El Paso

The Dee Margo Profile

Donald Rupert Margo II was born in Oklahoma at the Wesley hospital on February 5, 1952. His father was Donald R. Margo Ardmore and his mother was Sammy B. Sloneker. [9] Shortly after Donald “Dee” Margo married Adair Wakefield in 1976, the couple moved to Nashville where Dee Margo was working as a sales presentative for the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. [8]

John D. Williams

In 1981, Dee Margo took control of his father-in-law’s insurance company, John D. Williams, after C.W. Wakefield died. John D. Williams was founded in 1929 by John D. Williams. C.W. Wakefield later took over the firm from Williams. In 1977, Dee Margo joined the firm. When Margo took over the company, he had no management experience. Margo told a newspaper that because of his position in the family, he “was tapped as the new president”. [5]

Adair Margo

Mary Adair Wakefield married Margo on August 21, 1976 at the First Presbyterian Church in El Paso. [8]

Adair Margo ran George W. Bush’s El Paso reelection campaign for governor of Texas in 1998. Adair Margo had no political experience prior to running Bush’s El Paso office. Adair Margo and Laura Bush, George W. Bush’s wife, struck up a friendship after 1994 when they were introduced by University of Texas chancellor’s wife. Dee Margo met Adair when both were students at Vanderbilt University. [5]

Ft. Bliss Civilian Aide

In June 1990, Dee Margo was appointed as the civilian aide to the Secretary of the Army for West Texas. The position was an honorary position. [7]

City Quality of Life Bonds

Dee Margo was appointed the chairman of the city’s 19-member ad hoc bond issue committee to help persuade El Paso voters to pass a $136 million bond for parks, zoo, libraries and the history museum. [10] The City was hoping to put the bond proposition before the voters in November 1999. The city postponed the bond election to May 6, 2000.

Dee Margo Politics

Dee Margo ran unsuccessfully against Eliot Shapleigh in 2006 for Shapleigh’s Texas senate seat. [2] After losing against Shapleigh, in December of 2007, Margo announced he was challenging Pat Haggerty for Haggerty’s state representative seat. [3] Haggerty is a Republican. Haggerty accused Margo of targeting him as part of Tom Craddick’s attempt to keep control of the Texas House of Representatives. [3]

To qualify for the District 78 race, Margo moved out of his Kern Place home into an apartment in District 78 the month before announcing his intention to run for the seat. [3]

The Poisoned Pawns Connection

Around 2004, the FBI launched Operation Poisoned Pawns investigating public corruption in El Paso. By the time the dust settled, 41 public officials pleaded guilty to, or were convicted of numerous public corruption cases. Many more were investigated.

In late 2003, Arturo “Tury” Duran was appointed to the International Boundary and Water Commission by the George W. Bush administration. In 2005, Duran was asked by the Bush administration to resign after federal inspectors found that Duran’s leadership of the agency led to a mass exodus of employees. [1]

In 2006, Dee Margo was questioned by the FBI as part of their investigation into public corruption in El Paso. Margo was questioned about the charity Border Fund that he helped to form. According to the El Paso Times, the FBI was asking about a $50,000 donation to the United Way for Hospice El Paso from NCED that was used to get a “matching” donation from the McCormick Tribune Foundation. After the foundation matched the $50,000, NCED’s $50,000 was returned as “rent” for offices that the hospice used. Margo told the newspaper that “he had no knowledge” of the rent scheme. [4] The National Center for Employment of the Disabled (NCED) was helmed by Bob Jones, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to fraud charges.

In the 2006 state senator race between challenger Dee Margo and incumbent Eliot Shapleigh, Margo raised $215,000 from donations to his campaign from first lady Laura Bush’s fundraising event. [2] Laura Bush is married to George W. Bush who was then president. Laura Bush is a friend of Adair Margo, Dee’s wife. The 2006 Texas senate race was Margo’s first run for public office. [2] Margo lost to Shaleigh. [3]

In a 2005 deposition, Duran said the considered Adair Margo, “a friend” that he told her that he was seeking an appointment to the water commission. [1]

In 2007, the FBI raided Duran’s home as part of the Poisoned Pawns investigation into public corruption in El Paso. [1]

Also, Fernando Parra, who was arrested and pleaded guilty to charges from the FBI Poisoned Pawns into public corruption in El Paso endorsed Dee Margo in a 2006 video recording attacking Shapleigh. [1]

In a 2017 El Paso Inc. article about the sentencing of Thomas “Chris” Balsiger on fraud charges stemming from his mini-maquila operation in Cd. Juárez submitting fraudulent grocery store coupons for redemption, Dee Margo submitted a letter to the judge asking for leniency for Balisger. Margo praised Balsiger’s “philanthropy”.

EPISD

After the cheating scandal at the El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) was exposed in 2013, the Texas Education Commission (TEC) removed the El Paso School Board of Trustees and replaced them with a state-appointed Board of Managers. The Board of Managers president was Dee Margo.

On September 3, 2013, the EPISD Board of Managers selected Juan Eduardo Cabrera, Jr. as the new EPISD superintendent. [11] Cabrera replaced disgraced Lorenzo Garcia who went to prison for official acts at EPISD.

Earlier this month, Juan Cabrera resigned from EPISD after a California lawsuit accused Cabrera and former school board president Dori Fenenbock of defrauding charter school investors.

Shortly after the appointment of Cabrera, Dee Margo stated that “we are confident Juan Cabrera has the right character and the right commitment to this community to successfully lead and restore confidence in the District.” [13]

Footnotes:

  1. Brandi Grissom, “FBI inquiry, Margo’s ties again called up as issue,” El Paso Times, October 29, 2008.
  2. David Crowder, “Senate race in the money,” El Paso Times, October 22, 2006.
  3. Brandi Grissom, “Dee Margo to challenge Haggerty for state job,” El Paso Times, December 19, 2007.
  4. Brandi Grissom, “Margo says he was interviewed by FBI,” El Paso Times, February 21, 2008.
  5. Gary Scharrer, “Bush relying on political first-timer,” El Paso Times, April 12, 1998.
  6. Mike Mrkvicka, “Insurance president steps down,” El Paso Times, February 22, 2000.
  7. Daniel Perez, “Bliss soldiers salute retiring civilian,” El Paso Times, April 1, 1998.
  8. Wedding announcement, El Paso Times, August 22m 1976.
  9. “Mr. and Mrs. Margo Select Name for Son,” The Daily Oklahoman, February 5, 1952.
  10. Ken Flynn, “City starts push to promote bond issues,” El Paso Times, July 3, 1999.
  11. Associated Press, “Eanes school attorney to lead El Paso district,” Austin American-Stateman, September 5, 2013.
  12. Cristina Carreon, “Juan Cabrera out as EPISD superintendent after board unanimously votes to accept resignation,” El Paso Times, November 5, 2020.
  13. “Juan Cabrera hired as EPISD’s new superintendent,” KVIA, August 16, 2013.

1 reply »

  1. I liked your article about Mayor Margo. But, I was a little disappointed that you did not print about his involvement in politics in El Paso. Mainly what groups he is a member of.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.