Beyond City Limits
Several representatives of the American GI Forum -- "the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S." -- visited the Senate Democrats in Albuquerque Tuesday to offer support and to discuss threats to state funding for the forum's veteran counseling and training program. Forum members organized protests at the Senate's redistricting field hearing in Brownsville; shortly thereafter, Gov. Rick Perry announced that he was stopping $300,000 in discretionary federal funds that had underwritten the veteran programs. The GI Forum announced that it was forced to close offices in Austin, Fort Worth, and Dallas. Asked about the decision at his Tuesday press conference, Perry said that "all those grants are being looked at" for accountability "parameters and guidelines" and that the GI Forum grant "was not being treated any differently." -- M.K.
The Corpus Christi Caller-Times reports that the legal actions surrounding state Rep. Jaime Capelo, D-Corpus Christi, have gotten curiouser and curiouser. In a legal affidavit, a Citgo Petroleum attorney had said he was told by former Capelo partners that Capelo had gotten a $100,000 kickback to settle a client's personal-injury lawsuit against the oil company and had resigned from his law firm (Chaves Gonzales and Hoblit) when the payment was discovered. Capelo first said that the $100,000 had been payment for a medical-malpractice referral prior to his joining the firm -- at which point he was sued by another former law partner seeking his missing share of those proceeds. On Monday, Capelo countersued, saying the entire controversy is retaliation against him by other attorneys for his legislative support of tort reform. Capelo's pleadings allege, "Various attorneys ... have vilified and disparaged Representative Capelo privately ... and to the public, and threatened to ruin him and his firm politically as well as professionally." -- M.K.