“What I know is that it’s an impropriety,” Jones said. “We clearly have funds that have been spent that are not in accordance with the statute. What I want to do is make sure we fix it so we can move on and conduct business and let law enforcement do their job.”
Jones said he has turned over related documents and information to the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office.
In an email to Community Impact Newspaper, Executive Assistant District Attorney Wesley Wittig said the office's Public Integrity Division cannot confirm what is or is not being investigated until criminal charges have been filed.
In a memo from Jones to City Council, Jones said PEG funds were used for travel-related expenses from October 2018 through February 2019. Federal law stipulates PEG funds must be spent on capital costs for PEG facilities and that a city may not spend PEG revenue on general expenditures.
Jones did not provide any information about the specifics of the expenses or who authorized them, citing the ongoing investigation. However, he said the audit has identified approximately $20,000 in misused funds so far.
Several City Council members, including Council Member Jeffrey Boney, expressed an interest in reviewing the documents provided to the district attorney’s office. Boney asked why he and his fellow council members were not privy to this information.
“As we talk about transparency, I truly believe it's important for us as City Council members to actually see these documents, to know who signed these documents and what these documents contain,” Boney said. “I believe that if those things are as bad as [Jones] states they are and if it warrants going to the D.A., whoever signed these documents definitely needs to be held accountable.”
City Secretary E. Joyce Iyamu, who said she had not seen the documents, stated that she will request the information from the district attorney's office and work with them to determine whether it can be shared with council.
“I certainly understand your desire to want to see this,” Jones said to the council members. “Again, I’m happy to turn whatever over; I just want to make sure that I’m not doing anything that would impair the investigation or violate the law myself.”
Jones said that at a future meeting, council will be asked to approve a budget amendment so that funds can be transferred from the general account into the PEG account to correct the issue. Additionally, he said council could broaden the scope if the current audit or authorize another one to look more thoroughly at the city’s financial statements.
The next Missouri City City Council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 21.