The 65-year-old man who died at a North Texas hotel Tuesday night faced charges of stealing more than $1.6 million from a teacher's group.
Initially, reports said Eugene Dickey’s death was an accidental fall from a ninth floor balcony at the D/FW Airport Hyatt Regency.
Now, Tarrant County Medical Examiner autopsy results say he jumped.
Dickey was due in an Austin courtroom this week on charges he took the money between 2006 and 2014 serving as Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer for the Texas Educational Theatre Association (TETA).
The latest news from around North Texas.
“We’re sorry it came to this,” new TETA President Travis Poe said. “We have his family in our hearts and prayers.”
Dickey’s home address is an average house in Coppell, where no one answered the door Thursday.
A neighbor who declined to be identified said she is shocked by the news of his death and the criminal charges.
“He was just a nice man,” she said.
The neighbor said Dickey faced medical issues in the past year.
He was arrested in July 2014 for the Travis County theft indictment.
Court records say he provided Austin-based TETA with false audits and financial statements, claimed the teachers had investments that did not exist and took out unnecessary loans for the group that would not have been required if not for his theft.
The group’s blog shows Dickey served as the coordinator for annual conventions in Dallas and Houston with big name entertainers.
Records show some of the alleged theft was convention money Dickey failed to deposit in TETA accounts and diverted to himself.
Their president said Dickey led the theater teachers to believe he was a savvy businessman and financial expert.
"None of the officers had any idea this was going on. He was just such a controlling, manipulator," Poe said.
The president said group membership is still strong and TETA finances are in much better order now.
Several other members declined to speak on the record, but said they are very angry about what happened to their money.
Travis County Assistant District Attorney Holly Taylor said a September 9 court date has been set in the case after Dickey failed to appear this week.
“We are considering our options. It's a terrible tragedy and also a setback," she said.
Taylor said a judge could still attempt to recover some of the money, but Poe said members fear it is gone.
Gene Dickey Charges (Text)