No charges recommended for Commissioners Butler and Perry

Ellis County Commissioners Kyle Butler, Precinct 4, and Paul Perry, Precinct 3.

ELLIS COUNTY — The investigation into road material purchases made by Ellis County Commissioners Kyle Butler and Paul Perry appears to be over after Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney Erleigh Wiley recommended no charges be filed.

A press release from Wiley's office states:

"KAUFMAN, TX: The Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office was appointed as Attorney Pro Tem on March 21, 2016 by the 40th Judicial District Court in Ellis County to investigate and prosecute alleged competitive bidding violations.

The Texas Rangers investigated allegations relating to the violation of the competitive bidding process, which is governed by the Local Government Code, Section 262.

After reviewing the investigation and the pertinent statutes in this matter, the Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office does not recommend criminal prosecution in this matter at this time. The Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney’s Office recommends that Ellis County provide training and education regarding its purchasing and auditing procedures in response to the investigation.

The Office thanks the trial team and its investigative partner, the Texas Rangers, for their work on these cases."

The investigation revolved around road sealant purchases made in January. The combined purchases made by Butler's department and Perry's department exceeded $100,000. State law requires that purchases exceeding $50,000 must be placed for public competitive bid.

Perry's attorney, Mark Griffith, previously told the Ellis County Press that Perry had previously directed his then foreman to order three batches of 2,000 gallons rather than the 10 batches the foreman ordered.

According to the same April 22 Ellis County Press article, "Griffith also claims it was the Purchasing Department’s job to red flag any possibly improper purchases."

Griffith also stated he believed the complaint against the commissioners was politically motivated.

"I don’t know where it started, but I don’t think anybody that sits in on the Commissioners Court misses the relationship between Carol Bush and Paul Perry," Griffith told the Ellis County Press. "Paul Perry every now and then pushes back, and I believe this is politically motivated. She got investigated and I think there’s a political vendetta. I really do."

Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson told the Ellis County Press that the information was presented to his office from a "variety of sources."