in Houston, Texas
Prosecutors: Rep. Kino Flores demanded payment from contractors in Hidalgo County, was known as "Mr. Ten Percent"
Tuesday, Oct 05, 2010, 10:26AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
100-dollar bills

Less than two weeks before the trial of state Rep. Kino Flores, Travis County prosecutors have added to the court record a narrative including 59 allegations that portray the Rio Grande Valley lawmaker as "Mr. Ten Percent" for taking a cut from businesses with state and local contracts.

The Austin American-Statesman today says prosecutors do not intend to add the 10 pages of allegations to the charges of ethics violations and perjury against Flores, D-Palmview. But they intend to introduce them in court after the trial begins Oct. 18.

A grand jury indicted Flores in July of 2009 with 16 counts of tampering with government records and three counts of perjury after years of criminal investigations into his financial dealings. Flores was charged with leaving off his required financial disclosure forms between $115,000 and $185,000 in income for each year from 2004 to 2009. Flores failed to report property sales and gifts of airplane transportation, according to the indictments.

If convicted, Flores faces up to two years in jail and could be fined thousands of dollars. Texas Watchdog was unable to reach Flores for comment.

At the time he was indicted, Flores, who is not running for reelection after 13 years in the House, told reporters, "At no point during my public service have I knowingly or intentionally violated any state law or rule." He attributed the charges against him to politics.

The new court document presents a picture of an operator whose every move was knowing. Flores "insisted upon being paid in cash and, if paid by check, cashed the check rather than deposit it to avoid a paper trail and to facilitate his evasion of income tax on those amounts," according to the filing. This included more than $97,500 in "unexplained deposits of cash into his bank accounts" between 2001 and 2007.

"The defendant was known by many as Mr. Ten Percent," the filing continued, "because of his insistence of being paid that percentage by people and companies awarded contracts for construction or other services" in Hidalgo County. "Anyone that failed to pay him lost their contract."

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org.

Photo of 100-dollar bills by flickr user jtyerse, used via a Creative Commons license.

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