More steps taken to remove Ricky LaPrade from office

More steps taken to remove Ricky LaPrade from office

VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An embattled East Texas County Commissioner has been ordered to appear in court.

On Tuesday, Van Zandt County Commissioner Ricky LaPrade was served papers ordering him to appear in front of a judge on August 8th.

LaPrade is facing the possibility of removal from office after a July 3rd DWI arrest. It's his second arrest on a DWI charge since April.

Commissioner Ricky LaPrade was served where cameras weren't welcome, but if the notice of hearing upset him, he wasn't showing it.

One resident is petitioning for LaPrade to be removed from office, and another already has his eye on the commissioner seat in the next election.

"I'm retired so I have the time and based on what's been going on with one of our commissioners and some of the difficulties he has been having, I think that probably it would limit his effective service to the county," said Doug Johnson. A Van Zandt County resident who said he plans to run for the precinct 1 office.

And while the commissioner risks his term being cut short... actually seeing that happen could still be a long way off.

"It depends on what happens with the petition for removal that has been filed. It's going to proceed like any other case, so he's entitled to a jury trial and it's likely that it's not going to be resolved any time soon," said First Assistant District Attorney Richard Schmidt.

A temporary commissioner could fill LaPrade's place during the petition process, but that doesn't make the situation easier.

"The criminal allegations, this office treats them just as we would any other person. Unfortunately, the person who is in the files that they have submitted to us happens to be an elected official in the county. That makes it more complicated just because of the political ramifications," said Schmidt.

LaPrade will be arraigned in court next month, and Doug Johnson said he'll start campaigning.

"I have a great work ethic and I intend to work my shoes to the new soles. I will give it everything I have," said Johnson.

Johnson tells us he's in the process of filling out paperwork to run in the Van Zandt County primary.
     In addition to the DWI charge, LaPrade is facing a felony charge of misapplication of fiduciary property and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. He is set to be arraigned on these three charges on August 11th.

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