Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Police Union's Hiring of Former Bail Bondsman Causes Furor

The Austin police union has hired as a consultant a former bail bondsman who records show once owed the county more than $1 million in bonds from dozens of clients who failed to return to court.

Charles Kent Olson, 52, paid part of his bill to the county but declared bankruptcy in 2004 when officials tried to collect the remaining balance, according to records. He said he also voluntarily surrendered his license to work as a bondsman.

The hiring of Olson by the Austin Police Association, one of the most powerful organizations in local politics, has created a furor among officers in recent days after the American-Statesman began asking about his employment.

A board member resigned in protest Thursday, and this week the union's president sent an e-mail to the 1,600 members in which he accused two unnamed officers of "sneaking around to the media" to discuss their concerns.

Sgt. Wayne Vincent said in the e-mail that he had not attempted to conceal Olson's hiring but that "some business is best left done in a discreet manner."

"Whatever the reason, we are not going to be deterred, nor run from this latest attempt to embarrass us," Vincent wrote.

He did not name Olson in the e-mail.

The hiring exposes acrimony in what has been a cohesive political force, playing a major role in Austin City Council and mayoral elections and garnering pay raises for members in years when other city workers got no pay increases.

Read more here and find and follow us on Twitter!

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

No comments: