Co. judge candidate on pending lawsuit: 'Let's go to court' - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Co. judge candidate on pending lawsuit: 'Let's go to court'

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

A candidate for Smith County judge is answering questions about a lawsuit that has been pending since 2010.

Retired Major General John Furlow is running for the top spot in Smith County, while battling a lawsuit against his former employer, the Texas Adjutant General's Office.

The suit, against Major General Furlow and Major General Allen Dehnert, dates back to 2010. The lawsuit claims the generals owe money to the state for getting money from both the state and federal government for the same job.

Furlow is listed in the suit as owing the state $129,443, while Dehnert is listed as owing the state $21,089.

"This is not about double-dipping," Furlow said in a news conference. "The Attorney General when this case started, I'm not sure they knew what this case was about."

Furlow filed a counter-suit in 2013 denying the claims.

"We're asking for what evidence they have and they have yet to provide it," Furlow said.

Furlow did release dozens of documents that he said explain his case. Included in the documents was a letter from the adjutant general's office fiscal officer saying the adjutant general granted emergency leave for the assistant adjutant generals and said Furlow 'did not owe the state.'

When asked if he ever took emergency leave improperly, Furlow said he did not and asked how much he owed to the state, he replied, 'none of it. Not a dime.'

Furlow said the suit and allegations are fueled by politics at the highest level of state government.

In 2009, Governor Rick Perry talked to Houston television station, KHOU-TV, about the allegations against Furlow.

"We're going to be watching them every day to make sure they do (pay the money back)," Perry told KHOU. "The payback will be in full, and appropriate, and timely."

Furlow, responded with his own comments for the governor.

"It hadn't happened," Furlow said. "If he had been fully involved, my question of it is --- answer the mail that my attorneys have been sending about questions about the documentation that shows that we're guilty.

"Tell him let's go to court," Furlow said. "Let's solve this in a court the way it ought to be."

We contacted the Governor's Office and the Texas Attorney General's Office for comment for this story and both refused since the lawsuit is still active.

Furlow's opponent, current Smith County Judge Joel Baker, had previously released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

"I have recently received numerous questions regarding information that my political opponent is accused of wrongfully issuing orders to receive compensation... essentially "double-dipping" while serving as commander of the Texas Army National Guard. It is my understanding that he is being sued by the State of Texas to collect approximately $130,000 in excess compensation and that both the FBI and the public integrity unit of the Travis County District Attorney's Office have been investigating this matter.

At this point, it is a pending civil lawsuit and a possible criminal investigation that has not yet gone to trial. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the merits of the case until there has been a final resolution of these matters."

In campaign finance reports released on Wednesday, Baker is ahead of Furlow in campaign fundraising by about $75,000. Furlow said that is because he is running his campaign mostly off of his own money and not relying on contributions for his campaign.

The two candidates will face off in a debate hosted by Grassroots America Friday, January 17 at 11:45a.m. at Lakeview Church of the Nazarene.

The Texas Republican Primary Election is Tuesday, March 4, 2014.

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