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LULAC members demand Domingo García’s dismissal as president

The board of directors convenes in October to make a decision

Domingo García
The board of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) plans to meet in October to decide whether to dismiss Dallas lawyer Domingo García as the group’s president after several councils across the nation called for his impeachment.(Alex Wong / Getty Images)

By María Ramos Pacheco

The board of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) plans to meet in October to decide whether to dismiss Dallas lawyer Domingo García as the group’s president after several councils across the nation called for his impeachment.

Twenty-one council members in Texas, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, and Puerto Rico sent the LULAC treasurer a petition to impeach García for violating the LULAC constitution, according to documents shown to Al Día by the group seeking his dismissal.

García is accused of neglecting his duties by personally announcing the suspension of the LULAC election and the suspension of several members serving in national and state positions in the organization without authorization from the executive board.

García has denied the accusations and in response on Friday, filed a $10 million defamation lawsuit against LULAC executive director Sindy Benavides — whom García suspended earlier this summer — and LULAC treasurer Paul Martinez.

“I filed a lawsuit against her (Benavides) for defamation, libel, slander, and malicious prosecution because everything is false, it’s a lie, and I will prove it,” he said. “I have witnesses, video, I have emails. It’s a hostile takeover by a partisan political organization that is engaged in defamation and a smear campaign, and we’re gonna fight it, and we’re going to maintain LULAC independent and nonpartisan. I am suing Sindy and Paul for defamation and a conspiracy against the laws of the United States in terms of using money from PACs. They tried to take LULAC.”

García, a former Texas state representative and Dallas City Council member, has been president of LULAC since 2018 said he plans to present his evidence at a board meeting to decide his fate in October.

“We are going to prove all of this false at the board meeting in October,” he said.

LULAC, the oldest Latino civil rights group in the U.S., has been in legal limbo since July 2022 after Dallas County District Judge Tahira K. Merritt issued a temporary restraining order to prevent elections for LULAC president, which were scheduled for the last day of the annual convention in Puerto Rico.

The lawsuit, filed by LULAC members Hilda Ramírez Duarte, René Martínez, Henry Rodríguez, Federico Garza, and Héctor Carrillo, alleges Partido Nuevo Progresista (PNP), a political party promoting Puerto Rico’s statehood, financed efforts to create 300 new local “illegal” LULAC chapters within less than 90 days before the convention, where an election for the next national organization president was to be held.

“(García) is a Mexican Trump,” said Mary Ramos, LULAC women’s leadership aid director and Houston-based Council 4566 president. “Everything Trump did after losing the election is happening now with Domingo. We’re going through the same. He doesn’t want to leave office.”

The first accusation in the lawsuit stems from García missing a board of directors meeting on July 30 that was called to conduct a national election.

According to Article 8 of the LULAC constitution, the president “must chair every National Assembly session.”

The second accusation against García is for his order for the indefinite suspension of Benavides on July 30 via email, forgoing authorization from the board of directors.

He also ordered the immediate temporary suspension of Vice Presidents Ralina Cardona, Andrés Rodríguez, Elsie Valdés-Ramos and Ivonne Quiñones-Lanzo, as well as of Illinois state director Maggie Rivera, on Aug. 3.

Article 8 says the president “needs the board of directors’ approval to suspend a member.”

More legal problems for García

The dismissal petition against García is not his only legal trouble. He was also targeted with a restraining order filed by Benavides on August 25.

The temporary anti-stalking order issued by the Domestic Violence Division of the District of Columbia Supreme Court requires he stay at least 100 yards away from LULAC’s offices in Washington, D.C.

García visited the D.C. LULAC offices on Aug. 23 and was asked to leave after Benavides “was very concerned about her physical safety,” asking security staff to stop García from entering again.

García showed up again the next day, according to court documents obtained by Al Día.

“As the first executive director woman of the oldest and largest Hispanic civil rights group in the nation, I will simply not tolerate an abusive treatment within our organization,” said Benavides in an email to Al Día.

The District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department had to get involved in the situation, asking García to leave, according to court documents.

García confirmed he was notified about the order via email.

“I have a lawyer who will get rid of that order because it is a baseless order,” he said.

order that prevents Domingo Garcia
Photo of the order that prevents Domingo Garcia from coming within 100 yards of the LULAC offices in D.C., is a Temporary Anti-Stalking Order issued by the Superior Court Domestic Violence Division of the District of Columbia.(María Ramos Pacheco)

What’s needed to impeach García

According to the LULAC constitution, if the board of directors receives an impeachment petition against the group’s president, it must convene an executive session to review the petition’s grounds and make a decision.

The 13 members of the board include the president, state directors with more than 10 councils, and nine LULAC former presidents. They must attend in person to vote.

If not all are present, a third of the members are required to make a quorum, according to LULAC’s constitution. García’s dismissal could be decided with 51% of the votes.

The group will hold that meeting in late October in Washington, D.C., said Martínez, the LULAC national treasurer.

“We have to comply with our constitution. That’s why we have it, and we have followed it all these years,” said Martínez.

In the meeting, which is an internal LULAC process, members will vote to decide whether they proceed with the impeachment process or sanction or penalize García.

If García is dismissed, the organization’s vice president could take over until the next national election, scheduled for July 2023 in Albuquerque, N.M.

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