PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 24, 2014

Felony forces PA Councilman Troy to withdraw candidacy

Sherry Koonce
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Port Arthur District 4 City Councilman Robert Troy has withdrawn his candidacy for the District 4 position after a 50-year-old felony conviction came to light, and he could be facing criminal charges.

According to archived records in the Jefferson County District Clerk’s office, Troy, now 70, pleaded guilty to felony theft on Oct. 14, 1963 and was sentenced to a five-year probation term for stealing $107.73 from a man.

Two years later, in 1965, Troy’s probation was revoked when he was convicted on June 28, 1964 of disturbing the peace in corporation court. Troy’s original five year in the state penitentiary was reduced to three years.

To be eligible to run for public office “a candidate must not have been finally convicted of a felony from which the person has not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities,” according to state election laws.

 Port Arthur’s City Council discussed legal issues relating to the 2014 General Election in closed session Thursday, but were prohibited from discussing the details of that meeting, City Attorney Val Tizeno said.

Pat Knauth, Jefferson County first assistant district attorney, declined to comment on whether his office is investigating the matter, but did indicate providing false information on a candidate application could bring criminal charges.

“If anyone who runs for public office signs their name as not having a felony in their background, there is a potential crime yes. It could be perjury or tampering with governmetnal record,” Kanuth said.

As part of the city’s candidate application process, Troy signed his name in front on a notary declaring he has not been convicted of a felony for which he had not been pardoned, or had his full rights of citizenship restored by other official action.

Troy did not respond to numerous attempts made by The News for comment.

Troy was elected in May 2013 to fill the unexpired term of Harold Doucet.

If Troy is officially deemed inelgible to seek re-election his term will be up after the votes are canvassed, and a new council member sworn in.

The last day to file for a place on the election ballot is Feb. 28.

Troy was absent from a Port Arthur City Council workshop session Monday.

Troy has indicated in another news publication that when his right to vote was reinstated, he thought he was elgible to run for public office.

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