Spring, Texas – January 29th, 2018: Spring Happenings has been following developments out of the Emergency Services District #11 on a new policy that allows commissioners to request reimbursement for their personal criminal defense attorney fees.
The policy was unanimously approved by commissioners and subsequently adopted back in October 2017.
At this time, the commissioners of ESD #11 and Cypress Creek EMS are being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the possible misuse of tax dollars and for possible campaign finance violations from the 2016 ESD election. The commissioners have received criminal grand jury subpoenas from the FBI in connection with the ongoing investigation.
Since the policy was approved in October, over $13,000 in taxpayer dollars have been paid out to commissioners, including one former commissioner, Lynn LeBouef. This is in addition to $19,348.86 paid out in November and $10,324.50 in an unpaid balance due to lawyers representing the ESD corporately. The majority of these fees went to the representation of the ESD in the ongoing FBI investigation.
Today we spoke with ESD #11 President Tom Ripley on the phone and asked if he thought this was a good use of taxpayer money. “I would wish that we didn’t have to pay these out, but there are accusations being made against Cypress Creek [EMS] and the ESD that we can’t control, we can only defend.”
Harris County Emergency Services District #11 is the taxing entity that contracts 911 ambulance service to Cypress Creek EMS. ESD #11 represents over 540,000 residents and covers 177 square miles of North Harris County.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that the use of taxpayer funding to personally represent ESD commissioners in a criminal case is ethical? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook page.