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U.S. Senator Phil Gramm File Photo Alderete in an interview in El Paso in April. \(John Marriotta, the principal owner of Wedtech, was also listed as a host on the invitation to the fundraising reception held at the biniga’s El Paso home eighteen months before the Wedtech scandal broke. But according to the El Paso Herald-Post, Marriotta didn’t show up. A party fundraiser in aniga’s home was technically in compliance with Hatch Act provisions restricting political activities of federal employees because the event was sponsored by Henry aniga’s wife, Laura. fundraising consultant to an event “The word was out,” Alderete said. “Change parties, they would tell me. Change parties, it’s best for your business.” Alderete said Alvarez invited him to a Gramm rally where he was approached and asked to make a contribution to the senator. The man soliciting the contribution was Hartec owner Jose Aceves, who was also connected to Villalobos, the consultant Alderete Herald-Post. “Hartec was Republican, so Aceves had work. Lots of contracts. But at that time I was with [Democratic Senate Candidate Lloyd] Doggett. I liked his ideas,” Alderete said. “They were more liberal, like mine. He was much better on the economy. I like to think that I don’t sell my political convictions.” Alderete insisted that Alvarez was responsible for what was going on in the SBA office, and he believes aniga was probably unaware and too trusting of his assistant. According the Herald-Post, Alvarez had told contractors attending fundraisers that he had the backing of Senator Phil Gramm. Alderete said it is still difficult to talk about the affair because his family and aniga’s family were very close. “This was very hard on Henry’s family,” Alderete said. Hartec owner Jose Aceves presented Zilniga with another problem. aniga’s office had approved contractor in California in the early 1970s, Aceves had defaulted on two SBA loans and still owed the agency $118,000. When investigative reporters for El Paso’s Channel 7 produced the documentation on Aceves’ bad loans, SBA officials in Washington were openly critical of the El Paso office’s lending practices. Ultimately, Hartec’s bankruptcy would cost taxpayers something close to $1.6 million, according to the calculations of the TV news team that followed the story. That figure included only SBA loans, and did not take into account military contracts on which Hartec failed to deliver. “In the end, subcontractors were without their money and the government was without the Navy supplies it had paid for,” wrote Del Jones in the El Paso Times, quoting two “IN THE END, SUBCONTRACTORS WERE WITHOUT THEIR MONEY AND THE GOVERNMENT WAS WITHOUT THE NAVY SUPPLIES IT HAD PAID FOR,” WROTE DEL JONES IN THE EL PASO TIMES, QUOTING TWO HARTEC EXECUTIVES WHO WERE FIRED WHEN THINGS HEATED UP IN 1987. SEPTEMBER 27, 1996 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9