Wichita County Commissioners Approve Travel Expenses

- Wichita County commissioners met on Friday to approve some unexpected travel expenses at a special meeting.

Judge Woody Gossom says Wichita County is having to send several people to defend the county at a federal trial in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

At a Texas Sheriff's Convention in 2011 that Wichita County Sheriff David Duke and others made an agreement with a woman to come to Wichita County and take photos of the sheriff's office staff, after hearing good reports of her work and company, Cherokee Studios of Chattanooga.

The studio was closed later that year, and in Tennessee media reports Duke said the photos were never delivered on time as promised, and after months of trying to get her to deliver, he finally in desperation had a warrant issued on her for theft.

The woman was arrested by officers in Tennessee on the charges and the woman claims she was beaten in the detention center.

In 2012 she filed a federal lawsuit against the center, and against Duke for false arrest.

She wants a half million dollars for her pain and suffering.

Wichita County would like to see the suit dismissed, but is still having to send Duke and several others to Tennessee next week to testify, and attorneys to defend Duke and the county.

The trial could last up to 10 days according to Judge Gossom and he says expenses will start to add up.

So that's why they met today, so they could be prepared for anything.

Gossom says counties often face unexpected events such as these that require them to spend the extra money.

"People can sue for all kinds of things. And as the county judge, I'm always named in those lawsuits. Because they want to tie the commissioners court and the county's money into their claim for something being wrong," Gossom says. 

Gossom says, legally, the court has to approve these checks for the travel expenses, which is why they had to meet today before the trial could possibly begin next week.

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