Anonymous Phone Call Sparks Interest At Harlandale ISD Insurance Procurement Process

phonecall

The Harlandale ISD board of trustees will discuss Tuesday whether to have outside law enforcement agencies investigate former board president Velma Ybarra for possible violations of state procurement laws.

Harlandale ISD to discuss investigation of trustee

Dillon Collier, KENS 5

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 21:52:15 GMT

The Harlandale ISD board of trustees will discuss Tuesday whether to have outside law enforcement agencies investigate former board president Velma Ybarra for possible violations of state procurement laws.

Ybarra, a current trustee who was board president until last month, is accused of attending a conference in Austin in late January with an agent for an insurance company recently hired by the district. The insurance company, First Financial, now handles ‘ancillary products’ for district employees, a Harlandale ISD spokeswoman said Tuesday. Ybarra, who was reimbursed by the district for gas, meals and hotel accommodations, may have violated state procurement laws during the trip, a district source said Tuesday.

The agent, who was not identified, rode with Ybarra and stayed in the same hotel room, according to multiple district sources.

A board member reached by KENS 5 Tuesday morning confirmed the agenda item and said white collar investigations are outside the scope of Harlandale ISD police, meaning the Texas Rangers or Bexar County District Attorney’s Office would be asked to handle the investigation.

Ybarra could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning. The board member says the trip raises questions about whether “the playing field was even” during the bidding process for insurance vendors.

First Assistant District Attorney Woodrow Halstead said the DA’s office has investigated a similar case in the past but did not remember which school district. He also said the DA’s office would be the assisting agency, should an investigation come to fruition.

 

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