Ethics commission takes disciplinary action against violators
LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - A former ethics commissioner and local pastor were found to have violated the city’s ethics code by lobbying for a business without being registered to do so.
This was the decision made unanimously by the ethics commission.
On Wednesday evening, ethics commissioners found that Hector Lee Patino knowingly and intentionally violated the city ethics code by lobbying without registering with the city.
”Of course I disagree with, you know the decision that a was made of course, but I’m going to respect the commission’s decision.”
”I’m disappointed in our ethics commission I think they got it wrong here today.”
This all began when Patino contacted city officials like District Seven Councilmember Vanessa Perez to push for a project with North American Industrial Park.
He was asking the city to assist the company with relocating a private dump site that was on their property.
However, since it was a dump site not owned by the city they could not help with transporting or waiving transportation costs, which would’ve wound up costing taxpayers more than $130,000.
Patino was notified by the city to register as a lobbyist if he was going to continue pushing for the project with city officials.
Despite the warning, Patino continued all while reportedly getting paid $2,500 to do so.
According to Patino, he didn’t want to register because he couldn’t afford a $1,200 fee.
During the meeting, he and Perez spoke before the commission to explain the situation.
In the end, commissioners unanimously agreed that Patino was in the wrong, and as punishment requested that he attend an ethics training, that a letter of reprimand be issued, and for him to pay a $500 fine if he does not complete the training in 60 days.
KGNS caught up with Patino and Perez after the meeting to talk about the decision.
”Of course I’m going to comply and hopefully we can have a discussion about helping small businesses and helping individuals like myself that are trying to build a business and trying to make a living for us,” said Patino.
”It’s disappointing that we have spent a lot of money on just labor and time into this situation and for him to just kinda get a $500 fine and then be dismissed, I don’t think it’s in line with other possible violations and it worries me,” said Perez.
Patino did file a peace bond against Perez which was denied and attempted to file harassment charges, but police felt there was no case.
He has since been fired by North American Industrial Park.
The assistant city attorney did recommend that the commission impose the highest punishment on Patinom which could be denying him future contracts with the city.
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