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