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KAUFMAN COUNTY, Texas — The Kaufman County Commissioners' Court has agreed to add an extension of County Road (CR) 273 onto the county's road maintenance system to resolve pending litigation against the county.

In late 2016, then-Commissioner Kenneth Schoen was accused of extending CR 273 by approximately 500 feet, from approximately 2,640 feet to approximately 3,141 feet, without receiving prior approval of the commissioners’ court and without following the court’s procedures to add a road to the county’s road maintenance system.

Prior to that, then-Commissioner Jimmy Joe Vrzalik had sold the property near the end of CR 273 to Earl and Sue Lassiter, with whom the county's latest litigation was pending, according to Kaufman County district court and property records.

"Earl and Sue Lassiter purchased property several years ago relying on information from previous county officials that County Road 273 ended at the Lassiter’s property line, despite the official Kaufman County Road Map and Official County documents that stated the road was a different length," read a statement issued today by Kaufman County.

In October 2017, Schoen and Vrzalik paid $10,262.28 in restitution to Kaufman County in lieu of prosecution or further investigation into the road's extension — a deal struck by Ellis County District Attorney Patrick Wilson who was assigned as a special prosecutor to investigate the case after Kaufman County District Attorney Erleigh Wiley recused her office due to their role as legal counsel for the commissioners’ court.

"The official road distance fell approximately 500 feet short of the Lassiter’s property," continued the statement from the county today. "Commissioner Barber agreed to extend the length of County Road 273 so that emergency services could reach the Lassiter’s property. This road was submitted to the commissioners’ court for approval on November 10, 2020 and the Court approved the inclusion of the additional length as County Road 273."

The criminal investigation was set to go before a grand jury prior to its 2017 settlement.

"Commissioner Barber would like to thank the staff of county personnel that survey, work, and do the road work on our county roads for the safety of our citizens," concluded the statement from the county.