Two South Texas insurance agents have spent 10 years fighting over a lucrative insurance contract allegedly worth millions of dollars in agent commissions……….
Judge blocks La Joya school district from firing insurance agent
by Dave Hendricks
State District Judge Israel Ramon Jr. stopped the La Joya Independent School District from switching insurance providers Monday. (CBS 4 News File Photo)
State District Judge Israel Ramon Jr. stopped the La Joya Independent School District from switching insurance agents Monday.
Just 140 minutes before the Monday afternoon school board meeting, Ramon signed a temporary restraining order against the district.
Ramon blocked the school board from terminating a contract with Alberto “Bob” Trevino, who owns Pharr-based Bob Trevino Insurance.
Roughly 4,400 school district workers may buy medical, dental, vision and other insurance products through the company.
Trevino and Ruth Villarreal of Mission-based Ruth Villarreal Insurance have spent 10 years fighting over the La Joya contract — and the lucrative commissions. They backed rival school board candidates and repeatedly took contract disputes to court.
“We are very surprised and sad that they were able to obtain this TRO that, under the rules, we think is improper,” said attorney Javier Peña, who represents Villarreal.
Trustees canceled a three-year contract with Villarreal in January 2013 and replaced her with Trevino. Claiming the switch cost her nearly $2.2 million in commissions, Villarreal filed a lawsuit.
Rumors about a settlement agreement, which may involve terminating Trevino and replacing him with Villarreal, apparently prompted Trevino to request the temporary restraining order.
Pena said he heard about the last-minute request for a temporary restraining order Monday afternoon and rushed from La Joya to the Hidalgo County Courthouse for the hearing.
“I think Bob Trevino misrepresented the facts to the court,” Pena said. “We know for a fact that he lied under oath — and we have the documents to prove he lied under oath.”
Pena said employees filed approximately 200 complaints against Trevino. Complaints also surfaced that employees paid premiums but later discovered they didn’t actually have insurance.
Trevino, though, denied knowing about any complaints during court testimony, Pena said.
Attorney Pete Diaz, who represents Trevino, declined to comment on the temporary restraining order or allegations about the complaints.
School board Trustee Juan Jose “J.J.” Garza of La Joya didn’t attend the school board meeting — he faces an eight-count federal indictment on wire fraud charges and needed to meet with an attorney Monday afternoon — but said he found the insurance contract situation sad.
“It’s unfortunate,” Garza said, adding that he wants to keep the current contract with Trevino.
The judge scheduled a temporary injunction hearing for Dec. 27.
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