Pasadena councilman facing scrutiny over time sheets

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter, Megan Kennedy - Content Editor

PASADENA, Texas - A Pasadena city councilman is facing questions over his pay.

Cody Ray Wheeler is both the District E councilman in Pasadena and an employee of Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis’ office.

Officials with the Harris County Attorney’s Office told Channel 2 Investigates it is in the midst of an “administrative review” of Wheeler’s time and attendance records. The review was sparked by questions of whether Wheeler was recording instances of being at work for Precinct 1 when he was, in fact, attending Pasadena council meetings.

Robert Soard with the county attorney’s office stated Wheeler had been interviewed, but the review was not yet complete. Soard expected more details to be released Tuesday.

Ellis’ office sent KPRC a statement:

“We are taking this matter seriously. Upon being made aware of the allegations and related concerns, our office requested a third-party independent review from the Harris County Attorney’s Office and our office notified the proper authorities, including the District Attorney’s Office. We are reserving further comment until the review has been completed and we will follow recommendations based on those findings.”

Channel 2 Investigates also learned of three instances of Wheeler documenting he was at work for Precinct 1 when videos posted online by the city of Pasadena showed he was attending a city council meeting. One instance involved an emergency meeting that lasted approximately 19 minutes and partially involved the death of a city employee following Hurricane Harvey.

The other two instances involved council meetings that lasted approximately one hour.

In a phone conversation with KPRC, Wheeler said he receives a $300-a-month stipend from Pasadena and the discrepancies in time sheets were simple errors.

“I did make some mistakes on time sheets, but those mistakes have been corrected,” Wheeler said.

Pasadena Mayor Jeff Wagner also released the following statement:

“Our office received information from Harris County regarding Mr. Wheeler that I found very concerning.” Wagner stated, “My administration is fully committed to cooperating with Harris County investigators and attorneys; we will continue to monitor the progress of this investigation and take the appropriate action if necessary.” 

Soard said the county attorney did make the district attorney’s office aware of its administrative review but he is not aware of any criminal investigation being conducted.

When contacted by KPRC, the DA’s office sent us this statement:

“The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has not received an official complaint from any member of the public on this matter. Our specialized prosecutors review all such complaints to determine whether they have merit.  If they determine there is evidence of possible criminality, they can then open an investigation.  Out of fairness, under no circumstances do we confirm or deny the existence of any criminal investigation.”

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