Hearing to remove RGC school board member to be held Friday

A hearing on the petition to remove Rio Grande City school board Trustee Daniel J. Garcia is now scheduled for Friday, according to court documents.

Visiting state District Judge David Stith initially ordered Garcia to appear in court July 5, but that hearing was rescheduled for later this week. It is unclear why the hearing was reset.

Ricardo Lopez, a former employee with the school district, filed the petition to remove Garcia.

In the petition for removal, Lopez cites the federal charges filed against Garcia earlier this year as the basis for his removal. Federal authorities arrested Garcia in connection to an alleged bribery scheme involving the Weslaco water treatment facilities.

Garcia pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Lopez cites other allegations against Garcia as a basis for the removal, which include claims that Garcia abused his position on the school board to secure a place on the defense team for a murder case.

Those claims are also tied to Lopez who, in 2017 — while  he was still employed by the school district — was arrested for allegedly attempting to bribe a judge who, at the time, was presiding over that murder case. In the petition, Lopez claims that Garcia orchestrated that attempt.

However, Garcia has not been charged on those allegations.

Garcia’s attorney, Gocha Ramirez, filed a motion seeking to have the petition dismissed, arguing the petition is insufficient because it does not cite the exact time and place that each alleged act took place.

“The petition is insufficiently pled as there is no mention of the ‘time and place’ as required under (the Texas Local Government Code),” Ramirez stated. “Defendant has no means of properly investigating and defending the allegations in the pleading with the mandated specificity of ‘time and date.'”

Friday’s hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Starr County.