A group of Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District employees is alleging political retaliation by the school board in a new lawsuit. A dozen employees claim they received punishments for their involvement in a political campaign against members of the board, including pay decreases and demotions.
The plaintiffs say the actions against them amount to political retaliation for supporting board members’ opponents in a 2018 election. The employees seek compensation for damages including impairment of reputation, humiliation, lost wages and benefits, and emotional pain.
“Our clients are hard workers that were retaliated against by elected officials simply for supporting other candidates,” Alfonso Kennard Jr., the plaintiffs’ attorney, said in a statement. “We have many recordings and witnesses and look forward to our day in court. We won’t let this type of illegal and irrational behavior against working people continue.”
District officials say they will respond to the lawsuit once it is formally served.
The alleged political retaliation comes only a few months after a judge forcibly removed a member of the Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District board.
In November, Trustee Daniel J. Garcia was ordered to be removed from the board following his indictment in a federal investigation into a $38 million water treatment plant scandal in Weslaco. The charges against Garcia include fraud and money laundering. The order is temporary and is pending the results of the upcoming trial.