LA MARQUE — No city officials past or present will face criminal charges after the Galveston County District Attorney’s office finished a yearlong investigation into a series of allegations lobbed at city council members the former mayor and the former city manager District Attorney Jack Roady said.
The end of the investigation closes out a nearly two-year saga at La Marque’s city hall.
Roady would not specify the allegations made but The Daily News confirmed city council members were accused of violating state open meetings laws former City Manager Eric Gage is accused of improper use of city equipment and resources and other allegations accused city council members former Mayor Geraldine Sam and others of violating the city charter.
”We did an exhaustive investigation and the bottom line is that we will not be pursing criminal charges” Roady said of the multi level investigation. ”We found the allegations were either unsubstantiated or there was not enough evidence.”
Roady said the investigation focused on those allegations that could be considered a criminal matter. The allegations of charter violations for example would not have been considered criminal he said.
Roady acknowledged the allegations mirrored the discourse that took place within the city government dating back to 2010 before he even took office. Factions within the city including residents came to the district attorney’s office alleging crimes by city officials.
”We had a lot of complaints from that era of La Marque” Roady said.
The district attorney acknowledged the complaints and allegations at times risked overwhelming his office.
He was confident that every legitimate complaint was thoroughly investigated. Those who filed complaints were informed of the outcome of the investigations Roady said.
No Charges In Clear Lake Shores
Roady said no charges would come from a complaint of possible violation of open meetings laws by members of the Clear Lake Shores city council. He did not specify which members of the council had been accused of meeting improperly but confirmed that his office ”tracked it down and found no reason to pursue charges.”
The allegations stem from the recent fracture on the city council in which former police Chief Paul Shelley who is also the city administrator came under fire by some members of the council.
There also have been allegations into spending habits of the city administration that some claim also have been turned over to the district attorney.
One Done One Still Waiting At LMISD
The investigation into the allegations at La Marque City Hall are not the only complaints of supposed misdeeds by public officials the district attorney’s office is reviewing. While that investigation is completed others are ongoing.
At the top of that list is a criminal investigation into a fight that happened after a boys basketball game between La Marque and Manvel. During that fight the Manvel coach claimed he was beaten by a group of La Marque fans.
The school district has taken steps to discipline students involved in the altercation and the University Interscholastic League the association that governs prep school athletics in the state put the district’s athletic program on probation for the incident as well as a fight after a football game in Baytown last year.
However the school district’s police department still had not turned over the results of its basketball brawl investigation to the district attorney’s office Roady said.
Roady said that case remains open and likely could be presented to a grand jury when the school district police turn over the results of its investigation. Calls to a district spokeswoman as to the progress of that investigation were not returned.
During the course of that investigation Roady said his office also received an allegation in which a student claimed a teacher had improper contact with that student. Roady’s comments on the investigation were the first that an incident had occurred had been made public.
An investigation into that claim which Roady did not detail would not result in criminal charges against the teacher the district attorney said.
Bayou Vista Ongoing
The state is assisting the district attorney’s office in a series of allegations of the misappropriation of funds in Bayou Vista. That investigation was first made public last summer by Mayor Bobby Rosenquist.
The allegations started off with claims of misuse of city gas cards and the use of federal disaster funds but might have expanded. Roady would not confirm the scope of the inquiry.
In September the mayor said the state’s attorney general is investigating how the city managed federal disaster dollars earmarked for Hurricane Ike recovery. Lucas in his capacity as emergency management coordinator was responsible for oversight of the city’s disaster projects. An affidavit from the city to the attorney general’s office shows more than 2000 pages of documents were turned over to the grand jury conducting the investigation.
Roady said that investigation is ongoing and did not suggest when it might wrap up or if charges are likely.
Calmer seas for La Marque. A new mayor a new city manager and a new attitude is taking hold at La Marque City Hall.