Gina Karam Millin on Thursday filed a petition through attorney Ronald Hole for an election contest, challenging Place 4 McAllen ISD trustee Tony Forina’s election victory on May 4.
A May 13 recount cemented the race’s outcome, as it was decided by just 12 votes in Forina’s favor over Karam Millin, an attorney who challenged the incumbent Forina for his seat on the school board. Specifically, she received 2,747 votes to Forina’s 2,759, according to the official canvass.
Karam Millin is alleging the district “systematically promoted” Forina during the campaign, and that current district vendors “contributed thousands of dollars to finance my opponent’s campaign.
Forina said he was not aware of the allegations and declined to comment at this time.
“My decision stems from (some) of the same reasons I chose to run in the first place: to assure that our children’s best interests are always the priority of our school board and that the board is using our taxpayer dollars honestly and effectively,” Karam Millin said in a statement.
She stated that “the most significant and troubling issue” was the “district’s failure to distribute a very damaging Curriculum Audit… until after the election.”
The audit in question, which was conducted by the Texas Association of School Administrators in July 2018, was provided to McAllen ISD administration in January but not made public until after the May 4 election, the petition read.
The petition states that the audit, which reflects how school boards oversee district resources, rates districts on a point system, in which at least 70% of 78 possible points are required to be considered “adequate.” The summary, according to Karam Millin’s petition, shows that the district earned 10%, or eight points, for its “Overall Rating For all Criteria.”
“The only conclusion I can draw from this decision is that MISD administration knew that the audit, if publicly disclosed, would hurt the incumbent candidates’ chances in the election and, therefore, decided to hide it from MISD voters and taxpayers who funded the audit to the tune of $120,000.00.” she further alleged in the statement.
When reached for comment, McAllen ISD spokesman Mark May said via text message: “We do not comment on litigation matters and we have not seen the petition.”
Other allegations in the petition include: “improper notice of polling locations” and that “ballots were cast by individuals ineligible to vote and votes were cast in violation of rules regarding assistance.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from a school district spokesperson.