Thursday, August 29, 2013


No one who is informed doubts Cameron county is losing millions in bridge fees and relates taxes and services because of poor bridge service at Veterans and a lack of a truck bridge. This is a given. It is also a given that a special bridge which ties Matamoros directly to our port would be a money maker. So what is the problem?

Dannenbaum and the stolen $21 million dollars - that is the problem.  The only way I see this community getting behind the county taking over this project is if two things happen.

An auditor has to be assigned to the project to confirm through presentation to Commissioners Court the vendor has done everything they are billing for and it was done correctly before any bills are paid.  The auditor must also confirm the project is on schedule.

Here is the more controversial part - I will never support such a project unless Commissioners Court hires an independent former federal prosecutor to bring a grand jury referral to the Cameron county grand jury seeking indictments of Villalobos and Dannenbaum for the conspiracy to cover-up the original criminal conduct in exchange for a $1 million pay-off to Villalobos' office.

Villalobos during his trial admitted he used the forfeiture process to raise money to manage his office.  This is not disputed - $21 million dollars does not just go missing.  There was a crime and Villalobos chose to turn a blind eye to it for the million dollar bribe to his office for use in managing the DA's office.

This investigation will certainly extend to people like Carlos Masso, Martin Arambula and other commissioners who were part of the conspiracy to run cover for Villalobos and Dannebaum.  The fact a grand jury already  found no criminal activity is meaningless.  They only knew what Villalobos wanted them to know.

If there was no criminal activity how did Villalobos find $1 million dollars to be forfeited for criminal activity?

Without a grand jury referral to reopen this investigation to be handled by a  former federal prosecutor hired by Commissioners Court I say no, absolutely no to a new bridge.

Just a side issue - how strong will Greg Abbott look as honest when his boy James Dannebaum is indicted with his other boy Republican US Attorney Robert Pitman asleep at  the wheel making sure there is always dead silence when the name James Dannenbaum comes up.  This is a valid investigation which will serve the people of Cameron county and send a strong message to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and Republican US Attorney Robert Pitman - we are not playing.

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