Is US Attorney General Protecting Private Prisons?

Email and attachment from Jay Johnson-Castro.

We all know…Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez is under the gun in Congress…

He also may be the key to the “for profit” prisons and the rounding up of the helpless and humble immigrants. Is he blocking investigations into the grip corruption has on the incarceration of tens of thousands of immigrants…and hundreds of thousands of otherwise minor offenders?
Most of you know that we did a walk and a vigil at the Raymondville, Willacy Co., TX “for profit” concentration camp where 2,000 helpless immigrants and asylum seekers are imprisoned in inhumane conditions.

Right not…the most hardened and callous criminals are not those on the inside of the “for profit” prisons…so much as those who propose, finance, build and operate the prison camps…along with their politically corrupt puppets who get them approved. These criminals are running the prisons, literally robbing we the taxpayers of thousands of millions of dollars, on the pretext that they are protecting our society…from criminals…and terrorist. That’s why the lock up “illegals” for profit. The real illegality is that they are getting away with crime.

Attached is an article by one of the most genuine journalists I know, Steve Taylor, editor of the Rio Grande Guardian (www.riograndeguardian.com. You have to subscribe to his news service…but I’ve fudged and have copied and attached it here.) It is an interview with the Willacy Co. D.A., Juan Guerra. It exposes the flow of the continuous corruption that the current administration is involved in…all the way down to the local level.

If you know anyone who is concerned about “for profit” prisons…you do not need to look much further. Just look at the national dumping ground of the weak and helpless…the rejects of the current administration. They’re sent to the Rio Grande region…the most neglected part of Texas and the entire U.S.A. Look at the politicos who are woven into the flow of corruption. Who is Gonzalez REALLY protecting?

If you are concerned about the prison system in this country…if you ache over the flagrant violation of human rights, the prison rape, the corruption…then this is the smoking gun. Help us with Raymondville, Willacy County, TX…and we’ll discover everything else we need to know. And then…we can free the innocent and the helpless…and put the criminals on the inside…instead of running the prisons for profit.

Jay
jay@villadelrio.com

*********************

By Steve Taylor
Rio Grande Guardian

RAYMONDVILLE – Willacy County District Attorney Juan Guerra wants Congress to investigate whether the office of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stopped a federal investigation that he says was making “good progress” into a number of suspect federal prison contracts.

“I think Congress has a right to know if there was an obstruction of justice because we have not yet seen justice in Willacy County,” Guerra said. “All we have seen is a federal investigation blocked. Let’s take a closer look at these multi-million dollar prison contracts. The taxpayer has a right to know.”

Guerra looks as though his wish will be granted as U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Corpus Christi, has asked him to go to Washington, D.C., to brief House members and staff. The visit could lead to Guerra testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

Ortiz has met with Guerra in person in Corpus Christi and participated in a number of teleconference calls on the subject.

“You bring up a very serious matter – one that involves a federal facility, federal prisoners, and the sale of bonds,” Ortiz wrote, in an April 20 letter to Guerra. “This requires the sort of insight available only from a congressional committee.”

Ortiz said he had referred Guerra’s letter to the House Judiciary Committee, which has oversight of federal prisons and prisoners.

“While our Judiciary Committees in Congress have been quite busy lately with the revelations associated with the firings of eight U.S. prosecutors, I know this is a matter in which they will have a strong interest,” Ortiz said.

“I understand you have already spoken to the Judiciary Committee staff which is interested in documentation of these matters, and I look forward to seeing you here in Washington to personally brief committee staff and other members about the matters you attest to in your letter to me.”

Guerra wants to know why an investigation by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim McAlister has “gone cold.” Nancy Herrera, a spokeswoman for Donald J. DeGabrielle, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, told the Guardian that the Justice Department cannot confirm or deny whether an investigation has been closed.

“Everything seemed to be going well with the federal investigation,” Guerra said. “Three county commissioners involved in the prison contract had been sentenced.”

Guerra pointed out that at a hearing last November, McAlister asked if one of the county commissioners, David Cortez, could be given probation because he was cooperating well with the federal investigation.

“McAlister gave the distinct impression that someone else, higher up the food chain, would fall as a result of Cortez’s cooperation,” Guerra said. “A week later, McAlister told me in private the investigation was over. I was stunned.”

Guerra said he has made good chronological notes for Ortiz and his congressional colleagues.

The first contract was awarded to Corplan Corrections in late 1999 by Willacy county commissioners. The 500-bed prison facility was estimated at $15 million, with a no-bid contract provision.

Guerra said he remembers Cortez, a county commissioner from Webb County, and state Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, presenting themselves to commissioners as consultants for Corplan, whose president was James Parkey.

