D.A. turns appraisal district probe over to attorney general

October 16, 2013

An investigation of the Hood County Appraisal District is now in the hands of the Texas Attorney General, according to District Attorney Rob Christian.

The D.A.’s office began looking into allegations involving Appraisal District employees, board members and Appraisal Review Board (ARB) chairman Rick Huber back in the summer. The allegations were made by Joe Polino, vice chairman of the ARB.

In late July, Chief Appraiser Greg Stewart provided a written statement to the Hood County News about the accusations.

He denied Polino’s charge that there had been a violation of the Open Meetings Act. As for Polino’s claim that confidential information had been wrongfully shared, Stewart wrote that he was unaware of any such incidents.

Huber and appraiser Jerad Gabbert, who were central to Polino’s claims, declined to comment for a detailed story about the situation that was published in the HCN’s Aug. 3 issue.

Polino, a sworn peace officer, said that he witnessed two possible Class A misdemeanor crimes tied to a property appraisal protest in which the Appraisal Review Board sided in favor of the appellant and against the Appraisal District.

On Friday, Christian sent an email to the HCN in response to an inquiry about the status of the investigation.

“On September 17, I delivered the case to the Office of the Attorney General of Texas for their review,” the email stated. “When they finish their review, I expect to hear from them.”

Class A misdemeanor crimes are punishable by fines of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.

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