Lawsuit claims La Joya ISD board members accepted bribes

A raid at a La Joya ISD school board member's home may be connected to allegations of bribery and corruption.

Federal agents raided the the home of school board member J.J. Garza Wednesday morning.

The U.S. Attorney General and HUD Office of the Inspector General remained tightlipped about the incident, only confirming that there is an active investigation.

Agents were seen loading boxes of paperwork from Garza'a garage and from his office at the La Joya Housing Authority, which is where Garza is the director.

Action 4 News has learned that there is currently a lawsuit against La Joya ISD, J.J. Garza and several other board members.

Ruth Villarreal Insurance filed the lawsuit alleging that the contract was broken because another company bribed a school board member.

"I don't know if it has to do with this investigation or the contract rigging, but he is the individual-the one raided," said Javier Pea, an attorney for the insurance company. "J.J. Garza came out on camera talking about the money he received and how he would explain it if it ever came up."

According to the company's lawsuit, the school board awarded them a contract with the school district in November 2012.

According to court documents, when a competiting company made a "donation" of $15,000 to one of the current board members Garza, Joel Garcia, Jesus Avendano, and Oscar Salinas, that all changed.

"Contracts are just being bought and paid for," Pea said. "This new insurance agent that happens to be the one that had all the complaints back prior to 2006, Bob Trevino, is able to walk in without going though a bid process."

Pea described why the confidence and blatant disregard for the legal process is what most concerns him.

"It TMs very troubling that is so blatant," he said. "The corruption in this case it TMs done with almost no fear of consequence."

Pea stated that his client just would like what they were promised, which is for their original contract to be honored.