Grand jury Won’t Indict Former Kemah Mayor
By T.J. AULDS | Posted: Friday, September 12, 2014 12:00 am
KEMAH — Matt Wiggins won’t face any charges related to a grand jury probe into land transactions that took place when he was mayor. A Galveston County grand jury declined to issue an indictment in an investigation that started with a raid on city hall a year ago.
Earlier this year, a federal court judge ruled that Wiggins wouldn’t face federal charges in connection to a similar investigation.
Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady confirmed the grand jury’s decision.
The grand jury reviewed complaints that Wiggins took advantage of his position as mayor and the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008 to acquire damaged property for himself. Wiggins was accused of directing city building officials to condemn certain properties so he could acquire them on the cheap.
On Thursday, the Galveston County grand jury that was looking into the allegations declined to charge Wiggins. The Galveston County District Attorney’s Office presented the case without a recommendation for charges, Wiggins’ attorney, Paul Doyle, said.
“The fundamental problem with this case was there has to be a crime to start with and, in this particular case, there wasn’t,” Doyle said. “It is unfortunate that the political animosity carried over and turned out to be a waste of taxpayer dollars.”
Doyle pointed a lot of the blame on Mayor Bob Cummins, who unseated Wiggins in 2011 and won a rematch last year.
It was a post on the city’s website by Cummins that revealed there was an investigation into Wiggins’ activity.
The mayor denied any connection to the complaints or investigation.
“I don’t have pee-diddly squat to do with any of this,” Cummins said. “I don’t have the ability to order the (district attorney) or federal authorities to conduct an investigation. Other than when I was questioned in connection to all of Matt’s lawsuits, I have never been a part of any of this.”
Wiggins insists the accusations were part of a “political assassination attempt by people with no regard for the truth.”
“I am relieved for this ordeal to be over,” Wiggins said. “I am still saddened by what these people have done to the town I love.”
Cummins agreed that the rancor created by the accusations and investigations had not been good for the city.
He said he was not sure the grand jury’s decision will be the end of it, though.
“You would think after three years this would be all behind us,” he said. “But it is like the bad gift that keeps on giving.”
Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at 409-683-5334 or firstname.lastname@example.org.