Montgomery County leaders under grand jury scrutiny...again

You may not be able to see it, but times are mighty tense at Montgomery County Commissioner's Court.

That's because two or more of its members are again under grand jury scrutiny for malfeasance and abuse of power.

If probable cause is found, criminal indictments could come as soon as Thursday.

"I think there's overwhelming evidence of the collusion and criminal activity that has gone on for years," said Ginger Russell, Montgomery County resident and political activist.

FOX 26 has learned a substantial part of the inquiry is focused on Commissioner Charlie Riley and activity at his Precinct 2 headquarters. That's where county employees are alleged to have worked on private vehicles and large BBQ pits owned by Commissioner Riley and County Judge Craig Doyle are stored on county property.

Pct. 2 candidate Greg Parker hopes voters have seen enough to replace Riley.

"Unfortunately, some people have seen this as an abusive pattern and it needs to stop," said Parker.

Back in October, self-described anti-corruption crusaders Russell and Kelli Cook claim they caught Riley in the act.

"There's a Magnolia ISD box truck loading up the band equipment for Commissioner Riley's fund raiser," says Cook broadcasting live on Facebook while staking out a Riley campaign event.

Russell and Cook allege the video is proof Magnolia ISD Superintendent Todd Stephens, who happens to be in the commissioner's country band, allowed Riley to use the school district's truck and labor force to transport the group's musical equipment to a campaign kick-off party.

Riley openly admits to the highly improper loan while addressing his crowd on stage.

"Dr. Todd Stephens gave us or let us borrow a couple of guys from Magnolia ISD, maintenance guys help us load this equipment up and move it around from place to place," said Riley.

The video is now in the hands of prosecutors. Riley contends he actually rented the school district truck and has committed no wrongdoing.

Activist Cook strongly disagrees.

"Official abuse of power, they are misusing public funds in an election. If the grand jury doesn't hold them accountable than the voters need to," said Cook.

"There was no violation of the law by the district," said Denise Meyers, spokesperson for Magnolia ISD.

Repeated calls to Commissioner Riley for comment have not yet been returned.

While the grand jury term of service in this case will be complete by year’s end, it may be extended into 2018. 

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