Fulshear City Secretary Diana G. Offord has been terminated from her position for allegedly making false statements under oath.
Offord, a Lamar Consolidated High School graduate, who was born and raised in Fort Bend County, has served as the city secretary for 12 years.
The termination, which occurred on Friday, March 23, sparked controversy within the city and caused many residents to question why.
The council unanimously approved the termination at the Special City Council meeting Thursday, March 29, after City Attorney J. Grady Randle provided legal documents, which revealed sanctions against Offord and her personal lawyer Diogu Kalu Diogu II.
The documents included an abstract of judgement, probate records and court records in which Offord and her attorney allegedly made false claims under oath.
“We’ve got county court, probate court, district court and the federal district court sanction(ing) her for $29,000,” said Randle.
“Within this motion for sanctions, and I quote, ‘is fraudulent, misrepresentations made to the court.’”
Acting City Manager Kenny Seymour explained the need for terminating Offord.
“The position of city secretary plays a vital role in municipal government,” he said.
“The position is responsible for overseeing the city elections, monitoring and maintaining government documents, certification of those documents, maintaining notes in public meetings and being an ambassador for the city.
“It is a position that demands high integrity and honesty which inspires public confidence and respect.”
“Ms. Offord’s actions regarding her personal affairs have seriously affected her integrity.
“These actions [influence] her ability to perform her duties effectively. The city of Fulshear has a responsibility to the community to make sure that its employees are held to the highest standards and moral.”
The alleged false statements came to light when the city attorney received a letter on Feb. 28, 2018, from the Diogu Law Firm asking the city to abandon an undeveloped portion of Fourth Street that abuts Harris Street,” Randle said.
“We ran his name. One of the things that pulled up was an abstract of judgment. That abstract of judgment was against Mr. Diogu but it was also against Ms. Offord.
Randle noted that there were five fraudulent statements in an application, and five additional fraudulent statements in an omitted application.
“It was for $35,000 and an additional $10,000 in attorney fees. This was filed in the deep records of April of 2016 from County Court At-Law No. 2.”
The abstract of judgement was West Houston Trees, Ltd., Randle noted, and the defendants were Diana Offord and Diogu.
The motion filed by Houston Trees, Randle continued, was against Offord and Diogu “and claimed that Mr. Diogu had committed perjury…”
The probate court sanction involved the estate of Winter Gordon Sr.
“Within that probate proceeding was a motion for sanctions which resulted in an order for sanctions against Mrs. Offord and Mr. Diogu…,” said Randle.
He noted the next pages listed out two additional cases.
“Such false statements and misrepresentation in court were repeated in the application by the applicant and her attorney,’ Randle said, reciting the documents.
“ The applicant swore her oath to the truth of such false statements…”
“Paragraph B claims that false claims of owning real estate when the estate did not,” Randle explained.
“Paragraph C indicates debts owed. They’re claiming there is a debt owed to the attorney for the attorney’s fees but they don’t acknowledge the fact that there is a judgment against the objective claim.
“Paragraph D is verification that no information was omitted. Paragraph E, [explains] no debts were owed.”
Randle noted that there were five fraudulent statements in the application, and five additional fraudulent statements in the omitted application.
“The order imposing sanctions, signed by the probate judge, said that the court considered a motion, the response, the pleadings, the evidence, arguments of council, that the court finds it’s good cause to grant the motion,” he said.
“The court found good cause to sanction Ms. Offord and Mr. Diogu for the conduct of making those false statements in the probate proceeding.
“There was a federal court lawsuit was filed in 2009, titled Diana Offord Versus Nate Parker.
“The federal court dismissed all the claims in its entirety and sanctioned Ms. Offord for attorney fees for $25,497 plus $288. This was in Sam Lake’s court. He is the judge that filed the Enron defendants some time ago…”
Seymour said Randle contacted him on March 22 and advised him, that while Randle was preparing for sponsors to propose lawsuit, he had discovered “alarming information involving the city secretary.”
“Mr. Randle provided me four documents... Ms. Offord was sanctioned for fraudulent representation to the court and making false statements under oath,” Seymour said.