A Flower Mound resident has filed a complaint with the Denton County District Attorney’s Office against Town Manager Jimmy Stathatos and several town officials.
Stathatos’ attorney and others have denied the accusations.
Mayor Steve Dixon, Town Secretary Theresa Scott, former Councilman Kevin Bryant and the 2018 Town Council are listed on the complaint.
It's not clear if the complaint is against the members that were on the council at the beginning of 2018 – Dixon, Bryant, Mayor Tom Hayden, Don McDaniel, Jason Webb, Bryan Webb and Claudio Forest – or those that were on the council after the May election – Dixon, Bryant, Forest, Jason Webb, Jim Engel and Sandeep Sharma.
Resident Robert Kavula, who filed the claims, could not be reached for comment.
Kavula claims there have been multiple violations of the town charter, town policies or various laws.
Kavula questions a trip Stathatos and Fire Chief Eric Greaser took to Austin in the spring in which Stathatos spoke to lawmakers about the tax cap that ended up being part of Senate Bill 2.
Kavula said he has requested records that show the Town Council gave Stathatos and Greaser direction to go to Austin. He said the trip falls outside of the town manager’s role of administration of policy.
According to a Facebook message to Kavula, Stathatos said explicit consent isn’t needed for him to do every aspect of his job and that nobody on the council said anything that wasn’t supportive of it.
Kavula claims town charter and open meetings violations if the council knew of the trip to Austin and didn’t discuss publicly Stathatos acting outside of his policy of administration.
“It’s very disconcerting that un-elected employees may have independently decided to represent voters/taxpayers on policy issues, especially at the state level, without explicit consent/direction of elected officials,” Kavula wrote in his claim.
The claim also states Kavula had difficulty getting a response from Scott when requesting information about the trip. Scott said the response was provided three days later. In an email to Kavula, Scott said council action for business travel is not needed.
Stathatos did not comment on the claims, but his attorney, Phillip Hayes, denied the allegations.
“The person who filed these claims stirs things up and is known to be an internet bully,” Hayes said. “I don’t put any stake into anything he says.”
Kavula claims Stathatos publicly posted an email from Kavula from five years ago that included personal email addresses of his and two other HOA members that were on a committee to get a road connection blocked on his street in 2014. The town did not move forward with that project.
Kavula claims Stathatos placed an item on the road project on the Planning and Zoning Commission agenda in less than the required 72 hours and that P&Z voted on the project. But records show the item was not placed on a P&Z agenda.
“He’s had a problem with city employees and the city council,” Hayes said. “He’s mad that they didn’t block off his street.”
Kavula stated in the complaint that posting the email “could only be meant to be a personal attack on me as head of the committee.”
Hayes said posting an email that showed other email addresses doesn’t rise to the level of distributing personal information.
Kavula also claims that Stathatos has a conflict of interest since he lives in The River Walk, saying the River Walk is in a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) and a public improvement district (PID), and he said the town invests in those districts.
“Mr. Stathatos’ house was purchased by his wife before they were married,” Hayes said. “He was not involved in that decision, and I don’t think there was ill intent on her part before marrying him.”
He also pointed to an attorney general’s opinion that references no conflict since the subject official does not vote.
Stathatos said he could not comment on the claims.
But former Councilman Kevin Bryant, who was named in the complaint, said the allegations against Stathatos are “ridiculous.” Bryant was on the council when Stathatos went to Austin.
“There is nothing here. Everything is completely false or is being put in a different context,” Bryant said.
“My feeling is that this is one man who is trying to get (Stathatos) fired,” he said. “But Jimmy does great things for this community, and he’s a dedicated servant.”
Bryant said the claims look like a vendetta.
“Just watching the posts on social media, there is a group of people who have stated they want Jimmy removed,” Bryant said. “It’s sad that we live in a society where people try to destroy you instead of doing what’s best for the community. It happens with national politics and on down. It hurts everyone.”