2 county officials taken into custody in unrelated investigations

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter

WALLER COUNTY, Texas - A pair of Waller of County public officials were taken into custody Thursday as part of separate investigations.

The city of Hempstead’s utility billing clerk was taken into custody and the former police chief for the town of Waller, John Michael Williams, also surrendered to sheriff’s officials. These arrests are part of separate, unrelated investigations.

City of Hempstead clerk Audrey Zientek is facing charges of abuse of official capacity. Court documents read  Zientek has been with the city 32 years, the last 10 as a utility billing clerk.

Investigators said Zientek stated she managed all utility billing for the city. Zientek is accused of not paying her city utility bill but keeping her services from being cut off by removing her name from a disconnection list.

Last week, KPRC 2 reported Hempstead Mayor Michael Wolfe was taken into custody and faces the same charges as Zientek. Court records read Zientek was delinquent by $6,677, and she, "confessed she removed Mayor Wolfe’s account and her account from the cutoff list prior to giving the list to Wolfe, therefore not having his or her utility account disconnected due to lack of payment."

Wolfe told KPRC 2 he will not resign as mayor, but declined further comment.

Williams had no comment as he left the Waller County Jail after posting bond. Court records read Williams is facing charges of tampering with a government record, breach of computer security and abuse of official capacity.

Investigators wrote the tampering and breach of computer security charges stem from Williams being accused of forcing a subordinate to log on to a secure computer network under his name and take a state-mandated law enforcement test in his place. Passing that test gave Williams access to confidential crime information networks, court documents read.

The third charge, according to court records, stems from a run-in with another law enforcement officer in a different jurisdiction. Williams is accused of showing up in his patrol car and threatening another officer with profanities and racial slurs. Sources tell KPRC 2 Investigates that Williams wrongfully perceived the other officer to be a romantic rival.

Officials with the District Attorney's Office say the investigations in both of these cases are not over and more charges are possible.

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