Former city employees arraigned in court, face felony charges

Former city employees arraigned in court, face felony charges

CREATED Sep 25, 2012

Reporter: Claire Doan

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – They quit before they got fired, but it’s not over yet: It’s just the beginning of criminal proceedings for two former city workers accused of corruption.

Two former Department of Transportation employees were arraigned in court Tuesday afternoon.

According to Tucson Police, former Transportation Administrator Kurt Hough and former Equipment Operator Specialist Robert Palomarez face felony charges of fraud, theft and criminal enterprise.

“Taxpayers deserver full restitution. The city ought to be all over these guys like a tattoo getting what the taxpayers deserve,” said Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik.

City Attorney Mike Rankin confirmed that the city will ask for restitution as part of any criminal investigation.

Huff and Palomarez have yet to enter formal please, but city documents show they face a mountain of evidence.

The city says Hough ordered the building of a bike pad, asked workers to haul dirt for someone’s BMX bike track and repaired private potholes.

Termination documents show Palomarez told streets employees to fix the parking lot of a church, ordered the dumping of dirt at Sunnyside High’s baseball field where his brother is a coach and was involved in grading and paving the parking lot of Kelly Electric.

Some believe these ongoing criminal cases will jeopardize the $100 million bond to fix Tucson’s roads.

“If we have a prayer of passing these road bonds, then we ought to be showing taxpayers that we are going after everything that got ripped off from them and this is the start of it,” Kozachik said.

The Attorney General's Office is in charge of this case and tellsl KGUN9 they will ensure any criminal activity will be fully prosecuted.

The next time Hough and Palomarez will appear in court is on Oct. 25th for their status conferences.