Sunday, January 19, 2020

San Angelo's Former Elected Police Chief Charged with Bribery

The Department of Justice press release stated:

Timothy Ray Vasquez, 49, was charged Wednesday with one count of receipt of a bribe by an agent of an organization receiving federal funds and three counts of honest services mail fraud.

“We must insist that law enforcement leaders personify integrity,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “Former Chief Vasquez abused his office for personal financial gain. We are determined to root out corruption wherever we find it. Public officials cannot be allowed to violate their sacred trusts.”

“The defendant manipulated a government procurement process to personally profit for years. This abuse of power affected a system that is supposed to be fair and unbiased,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Dallas Field Office Matthew J. DeSarno. “Public corruption is one of the FBI’s top investigative priorities. We will continue to hold elected officials accountable for violating the trust of their constituents.”

According to the indictment, Mr. Vasquez allegedly used his official position to help a radio system vendor land two government contracts worth more than $11 million. In return, the vendor and its affiliates allegedly funneled him and his band, “Funky Munky,” more than $130,000.
City records show Council's actions on the updated radio system in late 2014-mid 2015.

Vasquez presented the item alongside IT's Bucky Hasty to City Council on June 2, 2015 when Council approved over $5.7 million for the purchase of the P25 radio system upgrade.

The city did not bid the P25 radio system, a $6 million capital budget item.

The city did bid the CAD-Records Management-Mobile Computing system during the same time period.  The city later sued Spillman Technologies for $3.5 million for fraudulently representing the system's performance.

Vasquez' indictment noted his ill gotten gains as the initial radio system was wearing out:

By 2015, Mr. Vasquez and Funky Money had collected more than $84,000, including $38,200 the defendant deposited directly into his personal bank account and $29,800 he withdrew in cash.
To keep the cash train going Vasquez needed vendor Daily and Wells Communications Inc. to win the new contract.

In an email with city employees, Mr. Vasquez indicated he wanted to “use the same vendor” for the new equipment, and urged the City Manager to support Vendor 1. In another email with a city employee, he discussed an exemption from the competitive bidding process that would allow San Angelo to award the contract to Vendor 1.
Following a presentation made by then-Chief Vasquez and another employee, San Angelo awarded a new $5.7 million contract to Vendor 1 in June 2015. 
Council approved Chief Vasquez' recommendation on June 2, 2015.

In total, Mr. Vasquez and Funky Munky received at least $134,000 from Vendor 1 and its affiliates, including at least $88,200 he deposited into his personal bank account and $29,800 he withdrew in cash.
The public deserves information on how the former Police Chief manipulated a government procurement process to personally profit for years. 

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