Four years ago, Pat DiGiovanni, the former San Antonio Deputy City Manager and soon to be ex-CEO of Centro San Antonio, the public-private partnership that helps oversee downtown, received a “letter of admonition” from the city’s Ethics Review Board for “unknowingly” violating San Antonio’s code of ethics. Today, on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the Centro board of directors was scheduled to meet to accept the DiGiovanni’s resignation because there is a police investigation within the organization.
A Centro staff accountant is being investigated for embezzling $175,000. While DiGiovanni has not been implicated directly in any illegal activity, a source with knowledge of the matter has told the SA Express-News that DiGiovanni’s resignation is due to lax oversight of the organization.
DiGiovanni’s leadership at Centro got a rocky start. In 2013, he and local construction kingpin David Zachry were accused of having conflicts of interest for their parts in a $305 million construction contract let by the city. That’s because in 2012, DiGiovanni negotiated employment with Centro, while he was serving on a city selection committee charged with recommending a construction firm to expand the Convention Center. Curiously, Zachry, president and CEO of Zachry Corp. who won the contract, is the vice chairman of the Centro.
Can you say “Conflict of Interest” and “Lax Ethics”?
Incidentally, then state senator and eventual SA mayoral candidate Leticia Van De Putte sponsored state legislation that allowed Hemisfair Park public land to be sold to private developers (Zachry) without a public vote. Democrat and liberal SA city leaders who are always screaming about their right to vote were very silent on this matter. However, when Van De Putte ran for mayor, Zachry was one of her biggest donors.
San Antonio city hall (and Bexar County commissioners’ court) politics seem to be an incestuous swamp, and these problems will continue until there is a city (and county) Ethics Review Board that does is independent of the city manager and the city (and county) political influence. Perhaps it should be under the County District Attorney’s office.
George Rodriguez is a syndicated writer, commentator, and webcaster; former President of the San Antonio Tea Party. George’s comments can be read on Facebook at El Conservador or at his webpage at Elconservador.net.