August 29, 2013
There were complaints filed today having to do with the office of Galveston County Commissioner Ken Clark. This time the charges were directed at his former administrative assistant Celia Frances Mabry, 61, now retired.
The complaint, filed in the office of Justice of The Peace Jim Schweitzer, by the Galveston County District Attorney, accuses Mabry, while employed by the county in May 2012, misused government property, her office computer in particular, to do adverse political research on Judge Mark Foster and others.
The complaint followed a lengthy investigation by an special investigator of D.A. Jack Roady's office, and the subpoenaing of reams of records and written documents from the Secretary of State's Office, a bank in League City, and various Galveston County offices.
Mabry is accused of Abuse of Official Capacity.
In a seperate action filed at the same time in the same court, The District Attorney complains that Keith Aubrey Dill, 51, a friend and political allie of Commissioner Clark, failed to timely file financial reports for a political committee known as C.A.R.S, for Citizens for Approval of Roads and Streets, of which he and Clark were members and signers on the committee bank account at the Wells Fargo Bank in League City.
In an affidavit filed in the J.P. Court, the D.A.'s Investigator states he was appointed by D.A. Jack Roady to investigate allegations of bribery, corruption, abuse of office and misuse of county personnel and equipment. He stated several complaints were made to the District Attorney by former employees of Galveston County and by members of the public. One complaint was made by Lloyd Criss. Criss complained, among other things, that Commissioner Clark used his position and a county employee, Mabry, to further his personal business, Clark Services, a political consulting business.
Criss complained that Mabry sent an email on her county computer, in Clark's office, to the Justice Administrator of the District Courts, requesting information which Clark intended to use in advising a client in the 2012 Republican primary election. Lloyd Criss is the longtime chairman of the Galveston County Democratic Party. Clark is a Republican.
In the course of investigating Criss's complaint, the investigator obtained and reviewed an image of the hard drive of the county owned computer assigned to Celia Mabry, in Commissioner Clark's office. The investigator discovered several documents and records, which did not appear to be county business, stored on Mabry's computer.
Among the docements were records of political fund raisers conducted by Clark, as well as records which appeared to be bank ledgers and schedules for C.A.R.S. He also found a large number of similar schedules for 'Friends of Ken Clark', a political committee which exists to support the candidacy of Galveston County Commission Ken Clark.
The C.A.R.S. documents listed a P.O. Box in League City which was rented by Keith Dill. The investigator reviewed documents and found that C.A.R.S. is a specific-purpose committee organizaed under the Texas Election Code. The records in the Galveston County Clerk's Office reflected the appointment of the Campaign Treasurer of the committee by Ken Clark as Keith Dill. It further identified the purpose of the committee as being to support a measure of Galveston County Roads and Bonds.
The Texas Election Code prohibits the use of public funds to campaign for or against a measure on the ballot
A bank account for C.A.R.S. was also located by the investigator where committee funds were deposited but not reported as required by the Texas Election Code. The signers on the bank account were Clark and Dill.
When questioned about the bank activities Dill said he never maintained the bank records for the committee, that Celia Mabry did. He said she kept all the records at her county office in the North County Annex Building on Calder Road in League City.
Dill said Mabry actually had prepared all the reports he had filed prior to 2008. She would call him to her county office and he would go there and sign them.
Dill said he and Clark and one other person were the only members of the C.A.R.S and that Clark kept the bank records and was a signer on the account along with him.
While investigating the complaint by Lloyd Criss, another complaint was filed with the District Attorney by former Justice of The Peace Mark Foster. He said that Celia Frances Mabry had admitted to him that she had done adverse campaign research on him at the request of Commissioner Clark.
Foster said he and his wife were attending an event in May 2012, when they were approached by Mabry, whom they have both known for many years. Mabry told Judge Foster she wanted to "level the playing field." When Foster asked what she meant, she said that her boss, Commissioner Clark, had asked her to do research of him to look for dirt to use against him in his race for County Commissioner. Mabry told Foster that Clark had been retained his campaign business, Clark Services, to Consult with Judge Foster's opponent in the race.
Mabry also told Foster she had found information, using her county computer, that Clark intented to use against him. Foster, and his wife Judy, both asked Mabry what documents she was talking about and Mabry told them she found something on the computer which showed Foster used his Justice Court offices to operate a personal business venture. Mabry told Foster she found the information on the Texas Secretary of State's website and that Clark had seen what she found, took the printout and told her he would take it from there.
Learning this, the D.A. Investigator, got the records from the Secretary of State reflecting that Mabry was the user on a Texas Secretary of State website account under the name of Galveston County Commissioner. A list of the entries made on the website by Mabry was obtained as supporting evidence for the complaint filed in Justice Court.
After reviewing the documents and data on Mabry's county computer, he observed a substantial amount of work had been performed on work or business not related to her duties as an employee of Galveston County.
In addition to records for C.A.R.S., documents stored on her computer included financial records and campaign reports of political campaign committees organized to support the election of her immediate supervisor, Commissioner Ken Clark and records of campaing fund raising activities and banking records for events supporting his election.
In addition to the computerized records, the D.A.'s office received several boxes of documents and records which Mabry had maintained in her county office. Many related to fund raising for Clark, internet research of opposing political parties, individuals, dovernment officials, none of which related to her duties as a county employee.
The investigation revealed that Mabry's total employment compensation package from the county in 2012 was $65,678.00. Allowing for four weeks of vacation her hourly rate of compensation was $34.20.
Based on the evidence uncovered by the special investigator working with a special prosecutor in the case, District Attorney Jack Roady today asked that Celia Frances Mabry and Keith Dill both be summoned to appear in court to answer to the complaints.
A spokeperson in Judge Schweitzer's office said these charges are Class C, Misdemeanor charges punishable by a fine up to $500.00. Arrest warrants are not being issued for either person, rather they are being summoned to appear. A date for their appearances has not been set.
CLICK to read complaint filed against Keith Dill
CLICK to read complaint filed against Celia Francis Mabry