New indictments allege two Angelina County Commissioners violated Open Meetings Act

Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Paulette (left) and Pct. 4 Commissioner Michael Steve Smith were...
Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Paulette (left) and Pct. 4 Commissioner Michael Steve Smith were recently indicted by an Angelina County grand jury.(Angelina County Jail)
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 4:17 PM CDT
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ANGELINA COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Recently obtained documents show a grand jury has indicted two Angelina County commissioners on charges they violated the Texas Open Meetings Act in 2021.

Two affidavits were obtained, one for Pct. 4 Commissioner Michael Steven Smith and one for Pct. 1 Commissioner Rodney Paulette. Both affidavits allege that Smith and Paulette violated the Texas Open Meetings Act on Aug. 9, 2021 “by participating in a meeting that constituted a quorum of the Commissioners Court for the purpose of discussion or deliberation of county business to-wit; namely the prospective employment of a county road engineer.”

The second count on Paulette’s indictment alleges that on June 15, 2021, Paulette misused government property by improperly directing “the use of a dump truck, a backhoe, a deposit of dirt, and the use of labor, to confer a benefit by improving private property, and the value of said equipment, use, materials, transport, and labor, and/or benefit conferred was $2,500 or more but less than $30,000.”

The third count on Paulette’s indictment alleges that on July 20, 2021, Paulette again misused government property by improperly directing the use of “a backhoe, a gradall, a dump truck, and materials, including millings/rap and glauconite, and labor, which had come into the defendant’s custody or possession by virtue of the defendant’s office as a public servant, namely, Angelina County Commissioner Precinct 1 ... to confer a benefit improving private property, and the value of equipment use, materials, transport, labor and/or benefit conferred was $2,500 or more but less than $30,000.”

Paulette and Smith were initially arrested on Saturday, March 12 alongside Angelina County Judge Meydon Lymbery. All three were originally charged with violating the Open Meetings Act.

Previous reporting:

Suspended Angelina County judge indicted on 21 additional offenses

Angelina County commissioner indicted for alleged illegal meeting