Hutchins mayor, other city officials indicted after public corruption investigation
Hutchinsâ€™ mayor and nine other current and former city employees face criminal charges after a 16-month public corruption investigation, police said Monday.
A Dallas County grand jury indicted Mayor Artis Johnson last week on charges of criminal conspiracy and abuse of official capacity.
Hutchinsâ€™ police chief, Frank McElligott, said the investigation centered on the theft of city-owned scrap, which was sold to recyclers.
Johnson and his attorney, state Sen. Royce West, could not be reached for comment. But West told WFAA-TV (Channel 8) that his client was innocent. SOURCE
I have been busy with family matters the last few days and the blog had to suffer because when my wife is off for most of the weekend and tells me that WE HAVE PLANS, I make myself available to do her bidding. In this case we went to a reunion. People sure do change a lotÂ when you haven’t seen them in 10 years. đź™‚
Anyway, on to the story.
Hutchins, TX is a small community just Southeast of Dallas at the junction of I-20 and I-45, and apparently, from what I can gather from the Dallas Morning News, *some* folks that work for the City of Hutchins aren’t making enough money, well, legally anyway.
â€śIâ€™m asking people to withhold judgment … until heâ€™s had his day in court,â€ť he said.
And that is why I am NOT making ANY accusations, I am just offering up some opinion.
The cityâ€™s former public works director, Ronnie Oâ€™Brien, and seven other former public works employees face charges of engaging in organized criminal activity in connection with the theft and sale of city-owned scrap.
McElligott said the district attorneyâ€™s Office of Public Integrity began investigating in December 2012 after a lead developed during a separate investigation into a court clerk who was suspected of stealing revenue from city fines.
It has been my observation that a Grand Jury wonâ€™t return an indictment without some pretty serious proof, but I might be wrong, Iâ€™m certain that Sen. Royce West will argue until the cows come home that his client is as pure as the driven snow and has been caught up in the nefarious dealings of *others*, and it was through no fault of his own.
McElligott said public works employees took more than $25,000 in scrap, such as pipes and meters, and sold it to recyclers.
One of the public works employees went to pick up payment from a recycler, who, seeing the employee dressed in a city uniform and driving a city truck, made a check out to â€ścity of Hutchins,â€ť McElligott said.
The employee took the check to the mayor, who had the money deposited into the general fund, from which a check was issued to Oâ€™Brien, the chief said.
Oâ€™Brien, who retired in October after eight years with the city, said the investigation â€śis what it is, and obviously, the mayor is guilty.â€ť
But that canâ€™t be right. The Mayor canâ€™t be guilty, Sen. Royce West said so.
City Secretary Janis Daniels, who has been accused of using city credit cards for personal use, was indicted on a charge of theft of less than $1,500. The indictment said she unlawfully acquired â€śvarious food items.â€ť
Wow, accused and/or indicted; the Mayor, the City secretary, the former Public Works Director and 7 City employees, Hutchins isnâ€™t that big a town, this has gotÂ to be a large percentage of the City government we’re talking about.
If these accusations are true then the City of Hutchins has a lot of folks about to answer for their part in this public corruption investigation. The good people of Hutchins need to get together and straighten their community out.
I have NO USE for corrupt public officials; I only hope this doesnâ€™t go even deeper as the case gets tried in court. There is NO honor among thieves and someone will sing like a canary if they think they can save themselves from incarceration.