Edinburg Council Member Found Guilty of Violating City Code
EDINBURG – It pays to read the fine print. Edinburg city leaders want Council member Homer Jasso Jr. to forfeit his position claiming he broke a city rule.
After an inquiry hearing, the Edinburg council found Jasso guilty of violating city code.
But he has a different story and says he is not budging.
“I want to withdraw my interest in the company. I had a 15 percent interest in this company, with over 300 acres and over $2 million worth of equipment.”
Jasso says when he found out he was in violation of city charter, he stepped away from Santa Anita Reclamation, a tire disposal company contracted by the city of Edinburg.
Article XVII Section 2 Personal Interest reads:
“No member of the city council or any officer or employee of the city shall have a financial interest, direct or indirect, or by reason of ownership of stock in any corporation, in any contract or in the sale to the city or to a contractor supplying the city of any land or rights or interest in any land, material, supplies, or services, or in any matter in which he/she acts for the city. Any willful violation of this section shall constitute malfeasance in office, and any officer or employee of the city found guilty thereof shall thereby forfeit his/her office position. Any violation of this section with the knowledge, express or implied, of the person or corporation contracting with the city shall render the contract voidable by the city manager or the city council.”
Jasso said, “They're taking the willful part as, 'You knew you were doing business with the city.' No!”
Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina said, “If you didn't know that the law existed, that can't be a reason for you to get off.”
Jasso says before seeking ownership of Santa Anita Reclamation, he sought advice from the city manager and city attorney at the time.
“They came back a couple days later and said, 'You're fine,'” said Jasso.
The city council became aware of the violation early last year. An inquiry hearing was finally scheduled this week.
They looked at various pieces of evidence then found him guilty.
State District Judge Mario Ramirez is expected to make the final decision.
Until then, Jasso remains an Edinburg council member.
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