Several South Texas school board members charged with soliciting bribes from contractors are scheduled for trial in March.

The trial of three school board members of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District was set to begin this month but was rescheduled for March 4. A fourth person, the district’s former superintendent, pleaded guilty last month but has not been sentenced.

An El Paso construction company implicated in the case, Sambrano Corp., or SamCorp, is one of the city’s largest contractors. The company is among seven “unindicted contractors” identified, but not named, in the 22-count federal indictment.

No SamCorp official or employee was ever charged with any wrongdoing.

The indictment states that an unnamed El Paso-based company provided tickets and hotel rooms to the school trustees and others in 2003 and 2004. The indictment also states that on April 14, 2003, the El Paso company was awarded a contract to build a new maintenance facility for the district.

According to the El Paso Times, an official agenda and meeting notice posted by the school district on the Internet shows that on April 14, 2003, the board authorized negotiations with SamCorp General Contractors for construction of a maintenance facility.

SamCorp officials have said in the past that they did construction work for the school district in South Texas, but that they were not a part of any illegal activity.


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