The former mayor of Irving has admitted that he is a dirty political hit piece against a former rival.
Herbert Gears claimed responsibility in an interview this week to be the “creator” of black propaganda in the form of mailing which spread lies about former mayoral candidate Kristi Pena. The emails claimed that Pena is a drug addict, a thief who was arrested, and someone who had been evicted and foreclosed upon. All of which proved to be untrue.
State election law requires political fliers to indicate who paid for the advertisement. Gears piece did not disclose the financier of the fliers. Gears shared to The Watchdog: "I'm not ashamed one bit of that political mailing. I have been on the receiving end of worse for years from Kristi Pena supporters. And I'm not ashamed of it because it's all public records."
Pena came in second in a four-person race in the May election for her first try for public office. Pena was a supporter of former Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who now serves in the Trump administration. Gears lost his mayoral job to Van Duyne in 2011. He is still visibly mad about the loss. Gears posted on Facebook a month before the election: "They have called me every name in the book and even brought my wife and child into it."
The dirty political mail was his revenge. Gears served as Irving mayor from 2005-2011, and before that as a councilman for six years.
Gears’ mailer claims to come from the Irving Opportunity Council, but there’s no such registered group.
On the mailer’s front page, the caption of Pena’s photo calls her as a "quack, sham, fraud, fake, imposter, hoaxer, cheat, deceiver, double-dealer, swindler, fraudster" and more.
The front page also accuses Pena of "Multiple Arrests for Drugs and Theft", "Evictions and Foreclosure", "Lawsuits and City Fines", "Failed Businesses", and "Multiple Federal Income Tax Liens- all of which are not true, did not happen or misleading.
The back page shows parts of six public records. One highlighted document shows an arrest for marijuana possession, but it does not belong to Pena.
Another document used is from the Texas Court of Appeals, suggesting that Pena had legal problems before that high court. Truth is, she sued in appeals court to gain her place on the election ballot. She won the case, but that part is not disclosed.
The back page also takes a Dallas Morning News quotation out of context. An opponent made an accusation against Pena of violating Texas law by living in a city-owned house and paying low rent. The quote, using the newspaper's name, leaves out that this is only an opponent's accusation, and not yet a proven or established fact.
Pena's family lives in a city-owned house under an agreement with the city. There was a time that she fell behind in the monthly rental payment and was in danger of an eviction. But an eviction never happened.
Gears now face possible charges for the damaging and false accusations contained in the mailers. Pena said: "Ordinary citizens like myself need to know it's OK to run for office and not be bullied. On this one, they totally crossed the line."
The mailer’s printer, JPT Graphics has also told The Watchdog that they would also institute changes to their printing policies and won’t print anything negative anymore.