A former teachers’ union boss who was absolved of corruption charges last year has sold one of her two mansions in San Diego, California, for US $3.75 million.
Elba Esther Gordillo’s waterfront property in an exclusive residential area of Coronado Cays was purchased on November 15 by a company called Green Turtle, according to a report published Thursday by the newspaper El Universal.
The company is linked to Emilio Hank, son of former Tijuana mayor and gambling tycoon Jorge Hank Rhon.
Family members confirmed the sale, telling El Universal that it was part of a reorganization of assets currently being undertaken by the ex-leader of the SNTE union who is widely known as “La Maestra” (The Teacher).
According to San Diego County records, the 789-square-meter mansion was purchased by Gordillo’s family on August 3, 2010 through a company whose primary shareholder was the ex-union chief’s mother, Zoila Estela Ochoa Morales.
There were plans to build additional bedrooms and bathrooms at the mansion but they weren’t completed due to the 2013 arrest of Gordillo on charges of embezzlement and organized crime.
The home and another property owned by La Maestra on the same street have been listed for sale since early this year.
Gordillo’s current partner, Luis Antonio Lagunas Gutiérrez, signed documents on behalf of the family for the sale of the home.
The transaction was completed the day after federal authorities reportedly unblocked Gordillo’s bank accounts after they had been frozen for almost seven years. However, the government’s financial intelligence chief, Santiago Nieto, denied that the ex-union boss had been given access to her accounts.
Gordillo was released from house arrest in August 2018 after a federal court ruled that two federal departments acted illegally to collect evidence against her. She had been accused of embezzling US $200 million from the union she headed.
La Maestra, who led the SNTE for almost 25 years and gained notoriety for living a lavish lifestyle that critics said was the result of corruption, spent almost three years in the medical wing of a Mexico City jail before being transferred to a private healthcare facility, where she remained for nearly two years.
She was granted her longtime wish to serve jail time under house arrest in December 2017.
In April this year, the newspaper Reforma revealed that the federal Attorney General’s Office had returned three properties, three cars, books and art to the former SNTE union chief.
President López Obrador denied that the decision to return assets seized from Gordillo was the result of a “shady deal” between her and the government as claimed by opposition parties.