City officials react to DA investigation results
by Coy Slavik, Advance-Guard Editor
May 30, 2014 | 787 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GOLIAD – District Attorney Michael Sheppard issued a news release Friday that his office’s investigation of the City of Goliad found no evidence of wrongdoing by the city’s economic development leaders and city council members.

After the Texas Rangers found no illegalities in a similar investigation concluded in March, Sheppard ordered another investigation of the city’s financial records.

“The investigation of the City of Goliad and the Goliad Municipal Development District has concluded,” Sheppard said in the news release. “The investigation involved the work of the Texas Rangers and a former FBI agent/forensic accountant retained by the district attorney’s office.

“Based on the above investigation, the district attorney’s office has no reason to believe that any felonies were committed and no further investigation is contemplated at this time.”

The results of the DA’s investigation drew mixed reactions from city officials.

“It’s what we expected,” City Administrator Larry Zermeno said. “It’s the same result the Texas Rangers had. From the beginning, we welcomed any outside investigation. I’m really pleased that justice has been served and I would like to move forward.”

Councilwoman Liz Holsey, who expressed dissatisfaction with the Texas Rangers’ investigation, said Friday that the result of the DA’s investigation did not surprise her, either.

“I didn’t expect anything different,” Holsey said. “They were given such a narrow scope to look at. I don’t think a full investigation was done.”

Holsey did not accuse the city of not cooperating fully with the investigations.

“I think the city was cooperative,” Holsey said. “Everybody did what they were asked to do.”

The investigations were sparked in part by loans that were given by the MDD to two sitting councilpersons, Lionel Garcia and Vicki Rubio. Both loans became delinquent.

Garcia, who is still on the council, claimed the investigations were politically motivated to sway the May 10 city council election, in which councilmen Alfred Perez and Ed Carter were defeated by two challengers supported by the Goliad PAC, “Goliad Citizens for Effective Government.”

“Mr. Carter and Fred lost their elections because of the lies and negative campaigning,” Garcia said. “The people in Goliad should have known better. It’s kind of shameful that this had to happen all because of politics.”

Holsey claimed the elections of Mayor Anna Lopez Machacek, councilman Joey Thompson and councilwoman Cheryl Worley were solely the will of the people.

“Sore losers,” Holsey said when told of Garcia’s accustation. “The people of Goliad were tired of the same old thing. People in Goliad are tired of all the backhand dealings that go on in city council and in the county. Of course they were going to say that. They didn’t win. We didn’t have anything to do with the way people voted.”

Garcia said he also questioned the timing of the DA office’s news release.

“I knew they weren’t going to release it until after the election,” Garcia said. “I don’t know if it was something to do with this group or what.”

Garcia and councilman Buddy Zavesky said they hope Goliad can revive its reputation after the months of investigations.

“I knew there was never anything,” Garcia said. “I feel relieved for the citizens of Goliad. Goliad’s name has been trashed for nothing. Enough is enough.”

“We knew we didn’t do anything wrong,” Zavesky said. “None of us hired any lawyers, because we knew didn’t do anything wrong. We followed proper procedure and we have been proven innocent. It’s a shame it had to go through the Texas Rangers and the forensic investigation to find out we did nothing wrong.”

Zermeno said misinformation led to the two investigations.

“There was some bad news out there and it obviously wasn’t true,” Zermeno said. “After all the facts have been looked at, they determined there were misallocation of funds.”
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