10 San Antonio politicians who faced scandals of their own – San Antonio Express-News

On Thursday, one city councilman was censored for his behavior toward a colleague, and another was arrested for allegedly fleeing the scene of an auto accident he caused on the Northeast Side. 

But Mario Bravo, censored for berating Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, and Clayton Perry, charged with failing to stop and provide information, are not the first San Antonio-area elected officials to make salacious headlines while in office. 

Instances involving strippers, bribes, drunk driving and lying to the FBI about secret payments to a mistress have all cropped up in the past 30 years. 

Former Congressman Albert Bustamante, center, reacts as he is received by family and supporters at the San Antonio International Airport. Bustamante arrived after being released from a federal prison in El Paso in 1998. 

Former Congressman Albert Bustamante, center, reacts as he is received by family and supporters at the San Antonio International Airport. Bustamante arrived after being released from a federal prison in El Paso in 1998. 

JERRY LARA/SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

U.S. Rep. Albert Bustamante’s years in the U.S. House ended in 1992, when news of an FBI fraud and racketeering investigation destroyed his re-election bid. The following year, at 58, Bustamante was convicted of accepting bribes — as much as $344,000 — while in Congress. He served 32 months in prison. 

In 1995, former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros was forced out as President Bill Clinton’s U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary because he lied to the FBI about the full amount of secret payments he’d made to a former mistress, putting an awkward asterisk on his subsequent career as a businessman and elder statesman of local civic life. 

Former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros gestures outside U.S. District Court in Washington on Thursday Jan. 8, 1998 after pleading innocent to charges he lied to conceal payments to his former mistress while under consideration to be in President Bill Clinton's Cabinet. 

Former Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros gestures outside U.S. District Court in Washington on Thursday Jan. 8, 1998 after pleading innocent to charges he lied to conceal payments to his former mistress while under consideration to be in President Bill Clinton’s Cabinet. 

KEN CEDENO/Associated Press

In 1996, then-San Antonio councilman Robert Herrera, described as intoxicated, was threatened with arrest and accused of interfering with a police investigation outside a strip club, where one of the dancers had been beaten up. It was later revealed that he used a fake police badge to impress women and bar workers and that he was the father of a child he denied was his. 

Robert Herrera is led away from 224th District Court under guard after being sentenced to three days in jail by Judge David Peeples for contempt of court in 1998. 

Robert Herrera is led away from 224th District Court under guard after being sentenced to three days in jail by Judge David Peeples for contempt of court in 1998. 

KIN MAN HUI/SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

In 2002, FBI agents led freshman councilman Enrique “Kike” Martin away in handcuffs after a federal grand jury indicted him and three others on bribery charges. Council member John Sanders and two attorneys were also involved in the scandal. The quartet were handed sentences ranging from nine to 30 months in federal prison. 

Around the same time, Raul Prado, then a San Antonio councilman, was arrested in a public corruption scandal while running for a Texas House seat. He was convicted of soliciting and taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes and kickbacks from contractors. South San ISD removed his image from a mural after he was sent to prison, but his wife Connie Prado went on to play a dominant role on its board for decades, retiring only this summer.

Former San Antonio City Councilmen Enrique "Kike" Martin is led into the FBI offices near Alamo Plaza after he was arrested on federal bribery charges on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002. 

Former San Antonio City Councilmen Enrique “Kike” Martin is led into the FBI offices near Alamo Plaza after he was arrested on federal bribery charges on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002. 

JERRY LARA/SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Police arrested Windcrest Councilman Rene Soto Alonzo in 2006 after he allegedly hit his wife while driving and later threatened a deputy sheriff and a Windcrest officer with a weapon. 

Three years later, Helotes Councilman Jeff Ellis was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in a bedroom at his house. Ellis later resigned his seat. 

In 2016, then-Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff could be seen half-dressed on video, barely able to stand or walk in a straight line. Wolff, the son of longtime Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated after he rear-ended two vehicles in a Whataburger drive-thru. 

A screen grab taken from a San Antonio Police Department in-car video shows Kevin Wolff during a sobriety check and subsequently being arrested on DWI charges on July 31, 2016.

A screen grab taken from a San Antonio Police Department in-car video shows Kevin Wolff during a sobriety check and subsequently being arrested on DWI charges on July 31, 2016.

San Antonio Police Department

In 2017, a federal jury found Olga Hernandez not guilty of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and conspiracy to solicit and accept bribes. Prosecutors argued that she had a long-running arrangement with an insurance broker to back his contracts as a San Antonio ISD trustee, and evidence showed he showered her with casino trips, dinners, jewelry, campaign contributions and Spurs playoff tickets. 

That same year, San Antonio Councilman Alan Warrick was found passed out on a park bench near City Hall’s west steps one Friday morning after drinking in a nearby bar called On the Rock the night before. Warrick said he had only three cocktails, insinuating that he may have been drugged and dropped off at City Hall as a dirty political stunt. 

Frame grabs taken from a San Antonio City Hall security camera on May 26, 2017, show Alan Warrick approaching a bench behind City Hall shortly after 6 a.m. and lying down on it. Warrick remained on the bench as grounds crews unloaded heavy machinery. Security guards approached Warrick before 6:30 a.m. Warrick left the bench and entered city hall.

Frame grabs taken from a San Antonio City Hall security camera on May 26, 2017, show Alan Warrick approaching a bench behind City Hall shortly after 6 a.m. and lying down on it. Warrick remained on the bench as grounds crews unloaded heavy machinery. Security guards approached Warrick before 6:30 a.m. Warrick left the bench and entered city hall.

City of San Antonio

At the time, Warrick was in a runoff against William “Cruz” Shaw, which Warrick lost. The bar owner disputed the councilman’s account, saying Warrick “appeared drunk.” 

timothy.fanning@express-news.net 

Information from Hearst newspaper archives was used in this report. 

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