Conroe, July 26 – In May, 2018, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office – Public Integrity Division received an anonymous complaint regarding an alleged incident involving Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Captain Damon Hall using county resources for personal use. The allegation was that during Tropical Storm Harvey, Captain Hall had a gas generator transported to his residence as an emergency stand-by in the event that his residence lost power. During this time, Captain Hall was out-of-state attending a training seminar with the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy as part of his employment. Captain Hall is the designated Homeland Security supervisor for MCSO which was activated during this period. Further investigation found that, although the generator was dispatched to Captain Hall’s private residence, it was not utilized by his family, because they did not experience a loss of power when the Hurricane made landfall. In the days following Harvey, the generator was returned back to the MCSO in its original condition.
In Texas, a public servant commits an offense if, with intent to obtain a benefit, he intentionally or knowingly misuses government property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value belonging to the government that has come into the public servant’s custody or possession by virtue of the public’s servants office or employment. Misuse, as defined by the Texas Penal Code, means to deal with the property contrary to an agreement, a contract of employment, a law, or the limited purpose for which the property is delivered or received.
That is a practice in which Montgomery County government employees constantly engage and for which the District Attorney does not prosecute them. The practice has been particularly severe in Commissioners Precinct 2 where County Commissioner Charlie Riley and former County Commissioner Craig Doyal regularly have utilized County property, services, and personnel for campaign and other personal use. Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon closed an investigation into those practices without bringing the matter before the Montgomery County Grand Jury.
Public Integrity Investigators learned that the previous administration of the Sheriff’s Office – under former Sheriff Tommy Gage, a close friend and associate of Riley – failed to require proper documentation or establish cogent policies in many areas such as MCSO Fleet Operations that had no process or procedures for county employees who are checking out and using county owned equipment that MCSO keeps in its possession. The use of county owned equipment in Fleet Operations was rampant, but the District Attorney chose not to prosecute in that regard either.
In addition, the investigation determined that, although Captain Hall’s use of the generator and failure to follow proper chain of command was not in keeping with best practice standards, his conduct was not criminal.
On July 18, 2018, our Investigators received information from Sheriff Rand Henderson that Hall will receive 3 days off with no pay for administrative violations associated with this investigation. Ligon closed the investigation without further action.