Donna school board members found liable of political retaliation
McALLEN — A federal jury found four Donna school board members liable of political retaliation Thursday and suggested the board members and the district pay more than $3.2 million in damages.
The trustees — Alberto Sandoval, Eloy Infante, Nick Castillo and Elpidio Yanez Jr. — were on trial for allegedly demoting six district employees who opposed their political slate during the November 2014 school board elections.
The federal lawsuit was filed in February 2015 by seven district employees who claimed their right to due process, freedom of speech and First Amendment right to choose political associations were violated when the district reassigned and cut their wages days before Christmas.
Jose Campos, 67, spent nearly 42 years working for the district. For 20 years he worked as director of risk management but was demoted to a middle school assistant principal in December 2014 and had his annual salary cut by more than $16,900. Campos said he had to retire as a result of the board’s actions.