Sunday, July 22, 2012


By Juan Montoya
Here's a sad litany on former Brownsville Independent School District trustee Ruben Cortez's record in "Keeping Politics out of the Classroom:
Cortez, who has a H.S. diploma (GED?) wants to be one of 15 new members to the Texas School Board of Education and is running against Celeste Zepeda Sanchez, who has a Bachelor's and Master's degree and has been an educator for 45 years. She is also a current member of the San Benito City Commission.
With early voting starting on Monday, please don't forget what Cortez accomplished as a BISD trustee.
From the current lawsuit in state court by former Superintendent Hector Gonzales:

– February 2007: (Ruben) Cortez visited Gonzales and told him he did not want insurance provider Healthsmart as the new insurance carrier for the district. He told Gonzales that he and the other (co-conspirators) wanted Mutual of Omaha, or any other firm in which Johnny Cavazos would be the agent. Gonzales said he would not participate in this conspiracy.
– March 2007: Cortez approached Gonzales again on the same issue and insisted that Gonzales only recommend one of Cavazos' insurance firms for the upcoming insurance contract. Again, Gonzales refused to join the conspiracy.
– Dec. 2007 to February 2008: (Rolando) Aguilar Cortez, and (Joe) Colunga met with Gonzales to discuss their "concerns" regarding the upcoming health insurance contract. They made it clear that they did not want Healthsmart, but one of Cavazos' companies.
– Sept. 16, 2008: CFO Antonio Juarez recommended AAG/Berkley for the Stop-Loss Insurance contract which was not adopted by the board at that meeting. Afterwards, Cortez visited Gonzales in his office and told him he did not like the recommendation and didn't like "being lied to." Gonzales said he would have Tony Resendez, counsel with Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Brown and Schultze to look into the matter. Resendez recommended the matter be handled administratively with a warning to Juarez that perhaps he did "not communicate effectively" to the board.
– Oct. 21: Cortez requested a consent item on the agenda related to "apparent misinformation" directed toward board members on insurance contract. Another "superintendent evaluation" was placed on agenda but no action was taken. Aguilar. Cortez, and Colunga all met with Gonzales separately after the meeting regarding Juarez. Each conveyed to Gonzales that they wanted him to fire Juarez for "lying" to them regarding the Stop-Loss insurance contract they wanted to go to Cavazos. They all wanted Gonzales to fire him and then give a recommendation to Cavazo's company.
When Gonzales didn't fire Juarez, but instead reassigned him to a grant administrator position, Cortez's reaction was immediate.
– Upon discovering the reassignment, trustees Aguilar, and Cortez went to Gonzales' office outraged. They both screamed "Why didn't you fire Tony? Why didn't you just terminate him?"

– Immediately after the Sept. 23, 2008 board meeting: Gonzales and board members attended CUBE convention in Las Vegas and Cortez approached Gonzales and told him the current board did not extend his contract because they were going to "hold him hostage." He also said his job "was on the line" and that the superintendent needed to "prove that he would do as they directed" and to "start proving himself by firing (former Special Services Director Art) Rendon because that would make Colunga very happy."
Further, Cortez said there was going to "be a change" and that Gonzales needed to "play ball with his side" or be fired. He also said that once Zayas was elected, they would have the majority vote and that they wanted the current insurance policy cancelled and a new insurance policy to be awarded to Cavazos.
Cortez also told Gonzales they wanted Rendon fired and his contract terminated immediately. Further, Cortez warned that Gonzales "needs to listen to him because they will be in control and all he has to do is do what they tell him to do" because "this was the way Brownsville operated."
– In the days and months following this episode: The BISD majority and its co-conspirators tried to procure false grievances against Gonzales in a further attempt to discredit, discriminate against, and terminate him.
– Sept. 18, 2009: Because of his refusal to stop and/or silence efforts to uncover and expose illegal and other improper activity of the conspiracy, Gonzales was terminated. He further charges in his petition that the conspirators – including Cortez – "manipulated and created evidence, coerced and intimidated witnesses, gave false testimony, and falsified records to make it appear that the Special Services Department was in a financial mess and in an organizational shambles. Further, the conspirators controlled, corrupted, and manipulated the entire grievance and appeal procedure such that the outcomes of specific and selected cases at the conspirators' choosing, were pre-determined."

