State News

Apr 2, 2014 5:13 PM by Associated Press

South Texas Mayor Pleads Guilty to Bribery

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - The U.S. Attorney's office says a South Texas mayor has pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges for his role in a pay-to-play contracting scheme.

Progreso Mayor Omar Leonel Vela, his younger brother and their father were all charged in August with taking bribes and kickbacks from companies that provided services to the city and its schools.

Prosecutors said that Vela admitted to participating in the scheme from 2004 to 2013. He forced a local architect, his firm, a construction company and the school board's attorney to pay bribes to get contracts with the school district and the border town. Vela and others extracted more than $300,000 in bribes.

Charges against Vela's brother, the former school board chairman and their father, the school district's maintenance and transportation supervisor, remain pending.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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