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Harris County commissioners outline how officials may be paid legal fees

HARRIS COUNTY (KTRK) – Harris County commissioners on Tuesday adopted a policy outlining how county officials can get a refund of taxpayer money’s legal fees if they are involved in a criminal matter. criminal subject. In each case, a claim will still have to go before the commissioner’s court and can only be awarded if the individual is not guilty, prosecuted, or if the case has been dismissed.

“The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to county officials and employees in presenting a claim for payment of legal fees and expenses incurred in connection with a criminal investigation.” according to approved county documents. “County officials and employees are not authorized to pay such fees and expenses from the County. Rather, this policy sets forth requirements that must be met before such requests will be added to the program. submit the meeting for the Court Commissioner to consider and vote.”

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office told 13 Investigators state law has authorized county employees to be paid “reasonable legal costs” for criminal investigations related to the officer’s duties with the county. . The policy only outlines the guidelines that must be met before a payment can be considered.

For example, if a county official receives a subpoena asking them to participate in a criminal investigation and hires an attorney to represent them, their legal fees may be refunded if the investigation is complete. and they are not prosecuted or charged.

To obtain payment of legal fees, the county official or employee must contact First Assistant Harris County District Attorney to ensure that they are eligible for reimbursement and have documentation, such as such as copies of legal bills. The claim for payment will then be added to the regular meeting of the court commissioner and subject to their approval.

SEE ALSO: Harris County Attorney Requests Documents On County’s $11 Million Vaccine Contract

In November, 13 Investigators learned that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office had issued subpoenas for documents from multiple Harris County offices.

The DA’s office requested 11 months of records from county commissioners on how the $11 million vaccine access contract was selected. Widespread inquiries not only ask about the winning company but also other bidders.

The $11 million contract was awarded to Elevate Strategies, a small Houston company led by a woman with political ties to several court members. It is designed to reach unvaccinated people in Harris County to convince them to get vaccinated. After controversy broke out over how and to whom the deal was awarded, the deal was dropped.

The county is still paying thousands of dollars for the deal when it ends.

An email sent to Advanced Strategy Tuesday afternoon was not returned. We asked the Harris County DA’s office for an update, but they said they could not comment on the case.

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https://abc13.com/harris-county-commissioners-legal-fees-taxpayer-funds-reimbursement-for/11425501/ Harris County commissioners outline how officials may be paid legal fees

Dais Johnston

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