contract to continue working as a city employee. Employment contracts such as Gentry’s are offered to sensitive positions within many city, school and state entities, giving the person a severance arrangement considering they are approved and can be removed by voting members, such as a school board or city council. The contract gives the employee a certain time frame, during which they can receive compensation should elections or another political change affect their employment. 

Look for further updates as The Messenger will have more breaking news soon. 

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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