Two brothers, Hector and Loreto Romero, were local contractors for Sweetwater Union High School District. Their company was named HAR Construction. They had landed an $8.5 million contract with Southwest High School and a $6.5 million contract for Southwest Middle School. Their contracts were terminated July 2011 — but, according to Loreto Romero’s testimony, not before they had shelled out thousands to get the contract and to get payment for the work they had done.
One grand jury exhibit, Hector Romero’s American Express card, shows a purchase of $1408 from “Let’s Talk Health.” Jim Cartmill, who is serving his sixth term as a Sweetwater trustee, owns the company described on Sweetwater’s website as “a multi-million dollar nutritional supplement distribution company with international and domestic headquarters based in Chula Vista, California.”
Sequenced grand jury exhibits include an email from December 2011 showing Hector Romero appealing to Cartmill for help getting paid. Exhibits that follow are checks that were cut to HAR Construction totaling $1,156,885.
Loreto Romero recounted to the grand jury his version of the alleged corruption in Sweetwater. He told the jury, “These people have no dignity, the people they don’t care — they have their own — they make their own law.”