HOUSTON – The embattled head of Pasadena's Convention Center is serving a 10-day sentence in the Harris County jail after pleading guilty to a pair of drunken driving charges. Court records show the jail time is only part of the sentence Gerard "Jordy" Tollett must serve in exchange for pleading guilty.
Tollett was charged with DWI by Webster police following a car accident in March 2015. While a warrant was out for his arrest on that charge, Nassau Bay police arrested Tollett in May of that year and also charged him with DWI.
At the time, Nassa Bay police wrote Tollett was arrested after a passerby dialed 911 and reported she "watched the vehicle almost strike a family that was walking."
"Wow," said Pasadena resident Miguel Martinez after hearing Tollett pleaded guilty.
Most in Pasadena were stunned to hear the head of the convention center had been in repeated trouble with the law.
"You get to mess up, but you don't get to mess up repeatedly, back-to-back-to-back," said Walter Benitez.
Court records show in addition to jail time, Tollett was put on 10 years probation with six years probated, ordered to attend daily Alcoholic Anonymous meetings for the first year and three meetings a week after that, plus 120 hours of community service and continued treatment in Right Step aftercare.
These charges are the latest in a string of troubles for Tollett. Court records show he pleaded guilty to DWI in 2008 and was convicted of another DWI in 2012. During the second case, Tollett was sent to jail for violating conditions of his release while he appealed the conviction. The conviction was upheld in 2014.
Despite repeatedly being charged with DWI, Tollett has kept his more than $80,000 a year job with Pasadena.
"My first DWI, I would get fired," said Pasadena resident Jose Araujo. "We can't have someone running like that, with that example. That's our community that's he's putting on the line with his actions."
When Channel 2 Investigates contacted Pasadena city officials, they were aware of Tollett's guilty plea and would address the issue when he "returned from vacation."
Prior to taking over the convention job in Pasadena, Tollett was head of Houston's Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Tollett resigned from this position shortly after a Channel 2 investigation showed him spending hours of the work day in Houston area bars.