classifieds    contact    advertise    archives    download newspapers

FBI enters city of Alpine finance probe

October 24th, 2013 under Top Stories

By BRYON GARRISON

ALPINE – The FBI appears to have initiated an investigation into the finance issue at Alpine City Hall.

According to city council member Michael Castelli, “I spoke to Texas Ranger Jeff Vajdos this weekend and he told me about the FBI investigation. I said I had heard the rumors but I did not know it was true.”

The city council member added that Vajdos told him the city already has been served FBI subpoenas and that the city was providing the requested information.

In addition, Castelli said the Texas Ranger told him that an FBI forensic audit also is being conducted.

It was the city’s fiscal audit conducted earlier this year by the Skinner & Lara Certified Public Accounting firm of Alpine that revealed accounting and finance issues at the city of Alpine, leading to the firing of then-city manger Chuy Garcia and then-finance director Ricky Chavez.

District attorney Rod Ponton and his 83rd DA office, along with the Texas Rangers, then initiated an investigation that led to the arrest and indictment of Chavez. The indictment, issued by a Brewster County grand jury, accuses Chavez of knowingly falsifying documents to attain tuition reimbursement from the city when he was not actually attending Sul Ross State University. The indictment is a third degree felony charge. Chavez is free on bond awaiting trial.

Throughout the city finance issue, reports have surfaced that city workers are shredding documents.

When asked if it was wise to shred documents while an investigation was going on interim city manager Molly Taylor said, “If it’s junk we’re going to shred it. There are duplications. No official documents have been shredded. None.”

Despite her assertion she said she doesn’t have any restrictions on who shreds documents and isn’t monitoring what city workers are shredding. “Everyone knows that no official documents are to be shredded. I’m not going to stand over employees when they know they are not to shred any official documents.”

She added, “We are encouraged to recycle here because they (people) like to build houses from the shredded paper. Are we supposed to unplug the shredder?”

Council member Michael Davidson said yes. “Considering the current investigation, shredding of documents seems unwise. I suggest they get some boxes.”

When contacted last week, Michael Martinez, press contact for the local branch of the FBI would neither confirm nor deny an FBI probe at Alpine City Hall.

Share |

Story filed under: Arts » Community » Top Stories

One Response to “FBI enters city of Alpine finance probe”

  1. mlney says:

    Has Ms. Taylor ever heard of the “Local Goverment Records Act” enacted in 1989?
    Just go to your friendly State Library and look it up! –
    https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/slrm/recordspubs/lgbulld.html

    Does the City of Alpine have a Records Retention Schedule? If not, you should get one…….it really helps in cases of CYA against the FBI.

    What constitutes as “Junk”? There is no record group called “Junk”.

    So much for transparency and civic responsibility.

about   advertise   archives   contact   download newspapers   home   subscribe