Seagoville mayor wants city manager on leave during criminal probe

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 7:45 PM

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

SEAGOVILLE — The mayor of Seagoville said he is facing retaliation for calling out his city manager on News 8 Monday night.

Mayor Harold Magill said he thought he was doing the right thing by demanding to see a copy of an audit completed last October that accused the former head of the Seagoville Economic Development Corporation, Rebecca Roberts, of embezzling $70,000 of taxpayer money.

Roberts has denied the allegation.

Mayor Magill thought he was right to ask questions about how $6,300 of that money was used to lay carpet in the home of Seagoville City Manager Larry Graves. Graves and Roberts were living together at the time.

Magill said he thought it was the right thing to do to expose what he said was an attempt by Seagoville City Attorney Bob Hager to cover it all up.

"The only thing I've done is ask the tough questions that no one else seemed to want to ask,” Magill said.

On Tuesday morning, Magill took another tough step.

He is asking that the Seagoville City Council consider putting Graves on paid leave pending the outcome of an ongoing Texas Rangers criminal investigation.

Just minutes after requesting a formal review of the city manager's role in the scandal, Mayor Magill got a surprise: A request from another City Council member seeking his personal e-mail and phone records.

Specifically, the request is for conversations and correspondence between the mayor and his supporters, who were seen demonstrating for greater transparency Monday night at a city Economic Development Corporation meeting.

The Council member requesting his records, Terri Ashmore, did not return our call for an explanation as to why she wants the mayor's private records.

The mayor suspects City Attorney Bob Hager is behind it.

"I expected it, yeah,” Magill said, “especially from the city attorney. I’ve received several threatening comments from him. I think this is retaliation for speaking out."

Yet on the same day the mayor chose to speak out, the current head of the Economic Development Corporation issued a news release making public something that had been kept quiet for five months.

The release informed taxpayers that $70,000 of their money had allegedly been embezzled by one of their own.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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