Superintendent turns in letter of resignation at Como-Pickton
No additional charges filed, but inquiry continues
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Feb. 2, 2007 - Bryan Neal's resignation from the superintendent's job at Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District became official this week.

Assistant Superintendent Sandra Billodeau, appointed to serve as acting superintendent, confirmed Friday that Neal submitted his letter of resignation, which ends his contract with the district. She said the school district has accepted that resignation, which ended their obligations to him — including paying his salary — as of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Hopkins County Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum and Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp have continued the investigation into the allegations that Neal misused district funds.

Neal was arrested on Jan. 17 for forging another administrator's name to a check written to Neal in the amount of $1,769.90. He was also accused of giving false statements at a local farm equipment business to purchase a $19,134.60 Kubota tractor, as well as an $11,806.56 all-terrain vehicle on behalf of the school district, which he is accused of keeping for his own use. He reportedly had been having money taken out of his paycheck to pay for the items. He did not advertise for bids for the equipment, and received the benefits of a school discount and no taxes on the equipment, District Attorney Martin Braddy said following Neal's arrest. Neal was releasedafter posting $30,000 bond, or $10,000 per charge.

Neal had been placed on suspension with pay following an emergency meeting Saturday, Jan. 13, after Neal's wife was found at the school after midnight. Board members had already begun looking into the allegations and had taken the first steps necessary to launch a criminal investigation, and were told to secure all documents.

Authorities have continued to investigate the case. Texas Ranger Phillip Kemp joined the investigation following the Jan. 24 called board meeting which concluded with board members announcing a tentative agreement with Neal's attorney for his resignation by the end of January. Kemp's involvement will give investigators access to more resources, such as experts trained in assisting in financial investigations, which local authorities did not have.

Authorities have been at the school at least three days per week continuing the investigation, as well as working with District Attorney Martin Braddy on matters related to the case.

As of Friday morning, no any additional charges had been filed against Neal or anyone else. Authorities weren't ruling those possibilities out, but said that would depend on the final outcome of the investigation.

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