Texas Rangers investigating Zavalla mayor over Christmas party gifts

Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

ZAVALLA, TX (KTRE) - The Texas Rangers are investigating allegations against Zavalla Mayor Carlos Guzman following a request by the Angelina County District Attorney's Office.

Guzman said the allegations involve him using city money to buy gifts for a city Christmas party on Dec. 16.

Guzman said he reimbursed the city $579 on Wednesday, at the advice of City Attorney Jimmy Cassels.

"My wife and I did not benefit from it," Guzman said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "I don't know if I've done anything wrong. I've tried to do better for the city."

Guzman said City Councilwoman Pam Hooks reported the allegations.

Some city employees said his actions were not ill intended.

"We were surprised and little upset because we didn't understand why," said Waunesa Herrington, the city secretary.

Guzman said the investigation began two weeks ago, and he has spoken with Texas Ranger Travis Brazil.

City employee Aimee Cloutier confirmed  goal was to bring the communities together.

"I think he was just trying to bring the communities together, the departments together. He wanted to bring happiness to the community. Make the community one again, so they are not divided," Cloutier said.

Guzman has served as mayor since May of 2016.

Now as more attention is brought to the incident, employees said they want this resolved and dropped.

"Something great is turning into a nightmare pretty much," Cloutier said.

As of this Thursday night, Hooks had not returned a call from KTRE for comment.

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