Update: Day 3 concludes in Walker trial
Multiple witnesses took the stand to testify in the federal case alleging Calvin Walker of Walker’s Electric Company fraudulently overcharged the Beaumont Independent School District millions of dollars during the third day of presenting evidence in the proceeding.
Among those called to the witness stand were Chris Rybacki and Johnathan Lyle of Summit Electrical Supply, who both testified that Walker was a customer of the company and that documents he was in possession of were altered and/or forged in some instances.
Around the lunch hour, prosecutor Bob Rawls called former BISD chief financial officer Jane Kingsley, who had material knowledge of the payments made by BISD to Walker. She retired from her post in BISD last year. As part of the questioning offered to her, Kingsley told the court that most of the projects paid for with bond funds were performed through Parsons, although some “of the smaller ones,” such as the ones performed by Walker, were not.
“There was a lot going on,” she said. She added that any one of many people could have been responsible for allowing payments to contractors for projects during that time.
Kingley didn’t sty on the stand long, and by 2 p.m., Rawls had called Goldleaf Surety account specialist Brad Koosmann, who was asked to introduce a number of e-mails and faxes, which contained altered documents related to the Ozen lighting project and references from Walker indicating the job was being done under his routine maintenance contract. Koosmann’s testimony, since the documents he was reviewing were never submitted to BISD, were under scrutiny to address charges in the prosecution claiming wire fraud.
Koosmann, although traveling from Minnesota to be in the Beaumont court, was only on the witness stand a brief time, and by 3 p.m., FBI agent Tim Brewer was in the seat, sworn in and giving accounts of what he knew in relation to the trial.
According to Brewer, he began investigating Walker in 2010, well after the FBI was involved in looking into the business matters of Walker thanks to a tip from BISD trustee Tom Neild. Brewer said the tipster called the FBI office and offered evidence that Walker was overbilling the school district.
Brewer stated he spoke to Walker when he and fellow agents were performing a search warrant at Walker’s residence. At that time, Brewer said, Walker’s defense wasn’t his “unusual accounting methods” as to why he hadn’t submitted two checks he claimed to have given Summit for payment on supplies to be used for BISD temporary campuses.
“He said they sent one (of the checks) back to him,” Brewer said. Walker clamed Summit cashed the other, Brewer added. “When we told him we knew neither of them were negotiated, he said he remembered they sent both checks back to him.”
Prior testimony from Summit employs maintained they never received either check in question.
FBI agent Tim Brewer will continue testimony beginning at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 8.