Elba Esther Gordillo, former teacher’s union leader known as La Maestra (the Teacher) was charged in February 2015 with embezzling $200 million USD from union funds to pay for her lavish lifestyle.
She was notorious for her $5,000 Hermes bags and expensive plastic surgeries in California clinics.
Three residences connected to Gordillo were identified in California. The main one, where “La Maestra” spent most of her time, is a $4.7 million house on a cul-de-sac in Coronado Cays, near San Diego, that features a private dock with a yatch and heli-port.
The flamboyant former leader of Mexico’s powerful Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación: SNTE (teachers union), has been released from house arrest, after a court determined there weren’t sufficient grounds to proceed in a yearslong money-laundering case, her lawyer said early Wednesday August 8.
Attorney Marco Antonio del Toro read a statement from Elba Esther Gordillo in which she said the court had advised her at 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday August 7, that she was free.
Gordillo said she declined to make any further comments until August 20, and in the meantime, she was going to take some time off with her family.
Gordillo had been under house arrest in Polanco, a Mexico City high-end neighborhood in recent months. She rose to lead the union for many years and was long an influential and senior figure in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
When she was arrested in early 2015, she was accused of embezzling about $200 million USD, funneling union funds into private bank accounts with the help of assistants. The case was investigated as organized crime, but she was never convicted.
Her spending — on luxury clothing brands, plastic surgery, homes in San Diego — became legendary and contrasted strongly with the realities of her poorly paid teachers. Her arrest came under the current administration of the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s Enrique Peña Nieto.