The Tony Gonzales campaign has released new records relating to Republican Congressional Candidate Raul Reyes’ tenure as Vice President of Information Technology at Southwest Texas Junior College. The documents center around his awarding of a no-bid contract to Mr. John Lambert of Simple Network Solutions. A review of over 1,800 pages of correspondence paints a picture of corruption, misuse of taxpayer funds, and possible criminal activity involving Mr. Reyes and Mr. Lambert.
One email newly released as part of this FOIA request reveals that Mr. Reyes entered into no-bid contracts with Mr. Lambert, which violated the rules of the college and state law. The email, written by Anne Tarski, VP of Finance at SWTJC, informs Mr. Lambert that Mr. Reyes was “not authorized to enter in a contract” and that the school is “prohibited by law” from paying Mr. Lambert for the work illegally authorized by Mr. Reyes. These payments are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit between Mr. Lambert and the college.
A review of the available documents related to the lawsuit reveals that Mr. Reyes personally approved John Lambert of Simple Network Solutions to work on IT projects at the campus. SWTJC did pay some invoices to Simple Network Solutions but eventually quit paying submitted invoices. The school said it ceased payments for several reasons, including a lack of a contract, the work claimed did not occur, equipment was not installed, vague consulting fees and inability to show paperwork of work claimed or completed.
Nonetheless, Mr. Lambert claims Mr. Reyes gave him permission and a go-ahead, and thus he is owed over $40,000 in back invoices. Ms. Tarski says in a sworn deposition that the now-former "employee" (Reyes) did not follow procedures to authorize services, did not follow college procedures as there was no bid and pricing, no purchase orders issued, and no contract signed."
Beyond the approval process issues, the documents obtained highlight a series of suspicious email exchanges between Mr. Reyes and Mr. Lambert. One such exchange appears to show Mr. Reyes "earmarking" $28,000 to Mr. Lambert, after being asked if a state institution could spend more tax dollars before the end of a fiscal year.
Another email appears to show Mr. Reyes and Mr. Lambert exchanging information about potential investment properties, raising the question of whether or not they were using the funds gained via the no-bid contract to buy real estate together.
Another email exchange suggests Mr. Reyes and Mr. Lambert were coordinating their fraud. Specifically, Mr. Reyes states that they “can’t be off by $160k” without arousing suspicion and being caught lying to the board.
Tony Gonzales For Congress released the following statement in response to these news items:
“The extent of Raul Reyes' corruption is only now becoming clear. This weekend, President Donald J. Trump endorsed Tony Gonzales, and all Republicans need to follow the president's example and rally behind Tony Gonzales in this race. Tony is the only candidate who can defeat the liberals in November, and corrupt Raul Reyes is unfit to hold public office.”
Early voting has begun in the Republican Primary Runoff, and Election Day is July 14th. Mr. Gonzales has been endorsed in the race by President Donald Trump.