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More on Texas-based prison developer Corplan in Arizona

Phillip Franchine at the Sahuarita Sun ("Prison project involving developer was tinged," May 27) today continues that paper's excellent investigative coverage of Texas-based private prison developers pushing a proposed immigrant detention center on Tohono O'odham Nation land in Arizona.  Earlier this week, we covered the host of Texas private prison characters, many of whom tied to the more controversial Texas prison deals, working to bring a detention center to Tohono O'odham land.

The recent Sun article delves into Corplan's relationship to former Webb County (Texas) Commissioner David Cortez who was convicted of funneling bribes to Willacy County (Texas) Commissioners in relation to a detention center in Raymondville.  According to the article,

"The (Tohono O'odham) project is spearheaded by Corplan Corrections of Argyle, Texas, which has developed dozens of privately operated prisons across the country. Corplan President James Parkey confirmed that one of his contractors, David Cortez, a former Webb County (Texas) Commissioner, was convicted of federal bribery charges arising from the development of the Willacy County Regional Detention Facility in Raymondville, Texas. Parkey denied any wrongdoing on his part or that of his company.

Parkey said in an e-mail last week, “Mr. Cortez was one of thousands of subcontracts that have been hired by Corplan Corrections during the last 30 years of business operations.”

A Nov. 21, 2006, press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brownsville, Texas, said Cortez admitted channeling money to two Willacy County commissioners who also were convicted from “a corporation involved in soliciting a consulting contract regarding the Center in Willacy County.”

Parkey said in the e-mail that “the corporation (named) is not Corplan! I have never been nor has any member of my corporation ever been interview by a Federal or State official in regard to your stated information surrounding Mr. Cortez and his sole admission of guilt.” "

We'll keep you posted as we find more.