Criminal complaint filed against former mayor and her husband

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

The local government announced a criminal complaint against the former mayor, Luz María Núñez Flores, and her husband, Javier Zavala, for alleged abuse of authority, influence peddling and embezzlement. The embezzlement charge is related to contracts the municipal government had with Radio San Miguel and Canal Cuatro during the 2009–2012 administration; the two media outlets are owned by the former mayor and her husband. The municipal government did not make the figures public, and Zavala told Atención that the amount of the contracts was less than 1.5 million pesos over three years and that the hiring of the media was completely legal.

Radio San Miguel was the first radio station in San Miguel and has been operating for more than 50 years. During that time all the local government administrations have contracted for publicity with the station. Canal Cuatro has been operating for more than 10 years. The radio station has been involved in several legal cases, the most recent being this criminal complaint that the municipal treasurer, Jaime Labrada, and the assistant mayor, José Luis Chagoyán, filed on behalf the municipality with the district attorney’s office against Núñez and Zavala. According to Labrada the complaint resulted from an audit contracted by the municipality and what they government is seeking is “compensation for damages, so that these resources might be used for public spending.” Labrada remarked that the audit is still underway. He did not give a precise amount of the embezzled funds but said that it is several million pesos.

At the end of 2011, Salvador Ramírez, then municipal comptroller, called a press conference at which he showed documents proving that 70 percent of the budget for media from the local government went to Radio San Miguel and Canal Cuatro between August 2010 and July 2011. In an exclusive interview for Atención in November 2011 Núñez commented that the reason for paying for advertising on the radio and Channel 4 was because “everyone knows that Radio San Miguel has always been hired by previous administrations; what we did in this administration was just to renew these agreements. We also conducted market research that showed that Radio San Miguel is the medium with the greatest penetration in San Miguel de Allende; in addition, they gave us a better budget than other media in the area.…”

In a recent interview, Zavala told Atención that the airtime was purchased through the Comité de Adquisiciones (Acquisitions Committee) of the city council (made up of the assistant mayor, the treasurer, the general administrator and one city councilor from each political party) and there have been no charges of impropriety lodged by the Órgano de Fiscalización Superior (Superior Auditing Authority). “In my life I have never hidden anything,” said Zavala. “There are contracts, checks and receipts because everything was legal. The large amount of money, 1.5 million pesos, was for three years.” Zavala said that the district attorney’s office has the right to investigate but in the end a ruling will come from the Órgano de Fiscalización Superior. Zavala added that he did not know about the complaint because he had not received notification of it. Nevertheless, he remarked, if they owe money to the administration they will pay it, but “the contracts are more than clear—there is nothing hidden.”

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