DA: No criminal charges against Jolanda Jones

Houston City Council Member Jolanda Jones was accused of using city resources to support her private law practice.

September 20, 2011 2:37:24 PM PDT
Houston City Council Member Jolanda Jones will not be facing any criminal charges following an Office of Inspector General report that alleged she used city equipment and time for her private law practice. Harris County DA Pat Lykos says that there wasn't enough evidence of wrongdoing to pursue anything criminal. [Read letter from Lykos]

It all started earlier this year when Jones passed out flyers describing her law practice that had her city hall phone number on it. That led to complaints and an official OIG investigation was launched.

Since then, OIG published its findings, which said she used city property and city time to conduct her private law practice.

That prompted a three-member panel review, which includes the mayor, and later the OIG forwarded its findings to the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

"From the start, I have maintained that when the facts came to light, I would have acted within the acceptable standards of conduct and was always confident that the District Attorney would come to the same conclusion," Council Member Jones said in a statement.

The three-person review board will still meet to determine if Council Member Jones acted unethically. But Houston Mayor Annise Parker says they'll put off those discussions until after the November elections.

FULL STATEMENT FROM JOLANDA JONES

    From the start, I have maintained that when the facts came to light, I would have acted within the acceptable standards of conduct and was always confident that the District Attorney would come to the same conclusion. In the face of baseless accusations, I cooperated, was truthful, respectfully observed the city's questionable process and consistently maintained the confidentiality that was required by the Mayor.

    I have never used my role as a council member to benefit anything or anyone other than the people I was elected to serve.

    It is time for all of us to put this distraction aside and focus on the significant challenges this city faces. I am again asking that the Review Panel bring this matter to a close.

    As a council member, I have worked to expand economic opportunities and equality for all Houstonians. I negotiated a water rate and drainage fee that provided for increased fairness to the poor, seniors and the disabled and advocated for property rights and flooding mitigation across the city. I pushed for city leaders to recognize the will of the voters and turn off red-light cameras and I supported aggressive change for BARC and spoke up against police brutality. I have never backed down from a fight for what I believe is in the best interest of Houston and I will continue to work hard for positive change.

    I want to take this opportunity to thank my family, my friends and the many Houstonians that have stood by me and never waivered in their support. I want to thank Lori Hood and Vivian King for their exceptional legal counsel throughout this process. I want to especially thank Council Member Bradford for his dedication to conducting the Review Panel fairly and ethically.

    I have never lost sight of the needs of our citizens and I take very seriously my role as an advocate for the people of Houston. I will always take a stand on important issues and I will never stop speaking up for citizens that have no voice at city hall. I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor and my fellow council members to address the issues we were elected to resolve.