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Charges against former Fort Worth aviation chief charged with misappropriation of city funds have been dropped

Charges have been filed against a former Fort Worth city department chief, charged with misappropriation of office and misuse of taxpayers’ money.

The Tarrant County District Attorney’s office in May decided to drop charges against William Welstead, citing prosecutor discretion, according to court documents.

Welstead, who had worked for the city for 11 years, was fired in September 2020 after an internal investigation found he had been involved in a collision in a city vehicle and then ordered staff to use a city-issued credit card. to use. to pay compensation.

Welstead also used airport land for hunting and operated a private space company that he did not disclose publicly, according to his termination letter obtained by the Star-Telegram shortly after his 2020 resignation.

He was charged with embezzling $43,000 in tax dollars and was referred to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office for investigation.

He was charged with abuse of official capacity, which could have resulted in a 10-year prison sentence if convicted.

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The city recovered the money by deducting it from Welstead’s accrued paid time off, city administrator David Cooke said in a statement shortly after the resignation. He went on to call Welstead’s actions “contrary to the city’s organizational values ​​of responsibility and ethical behavior.”

When asked, Cooke declined to comment on the district attorney’s decision to drop charges against Welstead.

Wellstead’s attorney, Jeff Hampton, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Fort Worth Aviation Department manages the three city-owned airports: Perot Field, Spinks, and Meacham International. Spinks and Meacham provide regional aviation services for air charter, corporate, corporate and recreational fliers, while Perot Field offers services for cargo, corporate aviation and military flight needs, according to the city’s website.

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