Goodrich mayor: "I've never hurt a single individual"

Friday, December 9, 2016
Goodrich mayor
Goodrich mayor defends actions after new charges filed against him.

GOODRICH, TX (KTRK) -- The mayor of Goodrich in Polk County is breaking his silence.

After ABC13 reported Jeremy Harper had been indicted on a number of charges, Harper wanted to respond.

"I thought maybe I could help and make a difference in the community," Harper said.

WATCH ORIGINAL REPORT: Polk County mayor accused of lying about felonies, stealing electricity

Goodrich mayor accused of stealing electricity from the city, among other things.

Harper said he has nothing to hide. He said he decided to run for mayor in 2013 to be a part of the community.

But now, his community has seen him in an orange and white jumpsuit. He turned himself in after he was indicted on two counts of theft and one count of tampering with a government record.

Harper answered the allegations one by one.

Accusation one, stealing electricity from the city to build his home across the street from city hall:

"We extended an extension cord across the street, my carpenters did, just to do the framework," Harper said in response to the charge.

Receipts show he paid $60 to use the city's electricity, he said.

Accusation two, stealing gravel from the city:

"[The ground] was about to collapse and it would have started eating that away," Harper showed our cameras.

Harper said the material was left over from a road project and it would have cost the city more money to dispose of it.

Accusation three, tampering with a government document by lying about prior felonies in Louisiana:

"I was charged with two [felonies], one of which, I was a kid," Harper said. "I was about 20 years old and I had a business and the other was with the county sheriff at the time. I can talk about that at a later date because I honestly don't see this going anywhere because when I took my oath, I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. I wasn't convicted of anything."

Information from the Polk County District Attorney shows Harper's theft charge and issuing a worthless check charge from the 90's were indeed felonies.

Harper claimed he's the victim of small town politics.

"It hurts that people would take advantage of other individuals for political gain or anything else," Harper said.

He hopes the people of Goodrich will stand by him. His term ends in May and plans on running again if found not guilty, he said.