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The Alamo's Administrator is at the Center of a Sexting Scandal [Updated]

Melinda Navarro
Melinda Navarro

The recent history of the Alamo, the iconic San Antonio fort where a ragtag band of freedom fighters made their desperate stand against Santa Ana, has been marred by controversy. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, which had overseen the shrine for more than a century, was stripped of its duties two years ago by the Texas legislature after making a general hash of things.

That was supposed to clean things up, but Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, whose office took control of operations, has been criticized for taking a hands-off approach. A state employee is now charged with overseeing the Alamo, but day-to-day operations still fall under the purview of DRT members. Last year, Patterson installed Melinda Navarro, the operations manager for a local wax museum, as the site's administrator.

It seems that not even a state agency's imprimatur can save the Alamo's management from scandal. The San Antonio Express-News broke the news last night: Navarro has been sending naked photos from her Alamo-issued cell phone.

See also The Sad, Absurd Chronicle of Incompetence at the Alamo

The photos, as well as explicit texts, were sent to a man with whom Navarro was allegedly having an affair, according to court documents reviewed by the Express-News. Her husband discovered the photos at some point last year and sent them to various people, including Navarro's Alamo colleagues.

Navarro, in turn, denies having and affair and says her husband is trying to create a "media frenzy."

If that's the case, it's working. The Texas media go as wild for Alamo-controversy stories as they do for salacious-sexting stories. Blend those two together, and it's an irresistible mix.

Update at 1:55 p.m.: An extremely helpful Friend of Unfair Park passes along the court documents cited in the Express-News piece. It's a 39-page child custody investigation filed on May 10. We're not posting the entire thing, since it deals with children, but we will excerpt the relevant portion below:

Ms. Navarro stated that around her anniversary last year there had been an argument... and Larry had taken her phone, found some texts and photos that she had sent to a man, and forwarded a number of the personal photos to her parents, daughter, co-workers, and social circle. She stated that her co-workers were obviously uncomfortable the next day and finally a man showed her a nude photo with the caption, "Look what het (sic) Alamo is paying for!" When she learned of Navarro's action, she separated from him on September 17, 2012, and filed for divorce two days later.

Navarro is quoted in the report saying, "Sending pictures of myself to someone was not right and I had no physical affair with this man. He lives in a different city."


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