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Rangers investigating alleged bribe, council will not consider port appointment Tuesday

Posted at 4:26 PM, Dec 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-03 19:49:49-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — KRIS 6 News learned Friday the Texas Rangers are investigating an alleged bribe by a person seeking an appointment to the Port of Corpus Christi Commission.

Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo also confirmed Friday via text message the Corpus Christi City Council vote to appoint the new commissioner has been removed from Tuesday's council agenda.

As we reported Thursday, an email sent by City Attorney Miles Risley to the mayor and other city officials states there are allegations of impropriety with the city’s pending appointment to the port commission.

There is no word yet on when it will be placed back on the agenda.

Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni told KRIS 6 News on Friday the council member reported the alleged bribe attempt has spoken with the Rangers. He also said the city council would not be briefed on details of the investigation ahead of the vote that was planned Tuesday.

While the document didn’t specify the allegation, two-high level sources tell KRIS 6 News one council member was approached with a bribe.

Potential impropriety

Zanoni said the council member initially made the report to the city attorney and he, along with Corpus Christi Police Chief Mike Markle, has advised that the council not be briefed due to the pending investigation.

Among the allegations being made, according to multiple high-level sources, the council member claims to have been asked, “What would it take to get your vote?”

The same council member was then offered the use of a venue for future fundraising events, according to these sources.

KRIS 6 News has reached out to multiple members of the city council, who say they have had no similar conversations with any potential appointees to the port commission.

District 5 Councilman Gil Hernandez said he has made appointments to the port commission three times, and they are often contentious appointments, with many people offering opinions and lobbying for who they believe should be appointed to the position.

He said he bases his decision on the answer to two questions: "Are they a person that has integrity" and "Can they provide value to the port commission?"

This is a developing story, stay with KRIS 6 News for updates.