MCALLEN, Texas — A Texas border school board with a long history of corruption has just been delivered its most recent scandal after a federal jury found that four of its board members had used their position in order to carry out political vendettas.
After three days of trial and one day of deliberations, a federal jury handed a verdict in favor of various plaintiffs that had sued Donna Independent School District and some of their board members for political retaliation. Donna ISD is the same school district that is currently trying to pass a $22 million bond in the upcoming election.
Last year, Breitbart Texas began to investigate the corrupt practices of Donna ISD Board President Albert Sandoval, who along with Elipdio Yañez Nick Castillo, Eloy Infante and Tomasa Ramos had managed to use their political power to reward their associates while going after their detractors.
In the federal lawsuit, a number of directors and longtime employees claim that following the November 2014 election, which is when they took control of the board, Sandoval’s faction began a process of singling out and retaliating against those who did not openly support him.
Last January, Infante and Yañez pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges for extorting bribes from businesses in exchange for granting them contracts with the school board. The Sandoval faction has since replaced both Infante and Yañez with their political allies in order to keep control of the school board.
Other questionable practices discovered by the Breitbart Texas investigation included the hiring of Robert J. Salinas, a previously convicted felon tied to money laundering, as the attorney for the school district paying him a retainer of $300,000 plus a $250 hourly fee and multiple other perks.
Because of his previous conviction, Salinas was not able to defend the school district in the federal lawsuit meaning the school had to get additional attorneys for the trial.
In addition to targeting their political opponents for demotions or firing as listed in the lawsuit, the faction of the school board led by Sandoval used the school police to go after former Superintendent Jesus Rene Reyna and board member Alfred Lugo on fabricated charges. The targets of the political witch hunt were the two main opponents that tried to stop Sandoval and his group from squandering taxpayer moneys.
The witch hunt was fabricated by Donna ISD police chief Roy Padilla fell apart under scrutiny by a grand jury and the charges were dismissed. Padilla, who proclaims himself as a decorated narcotics investigator before working in Donna is the brother of Jose Padilla, a former commander with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office who is currently in prison for having taken cash bribes from Mexican cartel drug lords living in Texas.
Tomasa Ramos, one of the board members in Sandoval’s faction is the same school board member who in July travelled to Las Vegas to get married claiming the trip was a conference that the board attended. The event the school board claimed to have gone to was not an education conference but a speech featuring Hillary Clinton.