Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has fired a staff member who he says siphoned off funds to spend on himself.
Ed Emmett said the funds allegedly diverted by the employee, Kirk Boudreaux, were not county funds but instead involved Emmett's nonprofit organization that helps put on a trade show each year.
"I was sickened to learn that a member of my staff appears to have stolen a substantial amount of money from a corporation I set up to benefit the residents of Harris County," Emmett said. "I have spoken frequently and forcefully of the need for openness and honesty in Harris County government, and my own staff is no exception. As soon as I learned of this incident, I fired the employee responsible, reported the incident to the proper legal authorities and am now informing the public."
Emmett said "the next step is for Mr. Boudreaux to repay every penny to HC Events and then face the legal consequences. I want to assure the taxpayers of Harris County that absolutely NO public money was involved in this case."
He said he discovered the discrepancy during a review of the books for the Harris County Trade and Transportation Conference and discovered charges for Boudreaux to take cruises and go to Las Vegas.
Emmett told the Houston Chronicle that Boudreaux has begun paying the money back but still owes $40,000.
Boudreaux has worked for Emmett as his Budget and Finance Advisor since 2007.
In a statement issued about the incident, the judge's office said, " Emmett immediately called District Attorney Pat Lykos to inform her of what he had learned, and the district attorney's office is now in charge of the case."