Emergency Management Director resigns

Published 5:34 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2018

By Dawn Burleigh

Just the day after Orange County Emergency Management Director Ralph Valenciano was placed on paid administrative leave following his arrest for theft of service, he resigned.

According to a document sent to The Orange Leader, Valenciano submitted a letter of resignation on Wednesday due to personal reasons.

Valenciano had a warrant issued for his arrest on Monday and arrested for

charges of theft of service for greater than or equal to $20,000 and less than $100,000.

His bond was set at $6,000.

He has posted bond and has been released from the Orange County Jail.

According to a violation of cause, two men, owners of a drywall company in Lufkin, Texas, contacted Vidor Police Department in connection with five jobs they had done for Valenciano.

Valenciano, according to the document, wrote the men four checks for a total of $16,880. When the men attempted to cash the checks, they were returned for insufficient funds. After sending a certified letter to Valenciano, no payment was received.

On February 26, a Vidor Police Department Detective asked the men to contact the bank to see if there were any pending incoming transfers. The bank confirmed there were none pending.

This is not the first time an Emergency Management Director was under investigation.

Former Director Ryan Peabody was under investigation by the Texas Rangers after being terminated in 2016.

Carlton confirmed Peabody was terminated but would not specify other than to say it was violation of county policies, according to a previously published Orange Leader article.

Peabody was terminated by Carlton a week before the county was aware of an investigation being conducted by the Texas Rangers.

Carlton read from a prepared statement during the Tuesday afternoon Orange County Commissioners Court meeting regarding the arrest of Valenciano.

In part the statement read, “Ralph Valenciano was arrested on felony theft charges stemming from his personal life and not having anything to do with county business.”

Carlton went on to say Valenciano is placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.