New Misdemeanor Charges Filed Against 3 Upshur County Elected Officials
BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER -- New misdemeanor charges were filed Tuesday against three Upshur County officials already facing other misdemeanor charges.
Sheriff Anthony Betterton and Precinct 3 County Commissioner Lloyd Crabtree were charged with "gift to a public servant" -- a class A misdemeanor -- stemming from an allegation that they solicited, accepted, or agreed to accept free legal representation from a certain attorney.
Meantime, County Judge Dean Fowler was charged with Violation of Local Government Code Section 171.004.
The charge -- similar to one filed against Fowler recently and then dismissed by the prosecution -- alleges misconduct concerning a $1.43-million loan to the county from First National Bank of Gilmer.
The charge states that Fowler failed to file an affidavit with the County Clerk's Office concerning his "substantial interest" in the bank, and that he failed to abstain from participating in certain business involving the loan.
All three officials were already facing misdemeanor charges in connection with the Nov. 30 removal of a man from a meeting of the Upshur County Commissioners Court.
An independent prosecutor, Longview attorney Rick Hagan, is handling the cases. Attorneys and parties in the original cases are under a court-imposed gag order.