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East Texas school trustee accused of paying teens to damage opponent’s truck, steal campaign signs

SAN ANTONIO (Texas News Radio) — An East Texas school district trustee is accused of paying teens to damage a political opponent’s vehicle and steal signs.

The Longview News-Journal says the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office arrested Henderson ISD trustee Jon Best September 27th on a charge of criminal mischief.  Adam Duey is running against him for his seat.

A criminal complaint said Duey introduced himself to Best at one point and the 59-year-old trustee — who has been in his position since 2004 — responded, “I will destroy you.”

Duey informed the sheriff’s office on September 20th that the tires on his pickup truck were slashed.

His engine died shortly after he repaired his tires and suspected the gas tank had been contaminated.  Duey’s campaign signs had also been stolen at around that time.

Investigators were able to determine Best had paid an employee’s 16-year-old son and the son’s 17-year-old friend $40 to steal his opponent’s campaign signs.  The son admitted to accepting $100 in cash to slash the pickup truck tires and putting a handful of sugar into the gas tank.

Best was caught when a game camera spotted the employee’s truck involved in the theft of another campaign sign.

Best told the employee in a later third-party consent phone call said he wanted plausible deniability.

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