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Alpine City Councilor Michael Castelli Resigns

Alpine City Hall (Big Bend Gazette)

Michael Castelli has resigned from his position as Ward Five Alpine City Councilor.

In a statement released today, Castelli says the decision stems from what he calls the city's "long and very well documented history" of financial mismanagement.

Castelli says he feels there was an opportunity for the city to correct some of its fiscal problems last summer, but that now that opportunity is "no longer possible."

City officials have been embroiled in disputes over the issue since early last year, when allegations first surfaced that the city's finance department misused public funds. The fraud allegations prompted an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to recall Mayor Avinash Rangra.

Since then, the ongoing case and an audit of the city's coffers exposed "gross incompetence"with fiscal management.

In March, former Finance Director Ricky Chavez plead guilty to theft charges.

Castelli says in his statement that he's had to make "personal sacrifices" to try and address the city's financial struggles, but that at this point he feels he "can no longer justify the personal sacrifice this public office requires."

"It is said that a rubber band can be stretched in quite a direction, but once you let go it returns to its' original position," Castelli says in the statement. "Alpine proves to be that rubber band."

The council will appoint a new member to fill Castelli's Ward Five seat at its next meeting on Tuesday, June 17th.

Travis Bubenik is All Things Considered Host and Big Bend Reporter at Marfa Public Radio.