Socorro Raid Affidavit Released
POSTED: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, July 6, 2012 - 10:30am
SOCORRO, Texas - New details in an investigation into corruption at Socorro's city hall that prompted Monday's raid.
Four people are named including three city council members in a Sheriff's Office criminal affidavit.
District 1 Rep. Maria Reyes is the one pointing the blame.
Her accusations led deputies to confiscate boxes of files from city hall.
According to the affidavit, she came forward to deputies last month about misuse of public funds.
First, she points a finger at District 4 Rep. Jesse Gandara, Jr., Socorro Police Sgt. Refugio Orta, and District 3 Rep. Mary B. Garcia.
She says, a year ago, they took a trip to Austin, Texas, for a liability workshop.
Each asked for more than $700 in expenses to cover airfare and meals.
But Gandara and Orta drove to Austin instead of flying.
Garcia flew to Austin, but drove back with Gandara and Orta.
Gandara reimbursed the City $375 on that trip. Orta, $525.40.
Garcia did not reimburse the City any money.
Then, Reyes said Gandara used a city credit card for a restaurant meal, but also received petty cash for the same meal, essentially getting money he never spent.
She also accuses Gandara of requesting a $700 laptop from the city, and having it for personal use.
She goes on to accuse at-large council member Guillermo Madrid Jr. of misusing city funds as well.
She says he used a city credit/debit card to buy $97 worth of printing services and supplies at Office Depot, and then also asked for a reimbursement of those funds.
She also says he asked for $88 for a plaque and engraving, when there were already discretionary funds provided for it.
Reyes' motive, as she told deputies, was that "... there have been other discrepancies in the past before these dated incidents, so she wanted to file charges against offenders for misapplication of fiduciary property."
These are just accusations made by Reyes, not official charges.
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is still investigating.