The city of Fort Worth on Wednesday said it found evidence that fired aviation director William Welstead “misappropriated” $43,000 and has referred a criminal investigation to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office.
In a news release, the city announced it was recovering the money by deducting it from his accrued leave and other termination payments.
“Welstead’s actions and behaviors are inconsistent with the City’s organizational values of accountability and ethical behavior,” City Manager David Cooke said in the statement.
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Welstead was fired Sept. 9.
The news release did not detail how the $43,000 was misappropriated and it was unclear what potential criminal charges were referred to the district attorney.
The city later announced it had launched a criminal investigation into allegations uncovered during an internal review.
As aviation director, Welstead oversaw the three city-owned airports: Meacham International Airport, Alliance Airport, and Spinks Airport.
Welstead’s termination letter said he was involved in a hit-and-run accident in a city vehicle on June 25.
“The citizen whose car you (struck) filed a police report and stated that you were dismissive when called back to the scene,” the letter said.
Welstead did not report the accident and directed city staffers to make unauthorized repairs, the city manager said.
While investigating the hit and run, city managers said they learned Welstead was operating an “aerospace services and products company” called the NMH Group, which was formed in 2013, according to Texas Secretary of State records.
According to Tarrant County tax records, NMH bought property the same year at 4800 North Main Street, which is located directly across from Meacham Airport.
Separately, his termination letter said Welstead set up a deer feeder and used it to hunt wild game on airport property.
Welstead did not return calls seeking comment after his termination and did not immediately return an additional call Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for the district attorney did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the referral.