Hell hath no fury like a lawyer scorned.
Attorney Hilda Valadez unleashed a lawsuit this week naming all of the Bexar County Commissioners, the County Auditor, the Criminal District Court Administrator and every single sitting criminal District Court Judge for removing her from the list of lawyers eligible to receive felony court appointments.
Valadez has been under criminal investigation since last December, when a secretary noticed that invoices Valadez submitted for court-appointed cases did not contain the judge's signature. In 2010, as part of a joint investigation with the San Antonio Express-News, I reported that Valadez made more money than any other lawyer handling court-appointed cases at the Bexar County Courthouse. Our investigation found she’d billed more than $400,000 over three years representing indigent clients.
In her lawsuit, Valadez claims “defendants have refused to compensate plaintiff for labor performed on several cases and have dramatically reduced payments due on several other criminal cases.”
Valadez also alleges in the suit that she's been libeled and slandered because of “false information” provided by the defendants to Bexar County Detectives who’ve been investigating her since the December incident.
According to several sources, investigators believe they’ve uncovered evidence Valadez had been defrauding the county for years on her billings in indigent cases. Valadez did not return a call for comment.
“We believe the suit to be without merit,” Bexar County Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg said.
— Brian Collister, WOAI Investigative Reporter. Find him online at woai-com. Email tips to email@example.com.