Hearing underway to determine fate of Bexar County judicial candidate’s spot in primary

Lawsuit claims candidate Lisa Uresti-Dasher had discrepancies on sworn application, was untruthful about residency

SAN ANTONIO – A hearing into the validity of a judicial candidate’s application for the 285th District Court stretched late into the evening Tuesday, hours after several judges recused themselves from hearing the case.

A lawsuit filed last month by 285th District Court candidate Nadine Nieto accuses her opponent in the March Democratic primary, Lisa Uresti-Dasher, of having multiple discrepancies on her sworn application for the position.

The suit, which seeks to have Uresti-Dasher removed from the ballot, states that the local attorney used two versions of her name: Lisa Uresti-Dasher and Lisa Uresti Dasher, while applying to run.

Additionally, Nieto said before Tuesday’s hearing that she does not believe Uresti-Dasher is running under her legal name, and is instead attempting to gain name recognition among voters by using her maiden name.

Uresti-Dasher is the daughter of longtime Bexar County tax assessor-collector Albert Uresti and the niece of disgraced former Texas state senator Carlos Uresti, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence for federal fraud and money laundering convictions.

Campaign signs for Uresti-Dasher posted across San Antonio contain the familiar green and white color scheme used by other members of her family who have run for public office.

“There were a lot of inaccuracies on her application,” Nieto said Monday, after the previously scheduled hybrid hearing was moved online.

“It’s important to our community to have honest, trustworthy judges. And this election is about the integrity of this bench and it’s about the integrity of elections in general,” said Nieto, who added that people running for judge should be able to tell the truth on a simple application.

Technical issues

Tuesday’s hearing got underway around 1:30 p.m. and was pushed to a second day after the proceedings stretched past 5 p.m. It was scheduled to resume virtually at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday’s hearing was rife with technical issues, screechy audio and interruptions.

After the name “Rebecca” was spoken several times, repeatedly interrupting the proceeding, visiting Judge John Gabriel threatened to have the interrupter removed.

Uresti-Dasher’s uncle, Tomas Uresti, acknowledged failing to mute his phone’s microphone while watching the hearing and apologized.

Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanen testified Tuesday that the ballots for the March 1 primary must be printed by Jan. 13.

Early voting for the primary is scheduled to begin February 14, according to the Texas Secretary of State.

Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Monica Alcantara testified that she viewed Uresti-Dasher’s use of that name as a “permitted nickname.”

Attorneys for Uresti-Dasher, who unsuccessfully filed a motion to have the suit dismissed, acknowledged that parts of their client’s application were inaccurate.

Uresti-Dasher’s attorney pushed back on the characterization from Nieto’s attorney, however, that the application contained “false” information.

A key part of the suit is the allegation that Uresti-Dasher provided inaccurate information about how long she has lived in the state of Texas as well as the district the court represents, Bexar County.

Reached by telephone last week, Uresti-Dasher acknowledged living in Pennsylvania while her husband went through medical training as well as living in Minnesota and Wisconsin while attending law schools in those two states.

Uresti-Dasher also lived, for a time, in Harris County, according to her and a check of public records.

She is scheduled to testify Wednesday.

About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy award-winning photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.

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