San Augustine families say they were victimized after Ike

SAN AUGUSTINECOUNTY, TX (KTRE) - The friendship between the Dominguez and Brownlee families started eleven years ago, when two pigs needed a place to stay.

Both families say that's also when the small community of Powell town in San Augustine County turned against them.

"I'm really disappointed in the way the people are.  They blame Frank and myself and we are the ones getting blamed for it," says Leo Brownlee.

Brownlee has lived here for 34 years and when Ike came through two weeks ago, he and Frank Dominguez say it went downhill from there.

"What happened to my house is a couple trees came down on it.  Took out the carport, guest house, the one came through my living room," says Dominguez.

So Frank and Leo went to Broaddus to get food, water and ice.

"Leo and I went down in separate cars to get supplies and when we got there they were loading supplies because the National Guard had been told to go somewhere else.  We got seven boxes of food and water and ice and brought it home. A couple hours later, the Sheriff's department showed up with the Broaddus Fire. When they got here they accused me of stealing and hoarding the stuff that had been given to me. I tried to explain it was given to us, but the guy from the fire department insisted no such thing took place because he was there," says Dominguez.

"I didn't steal anything. If you want it, it was on my back porch.  If anybody needed it all they had to do was ask and I would have given it to them," says Brownlee.

Both men claim they were called liars and thieves and threatened to be arrested for stealing the food.

"One of the neighbors complained. We had seven boxes on the porch because we were cleaning up. We weren't hiding or hoarding it," says Dominguez.  "They were giving it not just to me but anybody who pulled up there."

We are told when the Sheriff found out what happened, he tried to fix it.

"After one of our neighbors spoke with the Sheriff, he called his deputy to come over here, take the information he should have got the first time and apologize. Which he did," says Dominguez.

But they say that doesn't change what happened.

"I'm humiliated, embarrassed.  That's how I feel. I didn't steal. I would have never gotten the second bunch but they called me and said he they are giving the stuff away, come up here. And I did," says Brownlee.

Late Saturday evening, we talked to the Powell Town Fire Chief who says law enforcement was told the family was taking advantage of the situation, which is why the supplies were taken back.

We were unable to contact the judge or sheriff for comment.


Since this report was posted a followup story was posted. See Authorities respond to emergency ration allegations, September 30TH