2008-05-14 / Front Page

Justice of the peace blasts Chronicle/News on its coverage of news stories

County approves $803,187 in changes for ICE Unit
ROBERT WILCOX Reporter

Justice of the peace blasts Chronicle/News on its coverage of news stories

In an emotional display of anger at Monday morning's Willacy County commissioner court meeting, Justice of the Peace George Solis told commissioners he was very unhappy with the way the Chronicle/News has reported two instances of alleged mismanagement of his elected office.

"I come before commissioners court because Robert Wilcox has published lies about me," referring to this Chronicle/News reporter, and two recent news stories.

"The first one was a couple of months ago where he wrote I sent cases back to the Raymondville school district," Solis said. "I did not, it was another judge, and he did not write a retraction."

"The Chronicle/News and the Valley Morning Star have reported there are missing funds from my office," Solis said, referring to articles in both newspapers from last week.

A complaint was filed on May 3rd by a concerned resident with the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct, of which both newspapers quoted the filings. The allegations are that Solis was short $500 in cash from October 2007, and has not properly accounted for another $50,000.

Solis continued with his claims of innocence but was cut off by Judge Pro-term Emilio "Junior" Vera when his time was up during public comment.

Solis, a first term justice of the peace, then requested an attorney during an apparent illegal executive session, which was closed to the public.

Regardless of the illegal session, Solis was turned down by commissioners, likely because any findings by the judicial conduct commission could result in criminal charges being filed. In this case, Solis would have to pay for his own attorney.

Solis also requested a gas allowance along with other justices of the peace due to increasing gas prices, but the request was tabled for more discussion.

In other county business, commissioners;

- Authorized split property tax payments (November and June).

- Authorized the hiring of a replacement for Liz Barnhart, who is the tax office collectorelect.

- Accepted the resignation of the extension office secretary, another jailer, and a maintenance department employee.

- Approved the emergency hiring of a jailer, and the promotion of sheriff 's deputy Guillermo Salinas to investigator.

- Allowed Pct. 3 Commissioner and Judge Pro-tem Vera to purse the purchase of a replacement tractor.

Hale Mills Construction representative Shawn Butler presented two change orders for construction and remodelling work for the ICE Unit at the Local Government Corporation portion of Monday morning's commissioners court meeting.

The first change order for $757,762 is for hospital area work, armory modifications, and a dental clinic at the ICE Unit, where illegal aliens are housed. The changes were requested by and will be paid for by ICE, according to Butler

The second change order for $45,425 is for new carpet and other renovations in an ICE office area. It was unclear who will be paying for this work. The county through additions to the bond obligations or by Municipal Capitol Market funders. E-mail comments on this story to; robert@raymondvillechroniclenews.com

Editors Note:

The Chronicle/News stands by its' two recent published stories on Justice of the Peace George Solis, with one minor clarification:

Judge Solis may not have physically sent the cases back to RISD, however they were his cases to handle according to school officials, and were returned to him by the school district. It is unknown whether he has handled the cases in question.

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