Update: (March 16, 6:14 p.m.)
CARSON COUNTRY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — With former Panhandle City Manager Roach being sentenced, Panhandle Mayor Doyle Robinson shared how the verdict brings closure to the city after eight years.
“Hopefully, we can heal some of the wounds and the division and go forward,” said Robinson. “In addition, projects that we were shorthanded of money because of this is a large amount of money was taken over a period of several years. It was something that impacted the community more than just money, it affected the spirit of the community.”
In court documents from the 100th District Court for Carson County, part of Roach’s community supervision conditions includes not communicating directly or indirectly with victims of case, the City of Panhandle, Texas, or any of her employees or members of their families.
Roach is also to avoid any contact with Doyle Robinson and Terry Coffee.
Coffee, the current city manager of Panhandle and shared that over the past eight years city staff knew they might not receive a paycheck due to a lack of funds. Since then the city has been able to build back up the reserves.
“Council was very adamant that we wanted to see justice served, and we weren’t going to sweep this under the carpet,” said Coffee.
Now that Roach has been sentenced city officials believe they will be able to move forward.
“We’ve been waiting for this for a long time, and we wanted to see some type of restitution made for our citizens,” said Coffee. “It was taxpayer dollars that were stolen, and we wanted to try to get those taxpayer dollars back to them.”
According to court documents beginning in June 2023, Roach will have to make monthly restitution payments. In total Roach will pay $109,373.43 in restitution.
Update: (March 16, 11:07 a.m.)
CARSON COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – In the wake of Thursday’s court hearing in which Roach was found guilty and sentenced, MyHighPlains.com staff spoke with Assistant Attorney General Dorian Cotlar for further information on the case.
Cotlar first explained that the Texas Attorney General’s Office became involved in the case after the local district attorney recused himself due to conflicts of interest. Further, Roach’s Thursday guilty plea and sentence came after a meeting with his and Cotlar’s respective legal teams leading up to what would have been an April 17 trial date.
The probation was only considered, said Cotlar, due to Roach being able to produce the initial $50,000 restitution payment presented on Thursday. The total amount of restitution due in the case was noted at approximately $109,000, which will go to the City of Panhandle.
In more detail regarding Roach’s sentencing, Cotlar said that Roach faces four days in jail, 240 hours of community service, and monthly payments toward the $109,000 restitution total as part of his deferred adjudication, which is a type of probation. If the probation is not completed, noted Cotlar, Roach could face five years to a life sentence in prison.
Another specific term of Roach’s probation prohibits him from filing Freedom of Information Act requests. This stemmed from a glut of what Cotlar phrased as “harassing” records requests to the city of Panhandle, “unbeknownst to his lawyer” which included at one point requesting at least 17 years’ worth of public records.
Altogether, Cotlar appeared pleased that restitution to Panhandle would be paid.
“It’s a great community,” Cotlar noted, “We’re sorry this happened to them.”
CARSON COUNTY, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – In Carson County court proceedings on Thursday morning, Rob Roach, a former city manager of both Panhandle and Sunray, was found guilty of “First Degree Theft by a Public Official,” after pleading guilty to the felony.
As noted in previous reports on MyHighPlains.com, Roach was the city manager of Panhandle before being fired in 2015, in the wake of the discovery of accounting irregularities. He went on to become the city manager of Sunray until his resignation in 2018, a tenure which included a September 2017 arrest for the theft charge that stemmed from his time in the Panhandle position.
As noted by MyHighPlains.com staff at the proceedings, Roach is expected to serve four days in jail starting on Thursday and will pay more than $100,000 in restitution. He brought a cashier’s check of $50,000 to the proceedings.
This is a developing story. MyHighPlains.com will update this article as new information becomes available.
Download the KAMR Local 4 News app on the App Store or Google Play for updates on the go.
Sign up for MyHighPlains.com email updates to see top stories, every day.
Check with MyHighPlains.com to see the latest updates for local news, weather, and events.