MEXICO CITY – Mexican Government Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero admitted on Wednesday that she and her husband own a luxury apartment in Houston, saying that she listed the property on her financial disclosure form but the Public Administration Secretariat failed to release the information.
The daily Reforma published a front-page story on Wednesday that said Sanchez Cordero has owned a penthouse apartment worth about 11.1 million pesos ($580,000) since 2009 in the Texas city.
The newspaper said the head of the Government Secretariat, which is Mexico’s interior ministry, owns the 270 sq. meter (2,900 sq. foot) apartment with her spouse.
In late January, right before the deadline, Sanchez Cordero filed her personal financial disclosure form, a requirement for serving in President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Cabinet.
The Houston apartment, however, was not listed on the form.
During the president’s morning press conference on Wednesday, Sanchez Cordero defended herself, saying that she asked the Public Administration Secretariat to “make public the information relating to figures on assets and interests.”
“On that (form), this property, which I acquired with my husband 10 years ago, is included,” the federal official said.
Sanchez Cordero called on the newspaper to ask the Public Administration Secretariat why it did not reveal her ownership of the apartment in the United States.
“Let them clear up the reasons why this information was not released,” Sanchez Cordero said, adding that she asked the secretariat “to make all the assets public.”
Lopez Obrador cited the Reforma story as another example of the kind of reporting Mexico’s press engages in.
The leftist president has criticized the country’s press for being too conservative.
“We have to respond to all questions that are raised, even if they come from the conservative establishment,” Lopez Obrador said.
The government, meanwhile, said it was moving ahead with a program that will initially assist 195,000 workers by providing them with loans from state-owned mortgage bank Infonavit.
Infonavit director Carlos Martinez Velazquez said the mortgage lender would try to cut costs by finding new sources of funding.
The state-owned mortgage bank is also investigating the previous management team, which was led by David Penchyna, because operating costs rose 80 percent while the number of loans made did not rise, Martinez Velazquez said.
Penchyna earned a gross salary of 9.3 million pesos (about $775,000) between January and December 2018, Martinez Velazquez said.
Finance Secretary Carlos Urzua urged workers to put money into their retirement accounts, saying that the volatility that affected investment funds was caused by the situation on global markets.
Urzua said the funds’ performance was not affected by the cancellation of the new airport in Mexico City.
The funds offered in retirement accounts had invested in the project.