Ector County Hospital District Board President calls for challenger to withdraw

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ODESSA, Tx. -- This story was updated at 12 a.m. to include a statement from Wallace Dunn and additional comments made to CBS7 by Mary Thompson.

Ector County Hospital Board President Mary Thompson and Wallace Dunn. (Photos: Odessa American)

Ector County Hospital District Board President Mary Thompson, who is being challenged for the District 6 seat by Wallace Dunn, has called for her challenger to withdraw from the election, the Odessa American reports.

Thompson, who has held the seat since the hospital district was created 30 years ago, brought up several assault charges Dunn faced in Bexar County in 2004 during a candidate forum earlier this week, which Dunn said were dismissed. But there were other charges Thompson said were not mentioned at the forum, for which Dunn accepted a sentence.

“It’s very clear on Oct. 14, 2004, he accepted the sentence and then was given a 90-day probation,” Thompson said, in reference to a criminal mischief charge.

“I just think he is not being honest about his past. I really think he should withdraw from the race,” Thompson said. “I don’t think he’s the type of person that needs to be holding public office of any sort. He does not have the integrity an elected position holds.”

Dunn said he was arrested a total of four times in San Antonio and all of the charges have been dismissed.

“I foolishly, on a court-appointed attorney’s advice, pled no contest to the two (other charges). In hindsight, I should have taken both to a jury trial,” Dunn said.

He also said he will not withdraw.

“I really don’t care what Mary Thompson has to say about me. I’m not stepping down. Her heady vindictiveness is just a sign of her insecurity because she knows she’s going to lose this election,” Dunn said. “Mary’s just desperate. She can’t run on her record so she’s just trying this attack and it’s not going to work — she’s out.”

Thompson said she is not being vindictive, she is being transparent and honest with the voters of the community.

“He’s chosen to withhold this information. It never would’ve been brought up, he would not have chosen to even bring it up,” she said.

Thompson added that whether she is re-elected or not, she plans to pursue a requirement that board members, whether future or present, must have background checks.

“We do that for our employees, but we don’t even hold our board to the standard we hold our employees,” she said.

Thompson added that with the national #MeToo movement, everyone is having to be honest and upfront with their backgrounds and she doesn’t think Dunn is different than anyone else — his background should be brought forward.

“Someone that laughs about the charges that he attacked someone? That person being bipolar (and) has a mental illness,” Thompson said.

She also said citizens need to know the kind of person who is running to be an elected official and to the supporters who vote for him, she said she thinks that is just an indication of their character.

Dunn said all candidates do have to sign an affidavit and get it notarized when turning in their application for candidacy to run for the office that states they have “not been finally convicted of a felony for which I have not been pardoned or had my full rights of citizenship restored by official action.”

THE CHARGES

Dunn went into detail about the charges, which all stemmed from a nine-month relationship he had with a woman in San Antonio who had bipolar disorder and falsely accused him of assaulting her on numerous occasions.

Dunn’s charges include:

>> On Sept. 7, 2004 he was charged with assault, family violence. He pled no contest to a reduced charge of assault, offensive touch and received deferred adjudication.

>> On Oct. 23 and Oct. 26, 2004 he was charged each time with assault, family violence, and both charges were dismissed Aug. 10, 2007. Dunn said while the woman was being interviewed by San Antonio Police Department officers she admitted she “made it all up” because she was mad at Dunn. One of the officers was prepared to testify in Dunn’s defense and the district attorney dropped the charges, Dunn said.

>> On Dec. 6, 2004 he was charged with criminal mischief. He pled no contest and received deferred adjudication.

Dunn said the criminal mischief charge is the only charge where he actually did do what he was accused of after three men showed up at his house to beat him up because the woman told them he hit her.

“When they were banging on my front door, I went out my back door and came up behind them with a baseball bat,” he said.

The three men then ran and jumped into their car and he ended up breaking the window out of the car, he said. Dunn said he pled no contest, paid the fines and paid for the damages to the window.

“The cop told me I would have been good, except the car was on the street. Since I left my property, he charged me,” Dunn said.

The woman who he was in a relationship was also charged with filing a false police report twice, Dunn said. In one of the SAPD reports, the woman again accused Dunn of assaulting her and kidnapping her two children, which police investigation revealed was not true.

“I’ve never laid a hand on her. I’ve never hit any woman ever,” Dunn said. “It was very frustrating because all I wanted was for her to leave me alone.”

Dunn said he has nothing to hide and he has no problem discussing the situation with anybody. He also said the charges are open records and anyone who wants to get the “nitty gritty” on every single detail can get them from Bexar County.

He added that when he applied for his license to carry, he had to put everything on his application, even though it was dismissed and he was approved. A year later, he applied to become a license to carry instructor and had to do the same thing, and he was also approved to be an instructor.

“You don’t just get a license like that if DPS has any question about your character,” Dunn said.

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Additional comments and statement made to CBS7:
Thompson explained Friday afternoon why she believes the charges are important.

"I think it matters because that shows a persons character and honesty and integrity. Why would he want to hide that," she said.

Thompson added that she believes her opponent should have considered and addressed the legal issues at the beginning of his campaign.

“There should be a part of you that is honest and it is sincere in what you do. And I don’t feel he was honest. I feel like he was trying to portray a different person," she said.

Candidate Dunn released the following statement Friday afternoon that address Thompson's previous comments, how he is running his campaign, and his military and business experience.

"The people of Ector County deserve better than this form of mud-slinging politics. We should be focusing on what we can do to make Ector County a better place for our Citizens.

I am proud to have run a clean and fair campaign focused on bringing transparency, fiscal improvements, and true reform to MCH, so that the people of our community will be served with quality and dependable healthcare.

I categorically deny the lies and mischaracterizations that my opponent is spreading. I have answered truthfully on the ECHD Board application, at the Candidate's Forum, and to the questions from the Odessa American.

I am proud to stand on my record as a retured Army Captian, with 20 years of honorable service. I served for eight years as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst at one of the largest Narcotics Task Forces in the United States with a Top Secret clearance.

I serve many customers in the oilfield here in the Permian Basin that trust me and know that I will keep my word when I make promises.

I currently hold a Texas License to Carry Instructor's Certificate. The State of Texas, Department of Public Safety did an extensive background check on me, including fingerprinting, as recently as May of 2017.

I look forward to the election results when the Citizen's of Ector County will make their wishes known."