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Cameron Co. Adapts to Tax-Assessor Collector Problem

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BROWNSVILLE – Cameron County officials addressed issues with some employees and their positions after the tax-assessor collector was indicted.

Cameron County Tax-Assessor Collector Tony Yzaguirre hasn’t stepped inside his office for a full year as ordered by a judge.

It created an issue for staff who are usually deputized by the tax assessor for their positions on a yearly basis.

Cameron County Judge Eddie Trevino said upon consulting with county attorneys, he appointed one of the office’s employees as acting tax-assessor collector.

They went ahead and deputized the staff last week to avoid any breaks in services for residents in Cameron County.

Trevino said Cameron County voters re-elected Yzaguirre in November and their vote must be respected.

“He’s an elected official. He won re-election. He is still an elected official, and in our country everyone is innocent until proven guilty. There will be a trial here in a few weeks. It’s been moved to Nueces County. And at that point all the evidence will be heard and a jury will make the determination on the issue of innocence or guilty,” he said.

Trevino said there’s been no interruption of services at the tax-assessor collector’s office. He and county commissioners are reviewing what measures will go into effect once Yzaguirre’s trial is over.

The trial is set to begin in two weeks.

Timeline of Events in Yzaguirre’s Case:

  • Jan. 2016 – Yzaguirre was arrested at his office. He was charged with 22 counts including bribery and official oppression. It was the culmination of an investigation dubbed “Operation Dirty Deeds” that began in Feb. 2014.
  • Feb. 2016 – A visiting judge orders Yzaguirre to stay away from his office as a condition of his bond.
  • March 2016 – Yzaguirre is the only candidate on the ballot for the primary election.
  • April 2016 – Yzaguirre requests to go back to his office to take care of budgets and pending matters. The motion was denied by the judge.
  • June 2016 – Two write-in candidates filed to run against Yzaguirre in the November election.
  • Oct. 2016 – Judge grants change of venue to Nueces County to ensure fair trial.
  • Nov. 2016 – Yzaguirre won re-election.
  • Jan. 1, 2017 – Yzaguirre begins new term as tax-assessor collector. He’s held the position since 1989.
  • Jan. 24 – His trial set to begin in Nueces County.

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