New details released about alleged corruption in Crystal City
CRYSTAL CITY, Texas -- New information released concerning the alleged corruption in Crystal City alleges that $5,600 was spent on trips to Spurs games, a new ambulance was purchased that can't be used, and more $1 million dollars unaccounted for.
Earlier this year, all but one member of the city government was arrested by the FBI on corruption charges. New Mayor Frank Moreno Junior says he's taking a more transparent approach.
"We needed to let the community know exactly where we stand financially," Moreno told us.
In an open letter addressed to Crystal City voters published in the Zavala County Sentinel, he outlined what he's learned about the city's finances after taking office on May 10th.
"There's no doubt were in a bad financial situation," said Moreno.
Their financial records show then city manager James Jonas ordered the city to pay the San Antonio Spurs $5,600 so that he, his family, and his staff could enjoy the game. We were shown a photo collage of them there. Another record shows Jonas signed off on then mayor Ricardo Lopez using city money to be reimbursed nearly $360 for a drive to Houston and another some $180 to eat there, all for what's dubbed the largest Asian New year celebration, the Lunar Festival.
It's what the records don't show that's even more troubling. From a $2 million loan, $1.2 million are missing. There's also the $600,000 gone from city's hotel motel tax. This all piles on top of the money the city still owes, like for a $170,000 ambulance that's too tall to drop patients off for emergencies at the nearest hospital.
We asked about the status of Crystal City's credit rating.
"Right now, it's not too good," Moreno said.
He's thinks he can bring the city back 'in the green.'
Moreno served as mayor in the late 90's after he retired from the Army following 30 year of service in the military.
"Ethics are very important as well as experience," Moreno told us.
Through transparency, spending within the city's means, and an experienced approach, he hopes Crystal City can move past this era of corruption.
"I believe we can," said Moreno. "It's going to be a little bit of a struggle. But we can. I think we can with the help of our community, you know?"
The community will have to make a big decision Saturday, when a special recall election will be held to fill the two remaining seats on city council.