– Also May 2008: Cortez went to Gonzales and instructed him to promote his wife to principal of Benavides Elementary. Cortez threatened Gonzales that "if he wanted to remain at BISD as superintendent, he should make it happen. Gonzales said he could not oblige such a request. Cortez responded "we will see what happens."
Cortez was also in the majority sued by former Special Needs Department Director Art Rendon, who stated in a sworn deposition in his case (Southern District of Texas 1:10-cv-00198) that:

"58. On or about June, 2008, Ruben Cortez, a sitting board member on BISD, contacted Plaintiff directly via telephone. He instructed Plaintiff to hire his sister, Linda Aguilar, for summer school employment as a Special Education teacher.
59. Plaintiff informed Mr. Cortez that BISD had hiring policies in place and instructed him that the hiring application for the summer of 2008 had already been accepted and processed.
60. Cortez sent Plaintiff his sister's application and insisted Plaintiff call her immediately and giver her a job. Plaintiff set up a meeting between Cortez's sister Linda, Ana Lerma, who was a Special Education supervisor, and Dr. Lee Garcia, Assistant Director for Special Services. At the meeting, Ruben Cortez's orders were followed, and Linda Aguilar was given a job for the summer of 2008.


Anonymous said...

Ruben Cortez is a DUD....but unfortunately we have lots of his "DUD Ralatives" in our midst and they vote for ignorance.

Anonymous said...

Brownsville. When will will you learn that your single VOTE makes a difference ?

This guy RUBEN who has part of the jail contract and makes thousands and thousands of dollors each month with partner Zayas is now throwing money at the Hidalgo politiceras to win the July 30 /31 election run - off ! !

CELESTE SANCHEZ has an honest, proven eductional and personal record in San BenitoISD, in EdgewoodISD and as a city commissioner for over 8 years.

Anonymous said...

Come on Juan you know that all of this stuff is BS that Cata Presas-Garcia feeds you. She is the biggest crook this county has ever seen. She is a thief, a liar, and a total criminal. Do you know why she is constantly accusing people of being corrupt? Because she is totatlly corrupted! Do you know why she is constantly accusing people of lying? Because she is a huge liar! DO you know why she is contantly accusing people of being on the take? Because she is always on the take! DO you know why she accuses people of being criminals? Because she is the biggest criminal cameron county politics has ever seen. She asks for CASH when seeking political donations and she gets them from big companies who she pays back with favors. You people know who you are and if I were you I would go to the FEDS and workout some kind of deal before all of you are turned in by none other than good old Cata Presas-Garcia herself. Because believe you me SHE will turn you in to save her own ass!!! Think about it my friends, just think about it.

Anonymous said...

If there is documentation on all this, why are these crooks not in jail? Could it have been possible that Ruben Pena, who was suppose to have defended Hector Gonzales, sold out to them, too. Where was TEA in regards to micromanagement when they recommended that Hector be dismissed. Todos son una bola de ratas!

Anyone who votes for Cortez to sit on the State Board of Education should have their head examine. He should only get 3 votes - his Mommy, his wife and him and, oh, probably su Zayitas compadre.

Oh, Juan, his wife was made principal at Sharp Elem. and not Benavidez - FYI

Anonymous said...

so are you saying that Rendon is one of the good guys? i had always heard that he was just a political hack

Anonymous said...

Ruben Cortez is a DICK...and an uneducated DICK. Why would we want a person with minimal educational experience to make education policy. Can't believe we are having this blog conversation about him. He and his mother both were behind the door when brains were handed out.

Anonymous said...

Saw Cortez parked at an 8-liner near La Feria off the expressway. Looks like he was picking up cash

Anonymous said...

cortez no vale verga

Anonymous said...

Juan why do you publish the curse words???????????????/