Dean Carrell, Italy public works director, stole $20K from Sonora, Texas in 2009

Image: Mug shot from arrest 12/2010

Mug shot from arrest 12/2010

Dean Carrell, Italy’s public works director, was convicted of felony theft while serving as City Manager of Sonora, Texas. Records obtained by the Italy Neotribune reveal that Carrell pled guilty on December 13, 2011 to a second degree felony of theft as a public servant. Carrell’s plea agreement was a ten year suspended sentence, eight years probation, $1000 fine, 240 hours community service, $249 court costs, and $20,000 in restitution.

According to the report, Carrell requested a subcontractor to bump up the price of a sewer inspection job by $20,000 and give it back to Carrell. The [contractor] agreed to increasing the amount billed the city and give the kickback because, “I was technically broke at the time and needed the invoice to be approved in order to continue work on the project, so I agreed.”

“I waited 4 days so that I could accomplish more of the job and then submitted a revised invoice for 35% of the job,” said [the contractor] in his official statement. “I paid [Carrell] $10,000 in cash. I later paid $5,000 to each of two of his workers as directed to do so by [Carrell].”

[The contractor] states the reason for the kickbak, “[Carrell] then indicated to me that he felt he performed a lot of hard work in getting the City’s sewer system in compliance and that he deserved some money for all of his efforts.”

Carrell’s job as Sonora’s city manager paid a $65,000 salary, plus a $500 a month car allowance, outside city travel mileage reimbursement, and a city provided home.

It all started in September 2009, Sonora’s then mayor Jed Davenport requested the Texas Rangers investigate Carrell. Carrell’s son had been arrested by the Sutton County Sheriff’s office. From that arrest it was uncovered and reported to Davenport that the son worked with [the contractor] on the city’s water improvement project. Davenport suspected the bid process wasn’t followed correctly.

Further investigation found that Carrell’s daughter’s boyfriend also worked for [the contractor].

It was determined that the bid for inspecting the sewer system was awarded to [the contractor] without the approval of the Sonora City Council.

Other allegations included Carrell asking for cash advances for city related travel for training, obtaining the money, then charging the expenses to the city credit card anyway. He was also accused of purchasing auto parts for his private vehicle using city funds.

Interestingly he was also accused of using a marked police car to travel on city business “so other police units would not stop him while driving over the speed limit to and from other cities.” The former police chief denied that Carrell used marked police cruisers to travel. However, the current police chief at the time of the investigation said that Carrell did use marked police cars on occasion.

Charges were dismissed for the two workers who received $5,000. Charges were also later dismissed by the court for [the contractor].

Update 4/24/2014: Contractor name and company name redacted after further information regarding their court status was revealed to this reporter. Information regarding Carrell’s probation was added to the story.

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