5. Industry

I wrestled with a long time on what to do regarding Diego and his continual evasion of the justice system. In truth, I didn't even want to go through legal channels at first. I have a personal belief system that no one is beyond redemption or forgiveness, and it has taken a huge toll on me to consider this website and the harm it would cause his career. This hesitation dissipated greatly, however, upon befriending more people within the San Antonio culinary industry, where I realized that I would be doing greater harm to innocent people by not attempting to stop him.

Let's start with some of the folks that used to work for him at Mezcaleria Mixtli. By chance, I ran across two of his previous wait staff. After sharing with them my story of the incident and asking if they knew of anything I should be made aware of, they both told me the exact same story. While waiting tables there, they would work purely for tips and he would never give them their base wage. Not only this, but upon receiving their W-2 forms, Diego noted that he actually had paid them their base wage. The response from both of them was that they couldn't file a complaint because Diego was seemingly so popular and well connected that their complaints would go nowhere. