The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation’s investigation into tax consultant Chandler Crouch is concluded, according to a department spokesperson.
In a statement to the Fort Worth Report, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said the investigation is over unless the official reviewing the case decides additional information is needed. However, the agency gave no timeline on when an administrative decision will be made.
Crouch received a letter from the department stating several complaints had been filed against him by Randy Armstrong, Tarrant Appraisal District director of residential appraisal, in November 2021. Crouch, a real estate broker and tax consultant, has been helping people in Tarrant County protest their appraisals for free for the past five years.
Armstrong told the Report in June that he sent the letter on his own and not on behalf of the appraisal district even though he signed it with his official title.
Frank Hill, attorney for Crouch, did not receive any information about the update in the case but doesn’t expect the agency to take any action against his client.
“I’m sure they certainly have the right to continue investigating something,” Hill said, “but it would surprise me if they do it.”
Tarrant Appraisal District is also conducting its own internal investigation into whether Armstrong improperly used his position to file the complaints. Tarrant Chief Appraiser Jeff Law said an attorney who specializes in human resource law is working on this task.
Tela Mange, public information officer with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, said the agency does not have any criminal authority.
According to the department website, if the agency decides formal enforcement action is not necessary as a result of insufficient evidence or other reasons, the case will be informally closed via a letter. The agency also could send a warning letter to Crouch with recommendations to become compliant.
If the agency decides to proceed with formal enforcement, a notice of alleged violation is issued, which seeks administrative penalties and possible sanctions against an individual. The penalty is a monetary fine of up to $5,000 paid to the state of Texas. A sanction may include suspension of the professional license, probation, a written reprimand or revocation of the license. A full list of penalties and sanctions can be found on the department’s website.
On June 30, the Tarrant Appraisal District Board of Directors unanimously voted to send a letter to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, distancing themselves from the complaints sent by Armstrong. The decision came after over four hours of public comments.
Law told the Report that “the board was correct in making that decision and sending a response to TDLR and to Mr. Hill.”
The appraisal district board’s letter to the agency won’t change whether the complaint is sustained, Mange said. However, this is an unusual case, she added.
“I’m not aware of us receiving a complaint and then having another entity send something to us saying, ‘That wasn’t really us. That was somebody else.’ I think that’s fairly unusual,” she said.
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