politics
12:07 pm
Wed October 27, 2010

South Texas Lawmaker Found Guilty on 6 Felony Counts

A South Texas lawmaker has been found guilty of multiple crimes in a case involving allegations that he sold access to the legislature.  The Austin American-Statesman reports the jury returned a verdict this morning for State Rep. Kino Flores (D-Mission).

A Travis County jury has found South Texas lawmaker Kino Flores guilty of multiple counts of tampering with a governmental record and perjury in connection with omissions Flores made on financial disclosure forms required to be filed by state elected officials.

The pre-trial filing gave us a picture of the state's case against Flores. Our reporting partner, the Texas Tribune highlighted some of the allegations.

· Accepted $40,000 in payments in exchange for favorable treatment on legislation between 2002 and 2004.

· Was known as "Mr. Ten Percent" for his insistence on being paid 10 percent of the profits companies made from the contracts he awarded them.

· Pressured the director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to hire convicted felon Roel Benavides in 2003, then accepted "improper benefits" from Benavides in the form of property.

· Failed to report over $80,000 in income to the IRS in 2003, over $68,000 in 2004, over $30,000 in 2005, over $51,000 in 2005 and almost $92,000 in 2008.

The AP has even more background on the case.

The key witness for prosecutors was a former Rio Grande Valley clinic owner who testified that he essentially bribed Flores before being convicted of scamming Medicaid of more than $4 million. Eliseo Sandoval, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence, said he paid Flores under the guise of hiring the lawmaker to help a fledging deer-breeding and ranch business.

The next step for Flores will be his sentencing on November 22.