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Leo Lopez Jr.

How much is freedom worth?

That Kris Kristofferson song – Me and Bobby Mc-Gee – really doesn’t make much sense when you put it into a criminal context, does it?

If either Weslaco City Commissioner Jerry Tafolla or former Rio Grande City Municipal Judge “Leo” Lopez, Jr. gets sentenced to much time for their guilty pleas to bribery tied to the Weslaco water-treatment plant high-priced construction (add in all the bells and whistles), say, even five years, although I think they’re facing a max of 20 years, then will any of that money they pocketed be worth it?

Lopez pocketed a lot more than Tafolla, apparently, but even if Lopez made a couple of million off of the bribery scheme to which he’s already pleaded guilty, is that going to be worth serving time in a federal prison? Not to mention he now has to pay back the money he stole. So does Tafolla.

I just don’t understand some people. I understand greed because I’ve seen enough of it pass by after 37 years of covering local news, but I’ll never understand the risk people will take to possess it.

Take the most expensive car you can imagine. A Lamborghini, for example. Price $250,000. Now think of a federal prison cell you have to share with some dysfunctional psychopath nicknamed “The Hammer” all because you thought you could make some shady money off of a city project partially funded with federal (taxpayer) dollars.


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