Thursday, December 7, 2023

Judge used court’s garage to restore vintage autos but denies wrongdoing

An electoral court judge has admitted that he used the court’s repair shop to restore his vintage cars but denies any wrongdoing, saying that he paid for the work out of his own pocket.

According to a report by the newspaper El Universal, Federal Electoral Tribunal (TEPJF) Judge Felipe Alfredo Fuentes Barrera used the court’s Mexico City mechanical workshop for the restoration of at least five classic cars worth a combined 2.35 million pesos (US $117,700). The restorations were completed between 2017 and 2020.

TEPJF sources told El Universal that Fuentes, who became an electoral court judge in 2016 and was its president between 2019 and 2020, is under investigation for his actions and that a request for his resignation has been submitted to the court’s internal control body.

The newspaper reported that the total cost to restore the vehicles – a 1975 Chevrolet Nova hatchback, a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle, a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1967 Ford Galaxie and a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 – was almost 1.8 million pesos but almost a quarter of that amount – 417,500 pesos – is still owed to the TEPJF garage, where a fleet of some 300 court vehicles are maintained.

Asked why his vehicles were restored at his workplace’s repair shop, Fuentes said the decision was taken by the mechanic he hired, who works there. He asserted that no TEPJF resources were used to pay for the restoration of his cars.

“Everything has been paid out of my salary, all of the expenses agreed to were covered in advance. There was no use of public resources … and I have proof, I have everything documented,” Fuentes said.

“I hired the mechanic from that workshop because I trusted him. It was a personal and private contract. I can prove that with the contract,” he said.

“… I made use of my resources and not those of the Electoral Tribunal for the restoration of the vehicles,” Fuentes reiterated.

The car restoration issue is not the only matter tarnishing the judge’s reputation. According to another El Universal report, Fuentes is guilty of nepotism.

The newspaper said the judge has used his position to gain employment for family members in the court, including his brother. It also said that he has found positions for close relatives of people who work for him.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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