The Bertram police chief has asked the Texas attorney general's office for assistance in investigating allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit that the city's mayor violated the city charter and state law.
Police Chief Ron Hall confirmed that he forwarded results of a preliminary investigation to the attorney general's office after former city treasurer Vicki Reinhardt filed a written complaint against Mayor Winnette Morris.
"I sent a letter to the attorney general's office requesting investigative assistance regarding an investigation involving the mayor," Hall said Saturday. He declined to elaborate.
Morris asked Reinhardt to falsify financial records, overspent the city's budget without City Council approval and paid herself a salary when she wasn't supposed to receive one, the lawsuit alleges.
Morris, who was re-elected to a second two-year term as mayor in May, has not been charged with a crime and Saturday denied the allegations contained in Reinhardt's complaint.
"There is no truth to it," the mayor said.
The allegations in Reinhardt's lawsuit are false, said Joanna Salinas, the attorney representing the city.
"The city denies the allegations that were made and looks forward to defending itself in court," Salinas said Monday.
She declined further comment..
Reinhardt, who lives in Marble Falls, could not be reached for comment.
The lawsuit was filed in June in Travis County District Court against the city and in it Reinhardt alleges that in July 2011 Morris told her to submit untruthful information about the city's financial records as part of a grant application.
After Reinhardt refused to submit the grant application, Morris changed Reinhardt's job description, reduced her pay and eventually changed Reinhardt's employee status from full time to part time, the lawsuit alleges.
Reinhardt filed a written complaint with Hall on Feb. 8, containing "several issues of what she believed to be illegal actions by Mayor Win-nette Morris," the lawsuit said.
Hall then asked the attorney general's office to launch an investigation into whether the mayor's actions were criminal, the police chief acknowledged Saturday.
The annual independent audit of the city's financial records for fiscal year 2010-11 said Morris paid herself a $ 1,500 salary during the year even though a salary for Bertram mayors was rescinded by city ordinance in 1975.
The audit, by certified public accountant Alton Thiele of Belton, also contained a response from "city management" that said that the mayor "was not informed" of the change.
Morris wrote a personal check for the $1,500 after learning she did not have the authority to draw a salary, the audit said.
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