PORT BOLIVAR, Texas – The Galveston County Sheriff's Office confirmed it has opened an investigation into possible misappropriation of funds at the Port Bolivar Volunteer Fire Department.
Sheriff’s officials are releasing few details, saying the investigation is still in its early stages.
“I don't know what to say. It's just heartbreaking,” resident Robbie Hutto said. “These people have saved my life a couple of times.”
Many in the coastal enclave on the Bolivar Peninsula had not yet heard of the investigation. The Galveston County Emergency Services District No. 2, however, made mention of the investigation on an agenda for an upcoming meeting. Item No. 15 on the district’s agenda for its meeting on Wednesday reads, “discuss status of investigation concerning alleged misappropriation of funds by Port Bolivar VFD member, and take any needed action in relation to same.”
The Emergency Services District partially funds Port Bolivar and other departments on the Peninsula through reimbursement of approved operating expenses, which are verified through receipts and other supporting records.
An attorney for the district, Joshua Heinz, sent KPRC a written statement.
“At no time does a GCESD No. 2 service provider, including PBVFD, maintain possession of or control over District funds. Accordingly, none of GCESD No. 2’s public funds were involved in the alleged misappropriation,” Heinz wrote.
Port Bolivar and other departments are funded through a mix of Emergency Services District reimbursements, county tax dollars and fundraising efforts.
Port Bolivar’s fire chief has not yet returned KPRC’s calls for comment. The Sheriff’s Office had no time frame for when the investigation may conclude.
“I know they have saved a lot of people's lives, and the money, (we) need that to go where it needs to go,” Hutto said.