Alice Chamber of Commerce closes permanently

Staff Writer
Alice Echo News Journal

Nearly eight months after the Alice Chamber of Commerce executive director was terminated, the president of the Chamber's Board of Directors has announced its doors have closed permanently.

On Thursday, Bertha Rodriguez, President of the Chamber Board of Directors, sent out a letter advising the community of the closure.

“It is with great regret that at this time the Board of Directors must close the Alice Chamber of Commerce. After many hours of deliberation, it was evident that in its current state, the Chamber could not continue. Please know that the decision to close the Chamber was very difficult,” the letter said.

Juan Navejar was the Chamber Executive Director, but was terminated when he was accused of “misappropriated funds” from the Veterans of Foreign Warfare Post #8621. He was automatically suspended from the Chamber. According to sources, Navejar had also “misappropriated funds” from the Alice Chamber of Commerce. To this date, Navejar has not been arrested for any criminal activity.

The mission of the Alice Chamber of Commerce was to promote economic and community development in Alice, Jim Wells County and the surrounding trade area, according to their website.

“Although the Chamber has been without an Executive Director, the Board of Directors and the Ambassadors have remained active, but they will no longer continue to represent the Alice Chamber of Commerce.  We appreciate the countless hours volunteered in support of our community and its businesses,” the letter stated.

The letter also said

“The Board of Directors of the Alice Chamber of Commerce would like to thank members of this community for the wonderful support received throughout the years. The Board extends special gratitude to all current and past Chamber members, ambassadors, and board members for their participation and as well as their dedication to the citizens and businesses of Alice and the surrounding area. Through many years, these exceptional volunteers invested much time and effort supporting their shared vision of Alice, a great Hub City, serving all south Texas...Alice, Texas, and its neighboring communities are rich with wonderful businesses and great families. We, as members of the Board of Directors, are hopeful for the future of our great community. Hopefully a new great chamber with a new Board of Directors will open for Alice someday.”

The Alice Chamber of Commerce was established in 1950s.

“I want to thank the current Board of Directors for doing everything possible to try to keep the doors open and for their commitment to see this through together. I'm very honored to have worked alongside such a great group of individuals. Sadly, we've been put in a situation that leaves us with no other option but to close the Chamber of Commerce,” Rodriguez said