Willacy County’s commissioners at the time were Judge Simon Salinas, Alfredo Serrato, Jose Jimenez, Noe Loya and Israel Tamez. Jimenez, Loya, and Tamez voted for the project. Salinas and Serrato voted against because of the no-bid clause.

“The bonds were to be sold by Municipal Capital Markets, whose president was Michael W. Harling,” Guerra said. “The construction company was Hale Mills, Inc., and the operator was Management & Training Corporation, whose president was R. Scott Marquant.”

According to its Web site, Municipal Capital Markets, a Dallas-based underwriting company, has financed 42 state and county owned correctional facilities. “One of the questions I have for Congress is whether Municipal Capital Markets made $3 million out of Willacy County,” Guerra said. “That’s a lot of money.”

The PFC Corporation set up to sell the bonds had Armando Rubalcaba, the county auditor, as president. The federal prison opened two years later, with the county getting $2 per diem per inmate.

Guerra said that in June 2003, Parkey, representing Corplan, appeared before Willacy county commissioners with a similar project. This time, Willacy County would build the jail and contract with the federal government to house federal inmates.

The project was estimated to be about $8 million, again with a no-bid contract. “The same players were involved except that Larry Spence, our local sheriff, would manage the prison, not MTC,” Guerra said. “Again, Rubalcaba was named president of the PFC Corporation. The facility opened about two years later.”

Guerra began his own investigation in January 2004, after learning that Rubalcaba had issued a second credit card in the name of the corporations for his own personal use. On February 26, 2004, Rubalcaba w
as i
ndicted by Guerra. He plead guilty and was given ten years probation with the condition that he cooperated with law enforcement officers looking into a kickback scheme involving some county commissioners. The Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the case was McAlister.

On January 4, 2005, Tamez and Jimenez pled guilty to accepting $10,000 each in kickbacks for awarding Corplan the prison contract. “They were both offered light sentences if they cooperated with McAlister on who gave them the kickback money,” Guerra said.

On March 25, 2005, Cortez pled guilty to giving kickback money to Tamez and Jimenez. “He was also offered a light sentence if he cooperated with McAlister on who gave him the kickback money to give to Tamez and Jimenez,” Guerra said. “Who gave Cortez the money to give to Tamez and Jimenez? Why wasn’t Loya indicted. There are lots of unanswered questions.”

Guerra said his notes show that on June 19, 2005, Parkey visited Willacy County to discuss another prison contract, worth about $60 million.

“This project was explained to Willacy county commissioners by Harling as a ‘top secret’ project that was coming all the way from the top man, President Bush,” Guerra said. “The project was to be built within six weeks and was again a no-bid project. It was the same individuals and companies – Corplan, Hale Mills, Municipal Capital Markets, Harling and Lucio.”

This time the commissioners court comprised Salinas, still the county judge, Loya, Emilio Vera, Aurelio Guerra (Juan Guerra’s brother) and Ariel Cantu. Salinas, Loya, and Vera voted for the project.

“This time the kickback was a promise to the commissioners that the county would get about $8 million within the first seven months, by March 1, 2007” Guerra said. “To date the county has not seen a single penny of that money.”

On November 21, 2006, Tamez was sentenced to six months imprisonment for accepting bribes. Jimenez had died of cancer a few months prior.

Guerra said McAlister encouraged him to continue the investigation. “As soon as I started my investigation, my problems started. I have been arrested twice on false charges. People in high places are trying to derail my investigation,” Guerra said.

On December 6, 2006, Corplan came to Willacy county commissioners’ court to talk about yet another prison project. Guerra said the latest project is estimated at $40 million and is another no-bid contract. “The commissioners were skeptical to move forward due to the total outstanding bonds that the county now owes. It’s about $100 million.”

Mervyn M. Mosbacker, a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, believes it is Guerra who should be investigated. Mosbacker assisted Guerra’s political nemesis Gus Garza when Garza was appointed a Special Prosecutor by State District Judge Migdalia Lopez. Garza has run against Guerra many times in the past.

In an April 9 letter to J. Manuel Banales, the presiding judge of the Fifth Judicial Administrative District, Mosbacker requested a new grand jury to review and investigate “allegations against Mr. Guerra and others.”

Mosbacker said he believed it would be “in the best interests of justice if a new grand jury, independent of the original process that led to the indictments in question, were to look at the evidence of possible wrongdoing with a set of fresh eyes.”

Guerra said Congress ought to ask why Mosbacker is “obsessed” with Willacy County matters.

“Mosbacker used to be DeGabrielle’s boss and even recommended him as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District. DeGabrielle is McAlister’s boss. Gonzales went to the ceremony when De Gabrielle was appointed. Congress ought to ask just who Jim McAlister answers to,” Guerra said.

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