Swanner, Crow sought OPD help against Coday

AG again orders City to turn over report that shows no crime committed

Three weeks after the Texas Attorney General’s Office forced the City of Odessa to reveal who was behind a false police report regarding Republican agitator Matt Coday, the AG once again forced the city to release another Coday-related police report involving another elected city official.

According to the AG opinion, the city can withhold information pertaining to closed criminal investigations if there isn’t a conviction or a deferred adjudication, but they can not withhold “basic information about an arrested person, an arrest or a crime.”

In this instance, the city was forced to release a report taken Nov. 21, 2022, by an Odessa Police Department officer and associated follow-up reports.

Read the AG opinion here.

See the police report here.

According to those reports, former Ector County Republican Chairwoman Tisha Crow, City councilwoman Denise Swanner and Medical Center Hospital Board Member Wallace Dunn complained they were being harassed by Coday at council meetings and on social media.

Dunn said he was once part of a committee for Coday’s “oil company” and he backed away because of Coday’s “increasing crazy and erratic behavior.” (Coday is the founder of the Oil and Gas Workers Association.)

“Dunn explained that Coday has posted lies about their politics and their standpoints, even questioning their ability to do their job,” the report stated.

Dunn complained that Coday has accused him of violating HIPPA regulations and threatened via text to physically harm, so he blocked his phone number, the report stated.

Crow and Swanner answered “No” when they were asked if Coday had sent them threatening messages, but said Coday has “smeared” them on social media, the report stated.

“Swanner and Crow both advised that they really don’t pay any attention to Coday and have ignored his comments on social media,” the report stated.

According to the report, Crow said she saw a Ford F-250 in front of her residence on Nov. 15, 2022, and when she ran the license plate using her insurance company computer, it came back to Coday. Crow and her husband Kris own a Farmer’s Insurance branch.

“Crow stated that she knew that Coday was simply trying to scare her, to which it did not,” the report stated.

Swanner said she spotted Coday’s truck the same day “turned on (and) waiting.”

Both women replied “No” when asked if Coday had gotten out of the truck, approached the front door, looked in windows, damaged anything or left anything. They also said they didn’t think Coday had ever followed them to work, to the store or on family outings.

“Crow advised that she was not scared of Coday and that she was more upset about the social media posts which are complete lies,” the report stated.

Dunn interrupted Crow and told her and Swanner they ought to be afraid of Coday because he is “crazy and possibly violent,” the officer wrote.

The officer advised the trio that Coday was likely posting on social media to gain notoriety and they should ignore him.

“I then asked what they needed me to do, to which Dunn, Crow and Swanner advised they simply wanted to make sure it was documented and nothing else,” the officer noted in his report.

The officer also recommended recording Coday if they saw him near them or following them.

According to the report, the officer said she was informed on Dec. 14, 2022, that Swanner complained to someone she hadn’t returned her calls or voicemails, but when she checked, she hadn’t received any voicemails or calls from Swanner.

When she reached her on Dec. 14, Swanner told her she saw a vehicle she thought was Coday’s driving down her street after she pulled into her garage, the report stated. Swanner said her grandson asked who the driver was because he’d been “flipping her off” and her grandson confirmed it was Coday after she showed him pictures.

In addition, Swanner told the officer her grandson had seen Coday drive by their residence on several other occasions, the report stated. She further stated she just wanted the incident reported for “documentation purposes.”

On Feb. 6, 2023, Swanner called the officer and handed then Ector County Republican Party chair member Christopher Gonzalez her phone. Gonzalez reported he, too, was being harassed by Coday on social media. Gonzalez in late 2023 resigned from his post on the local GOP following details of an arrest.

On Feb. 6 and Feb. 7 Swanner also shared several screen shots of Coday “harassing” her with the officer, the report stated.

The officer ended her report with, “Once again, these posts are on a public forum. Nothing criminal. Narrative complete.”

Coday contacted the Odessa American last December because an unknown person texted OPD Chief Mike Gerke on Dec. 18 asking for someone to investigate a man for “walking around in and out of houses” in Tisha Crow’s neighborhood and supplied the chief with his license plate number when Coday says he was in Andrews at the time.

Coday wanted OPD to pursue false reporting charges against the texter, but the city refused to divulge the name of the texter.

The Odessa American filed a Texas Public Information Act request seeking the texter’s name, but City Attorney Dan Jones declined to provide it. In a letter to the AG’s office for an opinion, Jones initially argued the name of the texter wasn’t a matter of public record because he or she was a “confidential informant.”

He also told the AG’s Office the case was actively being investigated and charges could be brought and releasing the texter’s name could hinder investigators.

However, Captain Darryl Smith had already written a report that stated, “Since there was no crime that had been committed, Cpl. (Taylor) Miley and Sgt. (Jon) Foust were instructed to just do information narratives on the incident.”

Jones would later argue the name of the texter could not be divulged because the “complainant was notifying the Police Chief of a possibly (sic) stalking situation.”

The texts received by the OA from the morning of Dec. 18 make no reference to stalking. Nor do the police reports.

And, again, 10 months earlier, the officer had written, “These posts are on a public forum. Nothing criminal. Narrative complete.”

On March 21, the AG ordered the city to release the name of the Dec. 18 texter and it turned out to be Mayor Javier Joven, a political ally of Crow and Swanner.

At the behest of Coday’s attorney, Bobby Bland, Ector County District Attorney Dusty Gallivan has asked the Texas Rangers to look into the allegation Joven abused his power by falsely reported Coday was burglarizing homes and that people at City Hall were abusing their power by hiding that person’s name.

Gallivan has not yet heard back from the Rangers.

Joven has not addressed Coday’s allegations he was specifically targeted by Joven and others for being outspoken on local politics. Crow lost her seat as GOP chair in the March primary to Odessan Donna Kelm. Swanner lost her bid for a precinct chair seat to Brenda Worthen in the same primary. Swanner is up for re-election to city council in November.

In a prepared statement, Joven said he was “relieved” the situation has been resolved.

“Our initial inclination was to immediately disclose all information, including my communication with Chief Gerke, to the public; however, we were concerned with the legality and possible future implications for citizens who might be in similar situations,” Joven stated.