Former La Joya housing director arrested, in federal custody

Updated at 1 p.m.

A former executive director of the La Joya Housing Authority was arrested Monday afternoon in San Antonio and remains in federal custody, according to Bexar County jail records.

Frances A. Salinas, the daughter of former La Joya Mayor Jose “Fito” Salinas, and current commissioner Mary Salinas, was arrested on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

She served as the interim executive director of the housing authority from about January 2017 until her termination in November 2018. Prior to that, she served on the housing authority’s board of commissioners.

In taking the role of executive director, she replaced Juan Jose “J.J.” Garza, who was terminated in December 2016 after his federal indictment for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Garza is currently serving a sentence of 37 months in prison.

When the housing authority’s board of commissioners officially terminated Salinas on Nov. 1, 2018, they cited the conflict of interest that existed by the fact that she was the mayor’s daughter. The mayor is responsible for appointing the board members of the housing authority who oversee the executive director.

However, the board also had concerns over financial management.

During an October 2018 meeting, the board was presented with a transaction list that included questionable expenses posted to their Low Rent program from Jan. 1 to Oct. 24. 2018.

The list included expenses for restaurants, hotel stays, and various ATM cash withdrawals.

Salinas also replaced Garza on the La Joya school board after he resigned in April 2017 to focus on his federal case. However, she was not elected to remain in the seat during the November 2018 school board elections.