County commissioner calls on DA to investigate Bexar County Democratic Party
Chairwoman says commissioner wrote letter without first contacting her
SAN ANTONIO – Nearly two weeks after the chairwoman of the Bexar County Democratic Party alleged possible incidents of money laundering, forgery, theft, fraud and conspiracy within the group, a county commissioner is calling for an investigation into the chairwoman's actions.
Bexar County Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert on Monday sent a letter to Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales, calling on his office to look into alleged violations of election law by the party's chairwoman, Monica Alcantara.
Gonzales and Calvert are both elected Democrats in Bexar County.
Alcantara, according to the letter authored by Calvert, violated "numerous" provisions in the Texas Election Code when she removed 12 elected precinct chairs from office in a manner that wasn't consistent with the law or party rules. Alcantara told KSAT that five precinct chairs resigned and the 12 which he mentioned were deemed ineligible to be precinct chairs as they live outside of their respective precinct.
In his letter, Calvert stressed the magnitude of the role which the party plays in the elections process, describing it as a "quasi-governmental entity recognized under state law to administer our elections."
Calvert went on, writing that "any attempt to deny the voters, through unilateral action, must be challenged under the constitution."
Calvert's letter comes after Alcantara called a news conference March 12, stating that the Bexar County Democratic Party Transparency and Financial Integrity Commission, which she formed, concluded that there was possible financial malfeasance within the party.
In the March 12 news release, Alcantara said that after meeting with Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, she was advised to ask the FBI to investigate the actions of some past party leadership from 2014 and 2016. In his letter, Calvert said that the FBI has "no primacy" over the issues at hand, adding that the secretary of the party was willing to provide check stubs and bank records over the past five years to show that Alcantara's allegations "are a smear, not born out by facts."
Alcantara countered the suggestions, telling KSAT, "I would not have gone before the FBI if these were not facts. Many of the people who have spoken to (Calvert) are all the people that are being looked into."
Calvert cautioned in his letter, "Having not reviewed the documentation myself, I cannot determine who is correct," but said, "The best thing for the taxpayers and voters is to have a swift investigation by the appropriate local and state authorities so the party is not covered in a cloud of suspicion."
Alcantara said that because Calvert wrote the letter without first consulting with her, he likely isn't aware of the details that required the FBI's involvement.
"The information that was found out is not strictly a state or local issue. There are some issues that go beyond the boundaries of the county and the state level," Alcantara said, declining to elaborate due to the ongoing investigation.
Calvert concluded his letter noting that one issue which the Department of Justice and by translation, the FBI, should look into is possible violations of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act by Alcantara, explaining how she has approved all white applicants seeking to become a precinct chair, 47 percent of Hispanic applicants and only 25 percent of black candidates.
The letter was brought up during a Tuesday commissioners meeting which Alcantara was not able to attend due to a family emergency. Rose Marie DeHoyos spoke on Alcantara's behalf, saying that Calvert's letter was insulting.
"Chairwoman Alcantara and the majority of the (County Executive Committee) members have been following the appropriate state laws since she was elected to build a stronger party," DeHoyos said. "Impugning our integrity as a party is an insult."
She added the suggestion that Alcantara discriminates on the basis of race "serves no good purpose."
DeHoyos urged other commissioners to consult with Calvert about "appropriate commissioner public behavior" and shot down the truthfulness of the allegations in Calvert's letter.
DeHoyos asserted the party's authority to remove precinct chairs, alleging that some precinct chairs were not in the correct precincts. She said that the letter was one-sided and authored without first consulting with Alcantara.
Gonzales said via email that his office has received Calvert's letter and it is under review, adding, "we have no further comment at this time.”
Calvert said he is meeting with the district attorney's civil division chief in early April to discuss the letter and would elaborate further after the meeting.
Alcantara said she has reached out to Calvert's office to set up a meeting to discuss the commission's findings.
"The majority if not all of the claims in his letter are untrue," Alcantara said. "I wish he would've given me the opportunity to sit down with him."
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