Houston City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones used city employees to help run her personal law practice and instructed her staff not to meet with investigators looking into her alleged misconduct, the city's inspector general has determined.

For three of the six findings, Jones could face misdemeanor criminal charges.

In a June 2 memorandum to Mayor Annise Parker, Inspector General Robert A. Doguim reported that Jones — who is seeking a third term for her at-large seat - violated a city ethics ordinance and the mayor's executive order on internal investigations three times each. The activities involve the improper use of city resources and personnel as well as Jones' lack of cooperation and truthfulness with the Office of Inspector General, the probe revealed.

Jones said late Wednesday that she had not received a copy of the report and could not comment.

After repeated requests for an interview, Jones met with investigators on Wednesday. In a memo issued after that meeting, Doguim said the councilwoman's responses "appear to be more of an attempt to mount a defense (something she has every right to do)," but noted that her answers did not change the outcome of the probe.

The investigation stemmed from a complaint about Jones, a criminal defense lawyer, distributing "Know Your Rights WithThe Police" cards that advise residents never to speak with law enforcement. The handouts included phone numbers to her council office and law office. She has explained that she has distributed a version of the card since before her election in 2007.

But in interviews with Jones' staff, the inspector general's investigators found violations beyond the handout and determined that the councilwoman has used employees on city time to notarize documents for her law practice, fax legal papers and drive her to court hearings.

Second investigation

Jones could face criminal charges for the three ordinance violations: improper use of a city-issued telephone number, improper use of city resources and improper use of city employees.

"Violations ... under the current code of ordinances are Class C misdemeanors, which would be technically subject to prosecution in our municipal courts, but that would be a matter of discretion on my part as the city attorney as to whether or not those are prosecuted," City Attorney David Feldman said, adding that he has not decided whether to pursue criminal charges.

The inspector general also found that Jones violated the mayor's executive order by failing to cooperate with an investigation, interfering with an investigation and being untruthful in a sworn statement.

This is the inspector general's second investigation of Jones this year. In February, the councilwoman was cleared of allegations that she used profanity and disparaged Houston firefighters by implying that they were lazy during a January visit to a downtown fire station.

The current allegations sparked a preliminary inquiry that Doguim expanded to a full investigation on March 18.

The probe revealed that at Jones' direction, "staff personnel failed to respond to emails and telephone calls and that they failed to attend scheduled appointments with the OIG investigator," the June 2 memo said.

Doguim also found that the card was mostly a "private advertisement for her law practice" and that Jones instructed staff members "to direct the callers to her private law office."