Commissioners to decide on future of tent-city prison

RAYMONDVILLE — Bond holders are apparently demanding Willacy County pay off a $68.8 million debt remaining on the former tent-city prison.

On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to enter into an agreement with an national prison operator for the “operations and management” of the facility.

In 2006, the county sold $60 million in bonds to bond holders represented by Michael Harling, a financier with Municipal Capital Markets Group in Dallas.

In a financial statement issued in February, the bond holders are calling the bonds.

“The trustee received a direction from the holders … authorizing and directing the trustee to declare the principal of the bonds to be immediately due and payable,” according to the statement.

In the financial statement, the bond holders apparently urge county commissioners to consider the sale of the facility, suggesting the the facility be used as a detention center amid heightened interest in such facilities.

President Trump’s push to deport undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes has apparently driven interest in the facility, County Judge Aurelio Guerra has said.

For more on this story read Tuesday’s Valley Morning Star.