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Texas fire chief accused of funneling firefighter pension funds into casino trips and personal expenses

Source: Denton Fire Department Facebook

Hojun Choi

The Dallas Morning News

A former chief of a Denton County fire department who is embroiled in a federal lawsuit related to the mismanagement of pension funds was arrested Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Melinda Urbina, a spokeswoman for the FBI’s Dallas field office, said Troy “Mac” Hohenberger, 63, who recently served as chief of Denton County Emergency Services District 1 in Argyle, was arrested at DFW International Airport.

Information related to the nature of Hohenberger’s arrest, along with other details of the investigation, have not been made public, Urbina said. It was unclear what charge or charges he faces.

KXAS-TV (NBC5) reported that FBI agents were searching the Argyle office on Thursday.

Hohenberger resigned from his position several weeks ago, WFAA-TV ( Channel 8) reported.

In November 2021, Hohenberger was named a defendant in a wrongful-termination lawsuit from one of his former employees, Harold Ring, who accused the fire chief of firing him after he raised questions about the department’s management of 401(k) plan.

Eric Roberson, who is representing Ring, said neither he nor his client was in communication with the FBI, adding that he was surprised to learn Hohenberger had been arrested.

Roberson is pursuing a class-action lawsuit against Hohenberger and the department, accusing them of “failing to make timely deposits into the 401(k) accounts” of at least 46 employees.

“The financial mismanagement of this fire department begs for scrutiny,” Roberson said. “Although I have no evidence as to why these payments were missed, I was asking the court permission to see if there was any missing money.”

Denton County Emergency Services District 1 was notified of the FBI investigation earlier on Thursday, according to a news release. The department said it is not providing additional information because of the ongoing investigation.

“The Denton County ESD 1 remains dedicated to ensuring transparency to personnel and the community during this process and will continue to work cooperatively with the FBI while all inquiries are addressed,” the release said.

Argyle Mayor Bryan Livingston told NBC5 that the fire district is not managed by the city.

“The men and women of the fire department are our heroes,” he told the station. “Allegations of wrongdoing involving the leadership of this organization are deeply saddening.”

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