Ex-Police Chief Indicted
The former San Angelo police chief, Timothy Ray Vasquez, has just been indicted by a federal grand jury. According to the Department of Justice, Mr. Vasquez is being charged with, “one count of receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds and three counts of honest services mail fraud.” There is a somewhat small number of companies that compete for various contracts from governmental agencies. The competition is fierce. In some cases, it can lead to a company offering something of value or a person asking for something of value in return for getting the contract.
What Public Corruption Looks Like
This is what happened with Mr. Vasquez. While the City of San Angelo was attempting to contract with a public-safety radio company, Police Chief Vasquez asked for one of the companies to pay for a vacation for him. The company refused and the contract was awarded to a different company recommended by Vasquez. The company that won the contract funneled a total of $134,000 over an 8 year period to Mr. Vasquez. During that time the equipment became out-dated. Vasquez pushed for the same company to get the new contract bringing the combined total of the two contracts to over 11 million dollars.
Ties to San Antonio & Bexar County
The company at the heart of the scandal? Daily and Wells Communication based right here in San Antonio and the same company that contracts with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. But our contract is for more than 100 million dollars. The owners of the company, Richard and JoAnne Wells, have given money to the political campaigns of both Democrats and Republicans. Most were $5,000 or under but some of the highest pay outs went to County politicians. Republican Kevin Wolff and Democrat Tommy Calvert both got $20,000. That’s quite a bit of money. KSAT listed the amount each person got. Read their article here.
Massive Contribution to Salazar
But the largest amount by far, went to Sheriff Javier Salazar. The couple have given a total of $45,000 to Salazar. That’s more than twice the amount of the next highest pay outs. According to the article, Salazar’s campaign put out the following statement,
“Accepting and properly reporting a political contribution honors the Texas Elections Code and upholds the transparency expected of public officials. But, soliciting funds for personal benefits is entirely different and illegal. If the allegations against this former public official are true, I find that to be personally reprehensible, and he should absolutely be held criminally responsible for his actions.”
This statement is so unbelievably generic that it felt like a ‘baffle them with bullshit’ statement. We have questions. Why was Salazar worth so much more to the Wells than the other politicians? Why did his campaign get a $25,000 contribution weeks before he took office?
This situation is very concerning for me because I haven’t forgotten how Lucy Adame-Clark aggressively campaigned for him, then when Salazar took office, he reversed the demotion she had been given for lying on a sworn statement and wiped her record clean. And I haven’t forgotten Deputy Armando Lopez who donated $4,000 to Salazar’s campaign. Lopez had been fired for falsifying payment vouchers but once Salazar took office, he rehired Lopez.
Now we hear about a company who has been willing to pay bribes and the owners just happened to give Salazar excessively more money than anyone else they donated to. I honestly hope everything is legit because I’m exhausted by the black eye Javier Salazar keeps giving Bexar County. That being said, I also hope that the FBI is looking into it.