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The pictures on the courtroom wall Beaumont Enterprise Pictures . . . never made it out of the third grade, but Lack has a lot of friends, though, mainly poor folks and Baptists. Hardin is a very poor county. Most of the timberland, the county’s primary resource, is owned by out-of-state corporations that pay next to nothing in property taxes. Even those taxes will be reduced when the federal government buys 46,500 acres of Hardin County for the Big Thicket Biological Preserve. Some 55 percent of the preserve will be in Hardin. The feds, of course, won’t pay any property taxes at all. So, except for a few additional tourists and nature lovers, the county can’t look forward to a growirig economic base. Emmett Lack, 54, has a reputation as a man who will go to bat for people who need help. A couple of years ago The Beaumont Enterprise and Journal ran a florid feature about Lack’s commissioners court entitled, “Hope Awaits Many In Court of Last Resort.” It began ” ‘Give me your homeless, your helpless, your wretched, and your poor.’ This legend on the Statue of Liberty at Staten Island could have well been on the door of the Hardin County Commissioners Court.” The Observer will spare its readers further Beaumont prose. The gist of the story was that the poor and the sick can go to Judge Lack and he’ll cut through red tape to get them Medicaid or food stamps or whatever they need. He’s also acquired supporters among the drunk drivers and check kiters who have found a sympathetic ear in his court. More about that later. Coe, who was appointed district attorney by Gov. Allan Shivers, is described by one and all as “devious.” So, for that matter, is Lack’s idea man, Houston Thompson. Lack and Thompson have accused Coe of using Hardin County grand juries for political purposes. Coe denied these charges and waxed eloquent over the purity of his motives. The D.A. is not sitting in on the current grand jury deliberations. An assistant attorney general is handling the case. Coe, who looks something like an emaciated basset hound, explained that Lack “made a stupid remark when he branded the grand jury as political. He should first have proof that they violated their oath…. It’s not only absurd but disrespectful for him to imply that I could or would control the attorney general’s office of the State of Texas. I as a politician am subject to attacks, but when they go so far as to include the grand jury and the attorney general’s office, then I think they are disrespectful to a law-abiding society.” Coe then put on a lopsided grin that made him look like the basset that ate the canary. The current set-to came to a head on April 5 when Lack, who is not running for re-election this year, called a press conference and read an 11-page statement concerning the grand jury investigation and the Beaumont Enterprise Lack: ‘Feet of Clay’ photos from Mexico. We’ll deal with the feelthy pictures first. Lack said that two years ago he and Hardin County Sheriff Billy Paine and County Commissioner High Bevil Means went hunting on a South Texas ranch owned by EasTex Inc. \(The company has since merged with Temple Lumber to become Texas side of the border,” Lack said, “Sheriff Paine and Commissioner Means tried to get me to cross over into old Mexico for a visit to see the sights. I refused to go, but both of them insisted and I finally agreed to go.” \(“Other times I didn’t go because I’m scared of filth,” Lack later told the His statement continued: “I had heard stories in the past about robberies south of the border, and I gave all my money to Sheriff Paine because I trusted him and because I felt he was less likely to be robbed since he was carrying a gun. And I felt he was worthy of trust at the time. “We drove over to Nuevo Laredo and entered a night club. It looked pretty swanky to me and I felt that everything was on the up and up. I saw Sheriff Billy Paine give someone, who I thought was the head waiter, a tip, and we were seated at a ringside table with my chair closest to the dance floor. “When the waiter came around I ordered a Seven-Up because I am not in the habit of drinking alcohol. I do not know what I got, but it seemed to be different tasting than the Seven-Up that are sold around Kountze. At any rate, I drank it. After a few minutes, the floor show started and females with very little clothing on came out dancing. They came over to our table and one asked me to dance. Since I can’t dance, I refused and the sheriff and the commissioner and others at the table insisted and began to kid me. “I remember some lights flashing, but I do not remember much else. In fact, the next clear memory I have is waking up back at the ranch the next morning with a terrible headache. That morning the sheriff and Commissioner Means told me they had some pictures that were made the night before. They told me they were going to use them when I ran again, and they also told . May 7, 1976 3