RGC trustee faces removal, new allegations in petition

A former employee with the Rio Grande City school district filed a petition Monday to have Rio Grande City school board Trustee Daniel J. Garcia removed from the board following his arrest by federal authorities last month.

The petition details the federal charges against Garcia — which include wire services fraud and money laundering — which were filed against him in connection to an alleged bribery scheme.

Garcia was one of six defendants accused of participating in the scheme to funnel approximately $4 million in bribes to two Weslaco city commissioners. It is alleged that in exchange for the funds, contracts for the overhaul of Weslaco’s water treatment facilities were awarded to two engineering companies.

Garcia, an attorney, is accused in participating in funneling those funds to the two Weslaco city commissioners. He pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

However, the petition to remove him from the school board reveal new allegations against Garcia relating to his work as defense counsel for Jose Luis Garcia Jr., an 18-year-old charged with capital murder in the death of then 17-year-old Chayse Olivarez.

Garcia could not be reached for comment for this story late Wednesday.

The man who filed the petition, Ricardo Lopez, previously worked for the school district but in 2017 was arrested for allegedly attempting to bribe state District Judge Jose Luis Garza, who at the time was presiding over the case against Jose Luis Garcia Jr.

However, Lopez states in the petition that Garcia is accused of orchestrating the attempt to bribe the judge and that he is accused of using his position on the school board to be hired as a defense attorney for Jose Luis Garcia Jr.

Garcia allegedly offered a school employee a promotion and/or withheld pay raises to ensure that employee solicited the family of Jose Luis Garcia Jr. so that they would hire him.

He also allegedly worked with another, unnamed public official to disclose sensitive information that was not available to the public in order to secure his position as co-counsel.

Garcia was eventually retained as a defense attorney for Jose Luis Garcia Jr.

The petition argues that the alleged actions constitute official misconduct and/or incompetency — two of three reasons basis on which someone may be removed from office under the Texas local government code.

However, it currently remains unclear whether the petition will even move forward as a visiting judge, who will be appointed by the Fifth Administrative Judicial Region, will have to decide whether there is enough probable cause for the petition to move forward.

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