AP NEWS

Ex-Eagle Pass city manager lied to feds in bribery probe

March 31, 2017

Former Eagle Pass city manager Hector Chavez Sr. pleaded guilty Thursday to lying to federal agents investigating a “pay-for-play” bribery scheme involving Maverick County contracts.

Chavez, 68, had originally been indicted in April 2016 on charges of falsification of records, obstruction of justice and making a false statement to a federal agent.

At a hearing in Del Rio’s federal court, he pleaded guilty to making a false statement, U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin and the FBI said in a news release. The plea is the latest development in the FBI’s years-long corruption investigation that ensnared several officials in Maverick County.

Court records alleged an engineering firm owner gave Chavez about $20,000 to bribe a Maverick County commissioner in exchange for a $270,000 contract. The FBI said Chavez later made a false statement and falsified records to cover it up.

In court Thursday, he admitted that on June 25, 2015, he knowingly gave false statements to agents regarding his response to a federal grand jury subpoena, his work on Maverick County contracts, and a personal consulting services contract with the engineering firm Hejl, Lee and Associates.

On May 4, 2015, a federal grand jury subpoena was issued to Chavez’s company, Chace Management, for all records regarding subcontracting work done for Hejl, Lee and Associates, according to the release.

Chavez admitted he lied about creating a fraudulent, hand-written personal services agreement he provided in response to the subpoena. Chavez also claimed to have received approximately $24,000 for services rendered to Hejl, Lee and Associates, but the work never took place.

Chavez, who remains free on bond pending sentencing, faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

gcontreras@express-news.netTwitter: @gmaninfedland