Former San Antonio ISD School Board member Olga Hernandez took the stand in her federal wire fraud trial today, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Hernadez is charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.
Prosecutor say when Hernandez was on the SAISD board, she accepted high dollar gifts, including thousand dollar dinners at top Las Vegas restaurants, paid for by an insurance broker who was attempting to win the contract to provide insurance to the school district.
Hernandez testified that she never saw the vacations, dinners, and Spurs playoff tickets from the broker as a bribe...she saw it is a 'benefit.' She said since in many cases, the broker himself didn't pay for the hotel rooms, it was not a bribe for him to give her the rooms. She says she thought of the broker as a 'friend.'
The broker pleaded guilty last fall, admitting that he bribed a consultant for help in winning contracts.
Hernandez conceded that she failed to report the hundreds of dollars the broken donated to her school board re-election campaign on her official contribution forms.
Hernandez' lawyer has said she 'listened' to pitches from vendors to the district because she wanted to learn about their proposals to help the district operate more efficiently.