Ex- fire chief fined for election code violation

 

BROWNSVILLE — The Texas Ethics Commission fined embattled former Brownsville fire chief Carlos Elizondo $1,000 for violating the Texas Election Code.

The commission met on March 21 and determined credible evidence existed that Elizondo violated three sections of the Texas Election Code by accepting contributions and authorizing political expenditures for the Brownsville Firefighters for Responsible Government political committee after he had been terminated as its treasurer.

Elizondo was suspended without pay in late 2017 after a Cameron County grand jury issued an indictment charging him with theft by a public servant and misapplication of fiduciary duty after authorities accused him of making improper ATM cash withdrawals totaling $8,000 from the political action committee while he was its president from January 2014 to 2016.

In 2018, a Cameron County grand jury indicted him on 11 counts of computer security breach over allegations that he accessed the Brownsville Fire Department’s Emergency Reporting System 11 times while suspended by the city.

Elizondo has maintained his innocence and entered not guilty pleas to all of the charges.

The TEC issued its order and agreed resolution resulting in a fine in May.

As part of the agreement, Elizondo does not admit or deny the TEC findings and waives any right to further proceedings in the matter.

The TEC said in the order that it terminated Elizondo’s position as campaign treasurer with the political action committee on April 21, 2010, because he submitted the PAC’s January 2009 semiannual report late and then failed to file two subsequent semiannual reports.

“The respondent paid a civil penalty for failing to file the semiannual reports,” the order states. “The failure to file the two semiannual reports also prompted the Commission to terminate his campaign treasurer appointment.”

The termination took place at a public meeting for which Elizondo was provided notice.

“The respondent claims not to have received the notices, but they were sent to his address where previous notices of late reports were sent and responded to by him,” the order states.