Longtime politician and turtleneck wearer Judith Zaffirini made news recently. She apparently became the beneficiary of an inheritance: a large tract of land in north Laredo. Express-News writer John MacCormack (August 7):
The Zaffirinis will take control of most of 450 acres of undeveloped prime Laredo real estate off Del Mar Boulevard.The land in question was acquired by the Alexander family over a century ago. The eventual proprietors of the tierra were Delfina and Josefina Alexander. In their will, they left the land to sole heir Rocio Guerra (daughter of Josefina).
The estate was managed by trustees, one of them being the illustrious senator from Laredo. Judith Zaffirini, however, didn't appreciate the alleged misuse of funds by Rocio's husband. He was cashing in, ostensibly. And Rocio was none the wiser. Zaffirini made it a point to call out her second cousin's supposed lack of mental acuity, but was careful about not calling her retarded (see HB 1481).
She does not have capacity. Please understand that I've known her all her life. She has always had an intellectual problem.The senator knows best and her husband will attest to that. And that's why, together, they changed the wording in the Alexanders' will, all for the benefit of Rocio Guerra, of course!
Jon Cassidy of Watchdog.org wrote about the land grab more bluntly: her (Zaffirini's) conflicts had become so obvious.
The Zaffirini's, in all good faith*, will see to it that the land remains in their control and that Guerra benefits from a "comfortable but not extravagant lifestyle." They'll have to fork over $38 million to settle the lawsuit against them.
The final settlement of the case was held up by Judith Zaffirini’s insistence on language absolving her of any taint of fraud, embezzlement, forgery, or misappropriation of funds, according to sources involved in the case. Guerra’s attorneys agreed to the language once it became clear their client wasn’t getting her money any other way.
It takes a little luck and know-how to carve out a niche for yourself in Laredo. The Zaffirinis have done just that, blemish on their character notwithstanding.