BROWNSVILLE — City Commissioner Cesar De Leon rescinded his resignation on Monday, four days after submitting a letter citing a “conflict of interest” between his legal practice and the city.
There is an eight-day grace period after a letter of resignation is received.
“He did it in writing. I have seen the letter, and it’s been delivered to the city secretary,” Mayor Tony Martinez said.
A resignation takes effect after the eight-day grace period expires or if the city commission accepts it in that timeframe, whichever comes first, Martinez said.
Prior to submitting his resignation letter last Thursday, De Leon apologized publically for some derogatory remarks he made towards two assistant district attorneys with the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.
An audio recording of the commissioner surfaced on social media, and De Leon could be heard using the F-word and the N-word to describe the two black female assistant DAs.
District Attorney Luis V. Saenz said he did not have a reaction to De Leon’s reversal. His main concern was the conflict of interest.
“I have an order from (Judge Rene De Coss) stating that he can’t practice in municipal court,” Saenz said. “As a city commissioner, he has direct authority over the municipal court judges. He is involved in setting their budget, he is involved in determining who is or who isn’t going to sit on that bench.”
After listening to the “infamous” four-hour recording, it became clear that there was an ethical consideration, Saenz said.
“You know what my complaint with Rene De Coss is that he never gave (sic) me a court appointment … let’s set the record straight, I am the only m****f***er that kept you there, the entire commission wanted to get you out,” De Leon said in the recording, according to a motion filed by the DA’s Office. “I am going to keep buttering you up, I am going to give you a raise, because I want you to become a federal judge one day … I would rather have you as my friend.”
Beyond an appearance of impropriety – a circumstance in which the judge’s impartiality could be impaired – there is also an Attorney General opinion that addresses ethical violations, Saenz said.
The Brownsville Herald has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request with the City of Brownsville for the new letter submitted by De Leon.
De Leon could not be reached for comment.