Former Weslaco city commissioner pleads guilty to lying during grand jury proceeding

Former Weslaco City Commissioner David Fox pleaded guilty Monday to making a false statement during a federal grand jury proceeding.

David Robert Fox, 50, of Weslaco pleaded guilty Monday afternoon during a hearing at the federal courthouse in McAllen.

20191007 DavidFoxFox admitted to accepting $2,000 in exchange for a vote when he served on the Weslaco City Commission — and lying about it.

“Guilty,” Fox said, when U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez asked him whether or not he knowingly made a false statement during the grand jury proceeding.

Attorney Dennis Ramirez of Donna, who represents Fox, declined to comment Monday as they left the courthouse.

Fox appeared before the federal grand jury on Nov. 20, 2018.

During the proceeding, a federal prosecutor asked Fox whether or not he accepted money or benefits in exchange for a vote. Fox said no.

Fox, however, had actually accepted $2,000 in exchange for a vote. He admitted to lying on Monday.

What, exactly, Fox voted on remains unclear.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roberto “Bobby” Lopez Jr., who is prosecuting the case, said Monday that Fox knew the FBI was investigating the Weslaco water treatment plant project when he appeared before the grand jury.

The money Fox accepted may be linked to the project, which is the focus of a major federal bribery case.

Engineers paid more than $4 million in bribes to middlemen, who funneled money to corrupt members of the City Commission, according to federal court records. In exchange, the City Commission awarded them contracts worth more than $50 million.

The projects, which included work on Weslaco’s water and wastewater treatment plants, saddled customers with crippling utility bills.

Fox is the third former city commissioner to plead guilty in the case.

Former City Commissioner Gerardo “Jerry” Tafolla and former City Commissioner John F. Cuellar pleaded guilty to bribery and wire fraud charges. Leonel Lopez Jr., the key middleman between the engineers and the elected officials, also pleaded guilty.

Charges against businessman Ricardo “Rick” Quintanilla, former Hidalgo County Precinct 1 Commissioner Arturo “A.C.” Cuellar Jr. and Rio Grande City school board Trustee Daniel J. Garcia remain pending.

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