A Denton County Grand Jury on Thursday decided not to indict Flower Mound Councilman Itamar Gelbman on a charge that stems from a claim he allegedly released information from a closed-session council meeting.
Gelbman had been facing possible legal action for almost a year.
"I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the district attorney, law enforcement and the grand jury for doing what is right," Gelbman stated in an email to The Leader. "I have the greatest regard for the integrity of our Texas justice system, and their decision affirms my belief that the truth always prevails."
The only way the case could be sent to the grand jury again is if new information is presented.
In January, the council voted to send the findings of an independent investigation to the Denton County District Attorney’s office for a possible indictment.
The independent investigation report stated there was evidence to suggest Gelbman may have used closed-session information in an attempt to help resident David Vaught receive a larger incentive deal for a gun range he was considering opening. Gelbman had expressed interest in being an investor in the facility.
Vaught, according to the report, refused Gelbman's effort and went forward with the original incentive deal offered by the town. Construction for the gun range is now underway.
But council members claimed things got worse as the council was considering releasing the investigation results to the public. That's when they said Gelbman threatened to bankrupt the town, to go after Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos’ job and ruin Vaught’s reputation.
Gelbman denied the claims.
The case was filed with the DA’s office by the police department at the direction of the council.
The investigation began in July 2015 when four of five council members and Mayor Tom Hayden were investigated for possible violations of the town charter, town ordinances and Texas Open Meetings Act.
Neither Hayden nor the other council members were found to be in violation. That included Councilman Bryan Webb, who was investigated to see if he was in violation for telling a former Planning and Zoning commissioner he was about to be removed, information he received in closed session.
Gelbman is up for re-election in May, but he hasn’t publicly announced his plans.