David Barer
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Texas police bargain their licenses to avoid prison. New bills could end those deals

Texas police bargain their licenses to avoid prison. New bills could end those deals

Investigative Summary:In the past six years, hundreds of Texas police officers and jailers facing felony charges have been given the opportunity to avoid prison by surrendering their law enforcement license in plea bargain agreements. KXAN investigations in 2019 and again in 2021 have found this process is widespread and hasn’t slowed, but new legislation at the state Capitol could upend the bargain system and change how the state handles troubled officers.AUSTIN (KXAN) – After her coma, Michele Gonzales spent months relearning how to walk, eat and talk. The accident that nearly left her...

April 15, 2021
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Austin’s biomass power plant sat idle during Texas winter energy crisis

Austin’s biomass power plant sat idle during Texas winter energy crisis

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin Energy’s biomass power plant in East Texas, which the city purchased in 2019 for $460 million, sat idle and produced no power during one of the worst winter energy crises in state history.An Austin Energy spokesperson confirmed to KXAN the Nacogdoches plant, which burns wood waste and can produce more than 100 megawatts of power, was not used in the past week. And, because of a plan made last year, the city did not have the option to fire the plant up, the utility said.“According to our ERCOT-approved plan, Nacogdoches plant operates in the summer months and was not...

February 19, 2021
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Top aide to Texas AG Ken Paxton met with senior White House officials week of U.S. Capitol riot

Top aide to Texas AG Ken Paxton met with senior White House officials week of U.S. Capitol riot

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton stood alongside then-President Donald Trump at a rally before the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.Two top aides to Paxton traveled to Washington that week, too: First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster and Communications Deputy Director Kimberly Hubbard.Webster visited to meet with senior White House officials nearly one month after Texas’ lawsuit to overturn election results in four battleground states was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, according to his travel records.Webster was hired in October after an exodus of top...

February 9, 2021
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Infection control complaints at Texas nursing homes surge 22 times higher

Infection control complaints at Texas nursing homes surge 22 times higher

AUSTIN (KXAN) — These days, Janie Luevano spends a lot of time outside. Inside, she doesn’t feel the usual holiday cheer. She chose to ditch the Christmas decorations this year — opting instead for a simple wreath on the front door.“Maybe next year I’ll be in a better mood. This year, I’m not,” she said.The year 2020, and more specifically the coronavirus, claimed two of her brothers’ lives. One of them, who she called “Jimmy,” died after contracting the virus in West Oaks Nursing and Rehabilitation.“The hardest thing for me to accept is that I put him in the nursing home thinking he’d get...

December 18, 2020
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Former Rodeo Austin accountant pleads guilty to $1.3M theft, sentenced to probation

Former Rodeo Austin accountant pleads guilty to $1.3M theft, sentenced to probation

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A former Rodeo Austin financial manager, who was accused of stealing over $1 million from the nonprofit charity and faced up to 99 years in prison for first-degree felony theft of property, pleaded guilty Thursday in Travis County District Court and will serve 10 years of probation.Mark Weston’s sentence comes roughly four years after Rodeo Austin officials . Weston, a certified public accountant and the nonprofit’s financial manager at the time, later admitted he had misappropriated the funds and agreed to pay back $850,000, according to a 2017 legal agreement he...

October 8, 2020
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