The charge, abuse of official capacity, applies to public officials who misuse government property for a personal benefit.
In a news release last week, the city said Welstead had “misappropriated” $43,000 in taxpayer funds but did not explain how he misspent the money.
That amount would make the charge a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison.
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Welstead has not returned repeated calls for comment.
He is the first Fort Worth official in memory to be charged with a crime related to their city duties.
A spokeswoman for the Tarrant County sheriff’s office said Thursday evening there was no record of Welstead being booked into jail.
Welstead was fired in September after city managers said he was involved in a hit-and-run accident in a city vehicle, then instructed employees to make unauthorized repairs.
While investigating the accident, city officials said they learned of other wrongdoing and launched an internal audit of the aviation department.
The review found he had formed a private company and bought land across from Meacham Airport, officials said.
As airport director, Welstead earned about $150,000 and supervised the three city-owned airports – Alliance, Meacham and Spinks.
City officials said they recovered the $43,000 by docking his final paycheck which would have included payments for a large amount of unaccrued time off.