McAllen City Commission candidate Tania Ramirez frequently clashed with coworkers when she worked for the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, where she developed a reputation for abrasive behavior, according to documents released Tuesday.
Ramirez joined the District Attorney’s Office in June 2016. She resigned 27 months later after clashing with at least four coworkers.
The Progress Times requested her personnel records on Jan. 29 — the day Ramirez filed for City Commission District 4. The District Attorney’s Office requested a decision from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which delayed the release of key documents until Tuesday.
Ramirez had problems from the start.
When she became a prosecutor, Ramirez had to apply for an occupational driver’s license.
The Texas Department of Public Safety suspended her driver’s license after a long list of traffic offenses, which included speeding, driving without insurance, driving with an invalid license and failure to appear.
“All that happened during college,” Ramirez said. “Most of those tickets are from either San Antonio, George West, whenever I would come back and forth.”
Ramirez said her driving improved after college and the experience helped her connect with clients.
“I paid everything. I got a whole bunch of surcharges,” Ramirez said. “But now, as a lawyer, I understand when they come and they’re like ‘Oh my God, I need help with my driver’s license.’ Because I actually learned how to do it. Because I went through it.”
The District Attorney’s Office also received a letter from the Board of Law Examiners in Austin, asking standard questions about Ramirez.
“I Rosalinda Cantu, HR Coordinator/Office Administrator for the Hidalgo County Office of the Criminal District Attorney, have NOT been made aware or have received any complaints or referrals that would cause or have any reason to question Miss Tania Ramirez’s honesty or trustworthiness nor do I have any reason to believe that she would harm a client, obstruct the administration of justice or violate the code of professional responsibility, if licensed to practice law,” according to the response, which the District Attorney’s Office released Tuesday.
The response doesn’t mention an incident that forced Ramirez to withdraw from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
Ramirez left St. Mary’s after a professor caught her cheating in an ethics class.
“I purchased an essay online, if you really want to know,” Ramirez said. “That’s what it was.”
Ramirez said she always struggled with writing and made a mistake. After the incident, she transferred to Our Lady of the Lake University.
“It was a very dark moment in my life,” Ramirez said.
After graduation, she attended the Cooley Law School at Western Michigan University, passed the bar exam and returned to Hidalgo County, where Ramirez started working for the District Attorney’s Office.
Ramirez clashed with at least four coworkers during her 27-month stint as a prosecutor.
The District Attorney’s Office reprimanded Ramirez in August 2017 after a dispute with Intake/Grand Jury Division Chief Murray Moore.
“Ms. Ramirez was advised that her work place behavior would not be tolerated. ADA Ramirez accepted that some of her actions, as she left the intake section, were unprofessional and out of line,” according to documentation placed in her personnel file. “ADA Ramirez did express that ADA’s Moore tone and statements in her interaction were demeaning, belittling and condescending toward her and that this contributed to her outburst.”
Assistant District Attorney Michelle Puig and Assistant District Attorney Joaquin “J.J.” Zamora also had problems with her.
Ramirez, though, eventually reconciled with Zamora, who attended her campaign kick-off.
“I don’t like to hold grudges,” Ramirez said. “Because, honestly, once you hold grudges against people, you’re spending so much energy in trying to put these people down or thinking of how much you hate them. Why? Just let it go.”
Her most serious problem involved an ex-boyfriend who also worked for the District Attorney’s Office.
In August 2018, the District Attorney’s Office admonished Ramirez for making “defamatory and harassing statements about him and for inappropriate behavior outside of the office,” according to documentation placed in her personnel file. The District Attorney’s Office also warned Ramirez not to contact her ex-boyfriend and advised her “to maintain professionalism in and out of the office and adhere to DA/County Standards of Conduct.”
The name of Ramirez’s ex-boyfriend is redacted from documents released by the District Attorney’s Office.
Ramirez said she disagreed with how the incident had been characterized in personnel records.
She resigned from the District Attorney’s Office in September 2018, about a month after the second write-up. Ramirez opened a law office in downtown McAllen and decided to run for City Commission.
“I don’t let people push me around. I don’t let people insult me. Demean me,” Ramirez said. “And that’s one of the reasons why I got in the race. I’ve seen how people are treated, especially by people in positions and public service. And, honestly, I think that needs to change.”
Early voting ends April 30. Election day is May 4.