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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Councilwoman Used City Resources for Reality TV Audition

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Councilwoman Linda Harvell auditioned for the reality TV show Worst Cooks in America on Food Network in January 2019. Documents obtained through an open records request show Harvell used a city employee and equipment to create the audition video.

The winner of the Worst Cooks in America competition receives a $25,000 cash prize and a Food Network cooking set. Email records show that Harvell planned to keep half of the prize money and donate the other half to the Fun For All Playground.

Unfortunately for Harvell, any use of city property for personal gain is against Texas law. Texas Municipal League highlights this issue in their publication:

Abuse of Official Capacity Law

A public servant may not intentionally or knowingly, with the intent to obtain a benefit or harm or defraud another, misuse government property, services, personnel or other thing of value belonging to the government that has come into the public servant’s custody or possession by virtue of his office or employment.

A former CSPD officer confirmed that the emails appear to show that Harvell violated this statue. Depending on the value of equipment used and the city employee’s time, Harvell may have committed a Class A misdemeanor offense. The open records request did not generate any records relating to any action taken by the city to launch a law enforcement investigation.

Contact your representatives

Send an email detailing the allegation to the Public Corruption Unit of the Texas Rangers rangers@dps.texas.gov

To contact Karl Mooney, contact the city at 979.764.3500 or email kmooney@cstx.gov

To make written comments for College Station City Council or to speak to the Council, fill out the comment form on the Council website. https://www.cstx.gov/departments___city_hall/council/comments

Sources:

Video Obtained from ORR

Documents Obtained by ORR – Harvell Explanation , Mooney Email

https://www.tml.org/DocumentCenter/View/110/Understanding-Your-Personal-Liability-as-a-City-Official–A-Primer-PDF

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