DONNA, Texas – The attorney for a Texas border school board who lost his license to practice law for several years after being convicted of a felony is getting paid more than three times the rate of his predecessor, Breitbart Texas has learned.
As Breitbart Texas previously reported, Robert J. Salinas, the attorney for the Donna Independent School District (Donna ISD) had previously been convicted of money laundering and spent time in federal prison.
While hiring Salinas and firing the previous law firm, the board approved paying Salinas a retainer of $25,000 a month, simply to be present at all meetings, plus additional pay of $225 per hour if he was needed for any other work, the Advance News Journal reported. Salinas also retains the right to hire additional attorneys if needed at the district’s expense, as long as the board agrees.
While the $25,000 per month retainer seems excessive for a small Texas border school district, the fee is even more alarming considering that the previous law firm, Guerra & Farah, was charging a retainer of $8,000 just last November when the firm was fired. Guerra & Farah was fired just days after the November election, when a new faction led by school board President Alberto Sandoval was elected.
The questionable hiring of Salinas is not the only alarming action by the school board. As Breitbart Texas previously reported, the school board, along with Donna ISD Police Chief Roy Padilla, have created a scandal as part of a power grab in order to fire current superintendent Jesus Reyna. With little to no evidence in some cases, Padilla has charged three school employees with having improper relations with students. One of those employees is Carlo Cordova, Reyna’s son-in-law.
The lack of evidence became clear when Padilla’s investigators had to get a Justice of the Peace from another precinct after the local Justices and municipal judges would not sign off on Cordova’s arrest warrant, according to a high ranking school administration official who spoke with Breitbart Texas.
As part of the power grab, Padilla recommended that the board suspend former interim chief Dan Walden, claiming he had ignored the case, however, the administrator who spoke with Breitbart Texas confirmed that Walden had in fact sought the help of an outside agency. Padilla is the brother of Jose Padilla, a former Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Commander who pleaded guilty to taking money from Mexican drug lords in exchange for favors.
As Breitbart Texas previously reported, school districts have been used for gain by elected officials such as in the case of Progreso ISD, a small border school district where the school board president, the town mayor and their father all pleaded guilty to bribery for rigging contracts.