Dallas judge halts election for LULAC’s next national leader

The election of a president for the largest nation’s Hispanic civil rights organization remains up in the air after allegations of rigging. Dallas attorney Domingo García is the current president.

Prompted by a lawsuit and allegations of a rigged election, a Dallas judge halted the election of LULAC’s next national leader.

The election, which had been scheduled for last Saturday during the group’s national convention in Puerto Rico, required in-person voting of roughly 1,890 delegates. They were expected to vote for 12 national positions including the organization’s next president.

The two candidates to lead the organization are Domingo Garcia of Dallas and LULAC’s national president since 2018, and Juan Carlos Lizardi of New York.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, founded in Corpus Christi in 1929, bills itself as the largest and oldest Hispanic organization in the U.S. and aims to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, housing, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population.

“The purpose of the lawsuit was to effectively stop what was a rigged election,” said Dallas-based attorney Jeffrey Tillotson, who is representing LULAC members who allege the rigged election.

The judge found that defendants, including national board members, continued to engage in fraudulent and illicit scheme in holding the elections. The judge ruled that the election would expose the organization to litigation, “significant” tax liabilities, and divert resources.

The election had been rigged by an outside party who was illegally establishing local councils in Puerto Rico to have all the votes, Tillotson said. The lawsuit will allow the organization to investigate and determine if the councils were illegally formed and ensure that any election it does hold is legitimate and in compliance with its rules.

According to the lawsuit, nearly 300 councils were created in the last three months with outside money from the New Progressive Party, a pro-statehood political party in Puerto Rico. It is alleged that the political party spent over $700,000 to fraudulently control the election.

The lawsuit states that the defendants including LULAC National Board of Directors members “have used the NPP’s government resources and influence to pay for more than 1,480 illegitimate LULAC voters at the upcoming assembly.”

The lawsuit states how the money was used to pay for travel expenses for delegates in Puerto Rico to attend the convention.

“The belief is that [New Progressive Party] is attempting to take over LULAC and use it for partisan political purposes, which is a violation of LULAC’s charter,” Tillotson said.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the New Progressive Party wants Juan Carlos Lizardi elected as LULAC’s next president.

In a Facebook post, Lizardi thanked his fellow LULAC members and the board of directors as he flew out of Puerto Rico from the convention.

“I look forward to working with all of you on all of the issues we need to fight, especially to guarantee that voter suppression does not continue inside or outside of our beloved organization,” he stated.

Lizardi did not respond to requests to comment.

Garcia, LULAC’s current national president and a defendant listed in the lawsuit, said an investigation is looking into the allegations and where the money came from.

“The lawsuit raises some serious questions about an attempted hostile takeover by a foreign partisan political organization aligned with the Republican Party in the United States,” Garcia said.

LULAC is committed to remaining a strong, independent voice for Latin Americans in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Garcia said.

“LULAC has a long and proud history as an organization, and everyone wants to make sure that when LULAC elects its officers, they’re done fairly and in accordance with his bylaws,” Tillotson said. “That’s the sole purpose of this.”

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