Insurance & Politics At The Brownsville ISD

By Molly Mulebriar

Someone should write a book about insurance and politics at the Brownsville ISD. A fascinating history sure to entertain.

It would have all the ingredients for a best seller. FBI informants with code names, meetings across the river in Mexico recorded by those at the table nearby, arrests at the bridge coming back, suicide, bid rigging, $40,000 motorcycle, FBI audit going nowhere, numerous lawsuits against succeeding TPA’s, lying insurance consultants, and more.

Our staff uncovered a local Brownsville blog piece this morning which provides a flavor of South Texas politics practiced with expert effect at the Brownsville Independent School District:


Cortez, who has a H.S. diploma (GED?) became one of 15 new members to the Texas School Board of Education and ran against Celeste Zepeda Sanchez, who has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree and has been an educator for 45 years.

With early voting starting on May 20th, please don’t forget what Cortez accomplished as a BISD trustee. From the lawsuit in state court by former Superintendent Hector Gonzales:

February 2007: (Ruben) Cortez visited Gonzales and told him he did not want insurance provider Healthsmart as the new insurance carrier for the district. He told Gonzales that he and the other (co-conspirators) wanted Mutual of Omaha, or any other firm in which Johnny Cavazos would be the agent. Gonzales said he would not participate in this conspiracy.

March 2007: Cortez approached Gonzales again on the same issue and insisted that Gonzales only recommend one of Cavazos’ insurance firms for the upcoming insurance contract. Again, Gonzales refused to join the conspiracy.

Dec. 2007 to February 2008:(Rolando) Aguilar, (Ruben) Cortez, and (Joe) Colunga met with Gonzales to discuss their “concerns” regarding the upcoming health insurance contract. They made it clear that they did not want Healthsmart, but one of Cavazos’ companies.

Sept. 16, 2008:CFO Antonio Juarez recommended AAG/Berkley for the Stop-Loss Insurance contract which was not adopted by the board at that meeting. Afterwards, Cortez visited Gonzales in his office and told him he did not like the recommendation and didn’t like “being lied to.” Gonzales said he would have Tony Resendez, counsel with Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Brown and Schultze to look into the matter. Resendez recommended the matter be handled administratively with a warning to Juarez that perhaps he did “not communicate effectively” to the board.

Oct. 21, 2008:Cortez requested a consent item on the agenda related to “apparent misinformation” directed toward board members on insurance contract. Another “superintendent evaluation” was placed on agenda but no action was taken. Aguilar. Cortez, and Colunga all met with Gonzales separately after the meeting regarding Juarez. Each conveyed to Gonzales that they wanted him to fire Juarez for “lying” to them regarding the Stop-Loss insurance contract they wanted to go to Cavazos. They all wanted Gonzales to fire him and then give a recommendation to Cavazo’s company.

When Gonzales didn’t fire Juarez, but instead reassigned him to a grant administrator position, Cortez’s reaction was immediate. – “Upon discovering the reassignment, trustees Aguilar and Cortez went to Gonzales’ office outraged.They both screamed: “Why didn’t you fire Tony? Why didn’t you just terminate him?”

Read entire article HERE

South Texas politics is a blood sport, an ongoing cock fight with winner take all.