County employee resigns, blaming boss for publicity

February 2, 2013

by kathy cruz

The county employee who last summer phoned three judges the night her daughter was arrested for DWI has quit her job, blaming her boss for the matter having been publicized in the newspaper.

Natalie Matthews, a 13-year employee in the District Clerk’s office, resigned last week. The letter she gave her boss, District Clerk Tonna Hitt, blamed Hitt for the publicity that resulted from her daughter being released within minutes of her arrest.

“When the incident involving my daughter occurred and I came to you in confidence with information concerning the events that took place, I never dreamed you would take the opportunity to betray my confidence by going to the newspaper,” Matthews’ resignation letter states.

“Needless to say I was devastated and hurt that you would betray me and my family. The incident with my daughter had nothing to do with me, my job or your office. In fact had you kept what I had told you in confidence, there would have been no story in the newspaper at all.”

Shortly after the incident, the Hood County News received an anonymous handwritten message and an anonymous online submission to Soundoff raising questions of favoritism toward the county employee and her daughter. Hitt denies sending either message. She said that a number of people knew about the situation, including another county employee whose own daughter had once been arrested for DWI, but had to spend the night in jail.

In Camille Matthews’ case, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Martin Castillo went to the Law Enforcement Center (LEC) after 2 a.m. on Sunday, July 8, to do a special arraignment for her. He did so after receiving a phone call from Natalie Matthews. The arraignment allowed the law student to sleep in her own bed instead of a jail cell.

Arrests are public record and can be found online. Camille Matthews’ mug shot was posted on the website of the Hood County Sheriff’s Office.

Hitt stated when contacted by the Hood County News last summer that she had known nothing of the incident until days later. She said she was angry that one of her employees had appeared to seek special treatment.

A trial for Camille Matthews is scheduled for early March. In addition to the Class B misdemeanor DWI charge, she also faces a Class A misdemeanor count of unlawful carrying of a handgun.

Camille has a license to carry a handgun, according to sources, but the DWI arrest made it illegal for her to have the weapon in her possession. She could face up to a year in jail on the weapons charge, as well as fines for both offenses.

the ex files

Hitt said that a copy of Natalie Matthews’ letter was delivered to the county personnel office – she believes by Camille Matthews – at the same time Natalie was informing her of her resignation.

The Hood County News obtained the letter from the Personnel Office through an Open Records request. The newspaper also obtained documentation pertaining to a written reprimand Matthews received on July 23 for alleged sexual harassment involving a male employee in the IT department.

The reprimand was the result of an anonymous letter supposedly sent from an employee in the District Clerk’s office. The letter was dated July 20. It alleged inappropriate behavior between Natalie Matthews and the male employee while computer monitors were being installed in that office. Hitt reportedly was not present when the alleged incident occurred.

In a written statement, Natalie Matthews denied that anything inappropriate occurred. Her resignation letter to Hitt states: “I came to you on many occasions fearful that someone was trying to find a reason to fire me.”

the traffic stop

The incident involving Camille Matthews occurred late in the evening of Saturday, July 7, and in the early morning hours of July 8.

The young woman refused a field sobriety test after she was pulled over by State Trooper Thomas Anderson on South Morgan Street shortly after she and her mother left Rio Brazos Music Hall. County Court-at-Law Judge Vincent Messina signed a blood warrant forcing Camille to have her blood drawn for testing at Lake Granbury Medical Center.

Shortly before his retirement at the first of the year, County Attorney Kelton Conner acknowledged that his office had received the results of that blood test.

In late October, a judge in Fort Worth temporarily revoked Camille Matthews’ drivers license during an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing.

Natalie Matthews, who had been driving the car just ahead of Camille’s, told the Hood County News last summer that she never used her boss’s name in an effort to get special treatment for her daughter.

“I didn’t ask anybody to do any special favors,” she said.

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