Bribery charges pending against city secretary
The Ellis County Press
BARDWELL - City Secretary Shannon Spurgeon was accused of trying to lower a resident’s water bill in exchange for a puppy, according to a taped phone conversation obtained by The Ellis County Press.
The tape, given to this reporter after the city’s contentious April 7 meeting, described how Spurgeon tried to obtain a dog from the resident, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation.
In exchange for the dog, of which the resident would not give away, Spurgeon was alleged to have offered to cut her water bill.
The dog, a Chihuahua belonging to the resident’s daughter, was found at Spurgeon’s residence after wandering throughout town after escaping from a loose gate on the resident’s property. Spurgeon is the wife of Bardwell Police Chief Michael Spurgeon, who told this reporter after Monday’s city council meeting "my wife has no comment" when confronted with the allegations.
The resident said when she attempted to retrieve the dog, Spurgeon attempted to bribe her, saying they had already given the dog a bath, and that she was attached to the dog.
The monthly water bill for the resident was 8,000 gallons, she said, at which she told Spurgeon there was "no way" that amount was used.
She said Spurgeon repeatedly offered to reduce her water bill if given the dog.
Fearing a citation for a loose dog, the resident reportedly told Spurgeon not to tell her police chief husband.
The updated water bill did not reflect the higher bill price, though Spurgeon is not bonded to accept fines, fees or payments.
When confronted with the issue and the audio tape at May 5’s meeting, Spurgeon refused comment. She told her husband after the meeting had adjourned, "Mike, get him away from me." Chief Spurgeon then said that she had no comment, and came towards the reporters to escort them out of the building.
Mayor P.W. "Jinker" Gentry then rushed this newspaper’s staff out of the building and slammed the door.
As Gentry and other city officials were walking out of city hall, they refused repeated requests for comment about the allegations of public corruption involving Spurgeon.
Gentry, as he was leaving, appeared as if he was going to run over the group of reporters in the parking lot of Bardwell City Hall.
According to the Texas Penal Code, bribery is a second degree felony offense, punishable by two to twenty years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. A criminal attempt to commit bribery is a third degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison, and/or a $10,000 fine.
As this matter may constitute a criminal offense, The Ellis County Press has chosen not to identify the citizen, as charges are possibly pending against Spurgeon with this citizen being a victim of the alleged offense.
The Ellis County Press obtained an audio tape of a citizen detailing an alleged bribery offense involving Shannon Spurgeon, Bardwell City Secretary. In addition to this audio tape, an interview was conducted with the citizen on April 7, 2008. Below is a link to the audio provided to The Ellis County Press.
Click this link to hear the audio tape we have received: