Wednesday, March 21, 2007

PSJA Arrests

I just saw this on The Monitor's website:
FBI agents arrested PSJA school board member Roy Rodriguez and two McAllen contractors early this morning in connection with the raids of PSJA school offices and board members’ homes in January 2005.
In addition to Rodriguez, the feds charged Joe Lopez and Pedro Armando Gutierrez, who they say paid the school trustee in exchange for favorable votes and influence on district contracts. Sez NewsChanel 5:
We're told the charges involve Rodriguez's work on the school board and school construction projects
This isn't the first bribery case concerning PSJA. Back in 2005, a federal grand jury charged board member Jaime Santa Maria and contractor Alonso Cardenas Jr. They later pleaded guilty -- and it turns out that Cardenas taped his conversations with the board member, which led to evidence against Santa Maria.

Any bets on whether that case or the current prosecution will lead to more indictments of PSJA officials?

UPDATE: The Monitor (whose archives disappeared when it remodeled its website) has posted its 2004 two-part series on Joe Lopez:
In addition, the U.S. Attorney has details on the charges:
The indictment, returned under seal on February 27, 2007 and unsealed today, charges all the defendants with conspiracy to commit extortion, mail fraud, and bribery concerning a federally funded governmental agency, and interstate travel in aid of a bribery scheme. PSJA-ISD, a large school district which receives substantial federal funds, is located in Hidalgo County, Texas. Rodriguez is accused of receiving cash payments totaling $65,000 from his co-defendants between 1997 and 2004 in exchange for the use of the official power of his elected office to arrange and assiste Lopez and Gutierrez with bids the submitted for PSJA-ISD design and construction contracts.


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