Garza case reversed on appeal - Brownsville Herald: Valley

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Garza case reversed on appeal

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Posted: Tuesday, December 24, 2019 10:44 am

An appellate court handed Hidalgo County Drainage District No. 1 a big win in November when it ruled it could continue it’s lawsuit against its former drainage district manager, who is accused of making millions of dollars based on alleged fraudulent claims involving border wall construction funds.

Godfrey Garza Jr., the former drainage district general manager and owner of Integ Corporation, is accused of submitting fraudulent invoices for work his company performed while he was at the helm of the district. Garza began managing the district as an employee in 1995. But in October 2000, Hidalgo County commissioners, who also fill in as the board of directors for the drainage district, gave Garza the green light to allow his company, Integ, to manage the district, while also allowing it to receive outside work through the private sector.

County commissioners alleged in court that Garza purposely circumvented the county auditor and received payments for work that was outside the scope for which his company was hired.

He did so by making sure that Integ’s invoices were submitted for approval under the consent agenda, which is not reviewed by the auditor, the district’s attorneys argued in court. The lawsuit hit a seemingly dead end Feb. 15, 2018, when Judge Martin Chiuminatto, a visiting judge for the Fifth Administrative Judicial Region, ruled that the district had no case against Garza. The 13th Court of Appeals reversed that ruling Nov. 21.

“We reverse the trial court’s summary judgment dismissing (the district’s) claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and for breach of contract,” the appellate court’s memorandum opinion stated.

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