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INVESTIGATION CHECK #3 Commissioner's appraisal used during FEMA's Buyout of his own property.

In this investigation check we will review documentation associated with Former Commissioner Gene Thompson and the FEMA Grant Buyout process that he experienced. The grant was specifically made available who received damages to their homes from a number of hurricanes. Since moving to Newton County a few years ago, I've heard accusations of favoritism, nepotism and cronyism circling county leadership. This is that compilation of the information surrounding this buyout, you be the judge.

1. How were you handled concerning any of the recent buyout grant processes? Was it a take it or leave type of situation that has been suggested to be the case for some?

2. There is an old saying that says, "The value of something is based on how much someone is willing to pay." - I wonder if FEMA would feel the same way?

3. Did you vote your commissioner into office to make decisions like these? Would you have Voted yes?

Former Newton County Commissioner Gene Thompson's property received approval for purchase under FEMA Grant 4266, valued at $394,000. This figure notably exceeds Newton County's own appraisal for the same property by nearly $100,000.

At the time of review, there were 3 different appraisals evaluated: Sabine River Authority, Newton County and Gene Thompson's.

The Commissioners Court at the time, consisting of Gene Thompson, Danny Bentsen, Gary Fomby, and Phillip White, evaluated the three appraisals before casting their votes. Despite Commissioner Thompson abstaining from the vote concerning his personal property, the remaining Commissioners endorsed the buyout at the value specified in Thompson's submitted appraisal.

According to the documentation provided below here are a few details:

Gene Thompson Appraisal:

Date: May 1, 2015

Appraised: $394,000

Average Comp: $415,000

Newton County Appraisal:

Date: May 1, 2015

Appraised For: $295,000

Average Comp: $297,600

Sabine River Authority Appraisal:

Date: March 1, 2016

Appraised For: $320,000

Average Comp: $324,166


Learn more about FEMA Grant 4266

Link to the FEMA Grant





Sabine River Authority Appraisal


Newton County Appraisal

PS: There is a reason why I've numbered these... stay tuned


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