Dallas County EMA director arrested on ethics charges

Published 4:06 pm Thursday, June 4, 2015

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Abbott

Dallas County Emergency Management Agency Director Rhonda Abbott and her husband, Bryan Johnson, were arrested Thursday for allegedly stealing $20,000 from the Selma-Dallas County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad.

The couple’s arrest came after an investigation into missing funds from the fire and rescue squad over an undisclosed period of time.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted Abbott and Johnson on multiple ethics charges. Abbott and Johnson were both charged with using their office for personal gain, first-degree theft of property and misapplication of property.

Abbott has been the EMA director for Dallas County since February 2011. According to Dallas County District Attorney Michael Jackson, Johnson was a firefighter for the Selma-Dallas County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad.

Johnson

Johnson

Abbott resigned Thursday from her position as EMA director, according to Dallas County Commission Chairman Kim Ballard.

“It is unfortunate. Rhonda was a very valuable employee,” Ballard said. “I consider her one of the most important employees we had.”

The theft and ethics charges are both Class B felonies and punishable up to two to 20 years in prison. The misapplication charge is a misdemeanor.

Jackson said Abbott used her work computer to pay personal bills and other expenses. The money was discovered missing after a routine audit was performed on the fire and rescue squad.

“There had been an audit, and when they noticed the money was gone, they contacted the Selma Police Department,” Jackson said.

Abbot and Johnson were arrested Thursday and were each booked in the Dallas County jail on $50,000 bonds. Abbott and Johnson both made bond, according to Jackson.