in Houston, Texas
DWI, back taxes keep Starr County commissioner’s race in the news
Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 02:39PM CST
By Mike Cronin

A Starr County commissioner candidate owes about $100,000 in taxes, filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and was arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated last summer.

Upon learning of his opponent’s bankruptcy filings and delinquent taxes, former Justice of the Peace Abel Cantu told The Monitor that he didn’t think someone like that should be put in charge of the county, which has an annual budget of about $14 million.

But Jesus Maria “Chuy” Alvarez wouldn’t respond to the newspaper’s questions about his financial woes or his DWI arrest beyond saying, “You don’t have your facts right.”

He pointed out that there are other people with his same name in the county. His son is Jesus Maria Alvarez Jr., but the younger Alvarez’s tax accounts clearly list “Jr.” at the end of his name.

Chuy Alvarez refused to clarify which information was wrong. He said he would call back and hung up. He did not call back and when approached outside the polls later in the day, he said he would not answer any more questions.

Alvarez has been a regular source of fodder for the Monitor.

When a Texas Highway Patrol officer pulled Alvarez over in July, Alvarez refused to take a breath test. State law requires those who refuse breath tests for alcohol receive an automatic DWI charge.

The candidate posted a $500 bond.

Alvarez still owes $95,413 in taxes to the county and Rio Grande City Consolidated Independent School District, records show.

Alvarez is running for the seat that his brother, Jaime Alvarez, has said he is vacating purposely to allow Chuy Alvarez to seek election.

Their father, Jose Maria Chema Alvarez, served as a county commissioner for more than 25 years.

Contact Mike Cronin at or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo illustration by flickr user DonkeyHotey, used via a Creative Commons license.

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