Bandera County GOP leaders enter pretrial diversion, forced to resign positions in felony fraud case

Conrad Striegl and Cari Rene Leith to have charges dismissed if they avoid trouble through Dec. 1, records show

Cari Rene Leith and Conrad Striegl. (Courtesy: Bandera County Jail)

BANDERA COUNTY, Texas – Two leaders of the Bandera County GOP have been forced to resign their positions but can avoid having a felony conviction on their record as long as they stay out of trouble after signing pretrial diversion agreements, court records obtained Monday by KSAT Investigates show.

Conrad Striegl, 74, and Cari Rene Leith, 63, will each pay $3,000 fines as part of pretrial intervention agreements signed late last week.

The Bandera County District Attorney’s office will not move forward with prosecuting the pair with the charge of fraudulent securing of document execution between $2,500 and $30K if they abide by their agreements through December 1, records show.

Striegl, listed in public records as the Bandera County Republican Chair, and Leith, the organization’s treasurer, were indicted in January in connection to a fraudulent document scheme.

The pair was accused of presenting a forged document to cut off the bank access of another GOP official.

The criminal case, spearheaded by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, was launched last year after then-chairperson Lynn Haueter was locked out of accessing the group’s bank accounts.

Haueter told KSAT earlier this year that she ran into issues while preparing payroll taxes for election workers.

After contacting the bank, she was told she no longer had access to any of the group’s accounts.

She described the money in the accounts as a mix of donations and state funding totaling around $13,000.

Haueter learned that the bank had been provided a conditions-of-censure document bearing five signatures, including those of Striegl and Leith, barring her from having any organization-related duties, including control of the group’s financial accounts.

Investigators believe the March 2022 document, which was signed months before Haueter’s term was set to expire, was fraudulent.

Striegl and Leith must avoid using narcotic drugs and controlled substances through Dec. 1 and must regularly report to their probation officers over the same period of time, the intervention agreements state.

Bandera County District Attorney Stephen Harpold did not respond to a phone call seeking comment Monday.

The voice mailbox for the Bandera County Republican Party was full Monday morning, preventing KSAT from leaving a message seeking comment.

About the Author:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.