HOUSTON (KIAH) — Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo defiantly pushes back against her critics after three members of her staff were indicted for issues dealing with an $11 million contract for COVID-19 vaccine outreach.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Hidalgo said that she and her staff will stay on the job despite the legal issues behind the contract that went to a political consultant with local Democratic ties.
“News reports have already shown that recent accusations suffer from a serious lack of understanding of the facts,” Hidalgo said. “My team will remain on my staff and continue to make meaningful positive change on behalf of the people of Harris County.
It’s no coincidence that these unfair allegations are being leveled against them in the middle of an election year,” she continued.
Alex Triantaphyllis, Aaron Dunn and Wallis Nader were each indicted on Monday on one count of misuse of official information and one count of tampering with a record, according to court records.
Triantaphyllis is chief of staff for Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, while Wallis Nader is a policy director and Aaron Dunn is a former senior adviser who recently left Hidalgo’s office.
As for Judge Hidalgo, she is not facing any charges.
The allegations claim that the staffers steered a nearly $11 million COVID-19 vaccine outreach contract to a small Houston-based firm, Elevate Strategies.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office opened an investigation, and the Texas Rangers raided county offices last month.
Search warrants revealed staffers worked with the woman behind Elevate Strategies a month before the information went public.
“Prosecutors presented the evidence to a Harris County grand jury, which determined there was sufficient evidence for criminal charges,” a spokesman for the Harris County DA’s Office said. “We will follow the evidence wherever it leads and apply the law equally to all; our work continues.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.