A back-and-forth residency issue between Edcouch administration and a recently elected alderman could be resolved this week.
Alderman Joel Segura, who voters elected this month, filed a lawsuit against the city of Edcouch on Nov. 13 in response to a city administration-issued letter declaring him ineligible to take office for living in neighboring Elsa. Segura, however, asserts he lives in Edcouch and has voted in its municipal elections.
Though the letter was sent to Segura prior to the early voting period, a majority of voters elected him over former alderwoman Esmeralda Cabrera, who was seeking to keep the Place 2 seat for a second term.
On Nov. 13, a judge signed a temporary restraining order, momentarily preventing the board of aldermen from appointing a resident to the seat, instead of allowing Segura to hold office.
The city contends the address Segura listed on his application for a place on the ballot “does not exist,” according to the Oct. 1 letter.
Segura claims 108 N. Fredrick St. in Edcouch as his address, according to his application for a place on the ballot submitted to the city in August.
The Fredrick Street home is owned by Alicia Peña and Rosendo Peña, who are assessed Edcouch property taxes, according to Hidalgo County Appraisal District records. Alicia Peña is Segura’s aunt.
“There are even more red flags! As Edcouch claims in its own public filings in this case, that Segura was disqualified prior to early voting, how could it have legally made such an administrative determination when all that Texas requires is candidates for alderman reside in the area as of Election Day,” Segura’s attorney Michael Pruneda wrote in a brief filed last week.
Segura updated his voter registration information with the Hidalgo County Elections Department after receiving the letter, according to county records. He changed his voter registration address from Crenshaw Street to the Frederick Street.
The change of address, according to Pruneda, is not an issue since both addresses are inside city limits.
Visiting judge Robert Garza has been assigned to oversee the case in the 206th state District Court.
A hearing on the temporary restraining order is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.
The judge could issue a permanent injunction in Segura’s favor or dissolve the restraining order.