Tuesday, February 9, 2016

FBI Arrests Every Corrupt Politician In Texas City


February 8, 2016 7:46 pm

When Joel Barajas showed up to work at the office last Friday, he was alone. That’s because he was the only Crystal City council member who hadn’t been arrested, facing felony charges.
Officials in the Texas city had all been arrested arrested the day before, under a federal indictment accusing them of taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes for special favors.
The indictment netted the city’s mayor, mayor pro tempore, as well as a council member, and the city manager. Additionally, a former city council member was arrested, along with a businessman accused of bribing the officials, Ngoc Tri Nguyen.
Another council member, Marco Rodriguez, was just arrested last month on charges of human smuggling.
Crystal City has about 7,500 people, and it is located 130 miles southwest of San Antonio.
Barajashas been on the council for nine months, according to local KSAT.
“I knew some things were not being correctly taken care of,” he explained.
The indictment alleges that officials “used their official positions to enrich themselves by soliciting and accepting payments and other things of value” from Nguyen as well as other businessmen.
These businessmen were award taxpayer-funded contracts in exchange for bribes, as well as extorting payments from contractors.
Nguyen’s gaming business monopolized things, as politicians shut down would-be competitors.
It also alleges that Lopez and the other officials extended city manager and city attorney William Jonas’s lucrative taxpayer-funded contract, in exchange for bribes.
The San Antonio Express-News says that that Jonas, a “one-time Republican lobbyist down on his luck,” was paid nearly $180,000 a year. This was after being hired without ever having worked as a city attorney or even having applied for the job.
Residents told local KENS that they had already tried recalling the city leaders. Jonas, however, used his power as city attorney to block all attempts.
Crystal City is now $2 million in debt and facing bankruptcy, as a result of the bribes and secret deals.
Richard Durbin Jr., the U.S. attorney for San Antonio, said in an interview with the Associated Press that he hoped this indictment will help restore some public confidence in the local government.
“What we can do is that first step,” Durbin said. “In the end, it falls back on the citizens to make the next decision on who they put in those offices, because that’s how the system works.”
Each official faces up to 10 years in federal prison as well as $250,000 in fines, if convicted. Is this enough?
(Article by M. David)
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