Most of the top officials in a Texas city described as "the world's spinach capital" were arrested last week on corruption charges.
A federal indictment accuses Crystal City's administrators of taking bribes from contractors and of supporting a gambling ring operated by a criminal nicknamed "Mr. T." The mayor, city manager, mayor pro tempore, and at least three current and former councilors have been charged.
Fox News reports on the details of the allegations…
Crystal City Mayor Ricardo Lopez took $6,000 from Nguyen to buy a vehicle, the indictment alleges. In return, he allegedly waived some taxes for Nguyen and had employees close competing casinos that violate state law but exist informally throughout South Texas. Lopez allegedly told city employees inspecting Nguyen's property to "make it easy."
City Manager William James Jonas and Mayor Pro Tempore Rogelio Mata are accused of giving a contractor a $12,000 payment "in exchange for payments and other things of value."
And Lopez, Rogelio Mata, current councilman Roel Mata and former councilman Gilbert Urrabazo are accused of voting to keep Jonas as city attorney and city manager at a salary reported by local media to exceed $200,000. In exchange, Jonas provided payments and other illegal benefits to the four leaders, the indictment alleges.
The city's logo incorporates Popeye, the spinach-munching cartoon sailor, and a huge spinach festival is the town's major tourist draw.