Texas Rangers investigate allegations of embezzlement at Seagoville City Hall

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 10:39 PM

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

SEAGOVILLE -- Citizens rallied outside the Seagoville Economic Development Corporation office Monday night for full disclosure in city government.

Inside, a controversy was being discussed that until now has been kept quiet.

At issue is an audit, completed last October but only recently shared with Seagoville City Council, alleging that former head of the development corporation, Rebecca Roberts, had dummied invoices and written checks using taxpayer money that she later used to pay personal bills.

The audit alleges 52 improper transactions, totaling nearly $70,000 over three years. The money was allegedly used to pay her personal American Express bills, her HSBC credit card, house rental payments, and a $6,331 Home Depot tab for installation for carpet.

It's hard to tell the address of the carpet installation because that information was redacted from the report, and Seagoville Mayor Harold Magill is not happy.

"By keeping that audit report redacted and not bringing it to the council's attention, to me, it appears like a cover up," Magill said.

But News 8 has learned the carpet was installed in the home of Seagoville City Manager Larry Graves. Sources confirm Graves and Roberts were living together at the time the carpet was installed.

"It’s totally improper,” Magill said. “They had a relationship they shouldn't have."

City Attorney Bob Hager said he's responsible for the audit redactions.

Hager said he did it because the city manager requested it. The city manager has reportedly not repaid the money.

“At some point in time, I think he would, yes," Hager said.

Hager also said he drafted a press release from the city, saying the city council is fully aware of the allegations and that "to date, there is not any evidence to support any misconduct by any other City official."

The draft release, which was never distributed, includes a quote from the mayor clearing the city manager. It said the council "finds the Executive Staff of the city to be beyond reproach."

“None of these quotes in here are my quotes,” Magill said. “I was never contacted, never had any input whatsoever."

City Attorney Hager, however, told News 8 he did speak to the mayor in order to get the quotes. As for the City Manager, he declined to comment to News 8.

By phone, Rebecca Roberts said the payments in question were a mistake she made while recovering from cancer.

Hager said no actions can be taken until the Texas Rangers conclude a criminal investigation.

Whatever the story, some residents are in search of the truth and upset it's allegedly being covered up.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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