Former ESD official turns himself in, faces theft and other charges
The official who helped run several Emergency Services Districts in Bexar County turned himself in to sheriff’s deputies Wednesday night. Gil Perez has been indicted for theft and other charges. The case highlights the lack of oversight at ESD's which receive your tax dollars.
61-year old Gil Perez held positions with six of the twelve ESD's in Bexar County, controlling hundreds of thousands of dollars in property tax dollars.
District attorney Nico LaHood says an investigation by Texas Rangers and his Public Integrity Unit resulted in charges of misapplication of fiduciary property, theft by public servant and abuse of official capacity.
“Overpayment, used credit cards for personal use, forged documents things of that nature,” LaHood said.
Each count involves amounts between $30,000 and $150,000.
“It was taxpayer money, money the commissioners have to be accountable for and that the ESD's use and need to service the surrounding county around the city," LaHood said.
Perez was Board President of ESD 2 in Northwest Bexar County, where employees first accused him of double-dipping: submitting receipts for purchases twice, to get reimbursed twice.
Al Castillo was Fire Chief at ESD 2. He told investigators Perez refused to let him see the books, and once asked Castillo and another employee to help falsify some receipts.
“He asked me if I could get fake receipts for some computers he had bought which he couldn't account for the receipts. And I was immediately taken aback and I thought about it, and I thought, ‘This is ridiculous, what's going on here?’"
ESD 2 eventually conducted an internal investigation into district finances. But the board and its attorneys refused to release the results to the public or the news media.
“They have very little oversight, very little accountability. So they use the taxpayer's money as a playground,” Castillo said.