Authorities withdraw arrest warrant for school superintendent

Elena Watts By Elena Watts

July 8, 2014 at 2:08 a.m.

An arrest warrant issued last week for Calhoun County Superintendent Billy Wiggins was rescinded Tuesday after the school district's attorney asked the court to repeal its decision.

At issue is Wiggins' failure to file financial disclosures - a Class C misdemeanor - involving transactions between the school district and a company that employs his wife, Gayla Wiggins.

Calhoun County ISD purchased products and services from lead4ward, a company that sells supplemental State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness resources.

At a June 25 meeting, Calhoun County ISD board members met in a closed session to discuss the allegations against Wiggins and determined no other action was necessary.

"(Wiggins) did not file an affidavit required by law," said Port Lavaca Police Detective Josh Smith. "All the requirements were met (to issue the arrest warrant)."

Wiggins admitted his guilt when he filed the disclosure affidavit after he committed the violation, Smith said.

Anne Marie Odefey, the school district's attorney, said Wiggins told her Monday that an arrest warrant had been issued against him "for failure to disclose a substantial business relationship."

"I have since been advised that the warrant had been withdrawn by the judge who issued the warrant," Odefey said, "and I have informed the board president and board members."

Smith obtained the financial documents from the school district and a W-2 statement from Wiggins' wife during his investigation of the initial complaint, which was made in mid-June by the Texas Classroom Teachers Association.

District Judge Juergen "Skipper" Koetter signed the warrant Thursday afternoon.

"They brought it to me on the weekend," Koetter said. "There was probable cause of wrongdoing, and the proper affidavit was attached."

Smith informed Wiggins about the warrant Monday morning, at which time Wiggins agreed to surrender by 5 p.m.

However, Wiggins did not follow through on his promise, Smith said.

Smith called and left messages for the superintendent Tuesday morning at his home, on his mobile phone and at his office.

"His office said he wasn't in today," Smith said. "And he never returned my calls."

About 2:15 p.m. Tuesday the Calhoun County District Attorney's office informed Smith that a petition was filed to rescind the warrant. Koetter said Odefey filed the petition.

"District Court doesn't fool with Class C misdemeanors," Koetter said. "I thought it was a Class A misdemeanor because of the amount involved."

"I'm not sure what persuaded the judge to rescind the warrant," Smith said. "This has been confusing for us."

Calhoun County Criminal District Attorney Dan Heard said the violation was not a typical case dealt with daily by the police department.

Heard was not involved in the decision to seek a warrant, and therefore, was not opposed to recalling it, he said. The police department used lower standards of probable cause than would the district attorney's office, he said.

About 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Smith left Port Lavaca for a meeting in Victoria with Koetter. The judge requested that Smith return the warrant and the probable cause statement to his office.

The investigation is ongoing, Heard said.



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