We reported on Monday that the Webb County Commissioner's court had rejected a $250,000 "donation" from the GEO Group after the transaction was criticized as "dirty" by Laredoans and in the excellent monthly publication LareDOS.
Word from Laredo is that the Laredo City Council has followed suit. The Council quitely rejected a similar $250,000 donation after South Texans Opposing Private Prisons organizer Ricardo Soliz and Laredo lawyer Ron Rodriguez, who has represented several families of inmates abused in GEO prisons, spoke against the donation. According to the Laredo Morning Times:
City Council turned down the $250,000 donation from Geo after returning from executive session to discuss a separate item. City Council took the same action the Commissioners Court took regarding the $250,000 donation from Geo Group.
Several hours before council made the decision, several Laredoans strongly expressed opposition to not only the city accepting the donation but also to the city and county allowing the facility to be built in Laredo.
"This is not a donation - this is a payment," said Ronald Rodriguez, an attorney representing two families whose loved ones died in a prison run by the Geo Group.
"This transaction smells. You know what the money's for," Rodriguez added, alluding to it being a buyoff to receive the clearance to build.
Also, check out MEG's column on the subject in the new issue of LareDOS which carries the story on page 6 (careful, it's a big PDF!). We'll keep you updated on further developments from Laredo.