Jailed school board president willing to resign to get out on bond
Wed, 04 Sep 2013 19:54:57 GMT —
Jailed Progreso ISD school board president Michael Vela is willing to resign from office in order to get out on bond.
FBI agents arrested Vela, his brother and their father last week.
Accused in a "pay to play" bribery scheme, Vela and his two family members have been in custody since their arrests.
The three appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dorina Ramos in McAllen late Wednesday morning.
Federal prosecutors filed a motion asking Judge Ramos to keep them all in custody due to fears of workplace and personal retaliation against witnesses in the case.
An FBI agent testified that one school board member who fell out of favor with the Velas was once run off the road and assaulted by a school district employee acting under the order of Vela's father.
The agent also testified that the school district superintendent was put on very harsh restrictions including being confined to his office.
The agent also testified that a school board member's relative was demoted and moved from City Hall to the police department in retaliation by Vela's brother Omar, who is mayor.
Defense attorney Ric Salinas said his client Michael Vela is willing to step down in order to eliminate fears of retaliation.
Vela's father Jos Guadalupe Vela, Jr., who is the transportation and maintenance director for the school district, is also willing to step down from office in order to get bond.
Salinas said his client resigning from office is not an admission of guilt.
A defense attorney for Vela's brother Omar claims that the job transfer incident happened well before the FBI investigation.
Judge Ramos said she would review the testimony and issue a decision by late Thursday afternoon.