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Argyle Mayor’s Race Getting Interesting

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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An pollster loads paper in a primary registration machine at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas on February 19, 2008. (credit: by Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

An pollster loads paper in a primary registration machine at the Travis County Courthouse in Austin, Texas on February 19, 2008. (credit: by Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

ARGYLE (CBSDFW.COM) – In the sleepy town of Argyle, with just about 3,000 residents, a political battle is brewing over the seat for mayor.

“I’m hoping to clean up the corruption that plagues our current council,” said Matt Smith, one of three candidates up for election.

But Smith, 36, not only has political ambitions, he has a criminal record.

He was arrested in January on charges of Driving While Intoxicated. The case is still pending. His attorney, Rick Hagen, said they’re fighting the charge.

“It’s an accusation at this point. We’re contesting it.” Hagen said, “It has absolutely nothing to do with Matt’s qualifications for mayor.”

“I had a meeting with my family and I talked to them about this, and I knew all of this would come up, ” Smith said of the charges, “but at the end of the day, I’m doing this for the citizens of Argyle.”

CBS 11 has learned Smith has a prior criminal history.  According to Denton County records, from 1996 to 2003, Smith was arrested several times on charges ranging from assault to criminal mischief.

“Happened when he was a young man, we’ve all made mistakes,” Hagen said, “but Matt has the Town of Argyle’s best interest at heart.”

But not all the charges date back as many years.  According to an affidavit from Newport, Oregon, Smith was arrested again in October 2010 for Disorderly Conduct.

“Short of admitting he was Satan himself, he would be better than what we have on the board right now,” said longtime Argyle resident and Smith supporter Scott Norton.
Norton questions the current Mayor, Greg Landrum, who is up for re-election, and the city council.

“We’ve seen transactions take place that are very questionable with the board and particular the mayor,” he said, “buying land and then selling it back to the City of Argyle at a $900,000 cost.”

Smith supporters directed CBS 11 to a website that claims the town bought the former Methodist Church, now Town Hall, from a company to which the mayor has ties, then later returned the mineral rights to Landrum.

Landrum though, said the deal was blown out of proportion and the transaction was not only transparent, but legal.

“When the church was actually closed on, I was not even a member of that partnership,” said Landrum, “The mineral rights that they’re talking about was a snafu by the title company, I had no part in that whatsoever.”

CBS 11 also checked the criminal histories of Landrum and the other candidate, City Councilwoman Dona Schroetke, who both have clean records.

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