Sheriff Candidate Accepts Questionable Funds - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

02/12/04 - Tyler

Sheriff Candidate Accepts Questionable Funds

Paul Black claims he should be sheriff because of his background as a Tyler Police and DEA Narcotics Officer, and his tough stance against crime, especially drugs. However, with that background, he accepted thousands of dollars from a repeat drug felon, and waited five days before deciding to return it. A campaign finance report filed Monday shows a total of $14,208.59 in contributions. $10,000 of that was donated by one person. That person is Kay Bracken, who Channel 7 News has learned has a history of drug use, including two convictions for possession of a controlled substance. One of those convictions found Bracken had 26 grams of cocaine in her car. As a result, she was sentenced to 14 years in prison, served three years, and is currently on parole until 2008. We asked Paul Black about the contribution today. He says Bracken is an old friend, and only decided to return the check to her after considering what the media and his opponents might think.

"There are success stories out there, people who beat the drug problem," Black said. "Society should not keep those people down. She has every right in the world to donate money to a campaign or to a cause that she thinks is worthy."

Bracken confirms the money was returned to her last week, though she says she didn't deposit the money back into her account until today.

This $10,000 donation would have ranked, far and away, the largest in the race for all three candidates. The second largest contribution was an "in kind" donation to Andy Dunklin for $5,190 for campaign signs. Sheriff J.B. Smith's largest contribution was $2,000 from an individual.

Kevin Berns reporting

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