AUSTIN (KXAN) — A former chairwoman of a City of Austin advisory commission was indicted Tuesday, accused of falsifying records.
Jill Ramirez, 68, is charged with conspiracy to misapply funds and falsify records, document falsification and false statement offenses, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to court documents, Ramirez worked for an Austin-area nonprofit and served as
the chair of a City advisory commission.
In 2015, Ramirez agreed to pay Frank Rodriguez, 71, 10% of the value of federal grant proceeds from the nonprofit to Rodriguez. Rodriguez was the former executive director for the nonprofit before transitioning to a senior policy advisor role for an Austin official, the release said.
Afterward, the two entered into a consulting agreement. Rodriguez wrote the consulting agreement was to address “any issue that someone might have that the payments are for navigator grant work” and to disguise the 10% payment, the DOJ claimed.
Ramirez then paid Rodriguez $21,375 from the nonprofit over the next year, according to the release.
The release said Rodriguez “continued to work on the nonprofit’s behalf while a City employee, providing
confidential City information to the nonprofit, recommending that the nonprofit receive continued
City funding and undermining the nonprofit’s competitors for City funding.”
The Auditor’s Office for the City of Austin investigated Rodriguez’s conduct in 2017. During an interview with investigators, Ramirez made false statements about the basis of the “consulting fees” paid to Rodriguez, the release said.
Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to misapply federal funds and falsify records in an investigation within the jurisdiction of an agency of the United States. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 17. Rodriguez faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, the release said.
If convicted, Ramirez faces up to five years in prison on both the conspiracy and false statement charges. She faces up to 20 years in prison on the falsification of records charge, according to the release.
An attorney for Ramirez wasn’t listed as of Wednesday night. KXAN will update this story as more information becomes available.