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Former ORN Mayor pleads guilty, another ORN elected official indicted

FROM MONTGOMERY COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY BRETT LIGON:

On February 23, 2010 a Montgomery County Grand Jury indicted former Oak Ridge City Manager Paul Mendes on two counts of Abuse of Official Capacity. The indictments allege that with the intent to obtain a benefit or the attempt to defraud or harm another, Mr. Mendes intentionally or knowingly misused government property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value belonging to the government that came into the public servant’s custody or possession by virtue of the public servant’s office or employment. The indictments allege two separate offenses, one involving two generators and one involving a Mitsubishi truck and a lawn mower. The count involving the generators is a third degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in prison and a $10000 fine and the other count is a State Jail Felony punishable by 180 days to 2 years in the State Jail and up to a $10000 fine.

The Grand Jury also indicted Oak Ridge North Councilman Don Tucker for Perjury. The indictment alleges that Mr. Tucker made two inconsistent sworn statements regarding allegations of illegal wiretapping by the Police Chief Andy Walters. Perjury is a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up a year in the county jail and up to a $4000 fine.

The Grand Jury no billed Chief Walters on the wiretapping allegations, finding that no probable cause existed to believe that he had engaged in any violation of Texas wiretapping statues. (See Texas Penal Code Section 16.02).

The Grand Jury further no billed Steve Holcomb, an Oak Ridge North Councilman, finding that no probable cause existed to believe that he had committed the offense of Abuse of Official Capacity regarding some work done by city employees outside of work hours at his property.

Also on the 23rd, former Mayor Fred O’Connor pled guilty in misdemeanor court to a violation of conflict of interest laws. As part of the plea agreement he was required to resign his position as mayor, plead guilty and pay the maximum fine of $4000. Judge Keith Stewart took the plea and accepted the State’s recommendation. The allegations in the indictment allege that Fred O’Connor failed to abide by appropriate conflict of interest rules while acting as CEO of Biofuels, a company that was engaged in business with the city.

“This has been an extensive investigation by both federal and local law enforcement,” said Phil Grant, the First Assistant District Attorney and head of the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit. “The former mayor’s plea resolves only one part of this matter. We look forward to presenting the true facts on the rest of these cases to a Montgomery County jury at the appropriate time.”

See the official indictmens on pages 2 and 3…

INDICTMENT OF DON TUCKER

IN THE NAME AND BY AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

THE GRAND JURY, for the County of Montgomery, State of Texas, duly selected, empaneled, sworn, charged, and organized as such by the 435th Judicial District Court for said County, upon their oaths present in and to said court that Don Tucker, hereinafter styled Defendant, on or about July 03, 2009, and before the presentment of this indictment, in the County and State aforesaid, did then and there, with intent to deceive and with knowledge of the statements’ meanings, make two inconsistent statements under oath, one of the two statements being necessarily false, the first of such statements being “Recently, when I walked in to the office of the City’s Chief of Police, Andrew Walters, he was listening to a telephone conversation of other people from his computer,” such sworn statement being then and there authorized by law to be made under oath, while the said defendant was then and there under oath, and the second of such statement being “I couldn’t tell if it was a phone conversation or phone or somebody in the room talking to somebody else,” such statement being then and there required by law to be made under oath, while the said defendant was then and there under oath,

Against the Peace and Dignity of the State.

INDICTMENT OF PAUL MENDES:
IN THE NAME AND BY AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

THE GRAND JURY, for the County of Montgomery, State of Texas, duly selected, empaneled, sworn, charged, and organized as such by the 435th Judicial District Court for said County, upon their oaths present in and to said court that Paul Mendes, hereinafter styled Defendant, on or about April 29, 2009, and before the presentment of this indictment, in the County and State aforesaid, did then and there, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, intentionally or knowingly misuse government property, to-wit: two 1995 Onan Sterling generators, that came into the Defendant’s custody or possession by virtue of his employment, and the value of the property was more than $20,000 but less than $100,000,

Against the Peace and Dignity of the State.

Foreman of the Grand Jury

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