NEWS HEADLINES

Commissioner investigated for theft

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, February 8, 2012

STRUCTURE SEIZED - A child's playhouse is loaded onto a trailer at the residence of Precinct 4 Commissioner Terry Ross Tuesday afternoon. It was seized after a search warrant was issued about 2:30 p.m. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A playhouse was seized at the home of Precinct 4 County Commissioner Terry Ross Tuesday afternoon as part of a theft investigation.

Terry Ross

Texas Rangers executed a search warrant at the Ross home, just off Farm Road 920 on County Road 3741, in Boonsville and according to the warrant, it was built with materials paid for by Wise County taxpayers.

The Messenger acquired the warrant, which is public record, Wednesday morning.

Texas Rangers James Hicks and Jim Holland interviewed Ross, and according to the warrant, Ross admitted that materials were billed to Wise County and that county employees worked on the playhouse on county time.

The warrant says, “During the interview, Commissioner Ross stated he utilized supplies purchased by himself and a county employee using Wise County funds to build a playhouse intended for his grandchildren. Ross and multiple county employees stated the playhouse was built in the Wise County Precinct 4 county-owned barn.

“During the interview, Ross admitted that county employees completed work on the playhouse while being paid by Wise County.”

Tuesday afternoon a string of law enforcement vehicles and trucks hauling equipment from the county’s Public Works Department arrived about 2:30 p.m. at the commissioner’s home.

No one answered the door, and Ross had not returned a call seeking comment as of noon Wednesday.

Public works employees and an inmate work crew dismantled exterior features of the camouflage structure, which was located under a nearby tree.

Neighbors’ dogs barked as a climbing wall was pulled from the side. Investigators removed a paintball gun and a small refrigerator from inside before using a front-end loader to remove the structure from its stilts.

It was loaded on a trailer and hauled from the site.

The search warrant was filed with the district clerk’s office. Investigators on scene declined to comment.

Ross was first elected in 2002. He defeated two-term Democratic incumbent Paul Wood. In 2006, Ross defeated Democrat Kenneth Fuqua.

Wood changed parties and ran against Ross in the 2010 Republican primary. Ross won that election 944 to 862.

The Messenger will post more details as they are available online at WCMessenger.com.

Affidavit, page 1

Affidavit, page 2

Affidavit, page 3

Email Kristen at ktribe@wcmessenger.com. Follow her on Twitter @WCMtribe.

6 Responses to “Commissioner investigated for theft”

  1. He should resign immediately and be arrested for theft. It’s just plain wrong. he violated public trust and should no longer be allowed to be a county commissioner

  2. I agree with the previous comment. If it was someone else they would have been arrested. He needs to be prosecuted just like if it was any other person. By the way who turned him in or said anything about this?

  3. says:

    I agree, Terry Ross should be removed from office and prosecuted for theft and for abusing his position for personal gain. As much power these commissioners have, we need a better quality person in that job.

  4. I have known Terry for many years. He is a good father, grandfather, husband. It appears he has admitted to this, and though I have not talked to him and his wife Kelly, for a long time I know he will do the right thing. For all we know this may have been a temptation because other officials have done the same. I’m not saying its right. Clearly it was a stupid thing to do and we all have done something stupid.

  5. Any breach of trust by any elected official should must result in immediate termination. For all we know, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Regardless of whether or not others have done this, Mr. Ross is responsible for his own actions. The fact that now his attorney is contradicting what Mr. Ross told the Texas Rangers in the investigation makes this even more despicable. Mr. Ross needs to step down now and be prosecuted for what he did.

  6. says:

    trying to justify his auctions by what others have done, not a good thing. not good at all.
    send him packing.

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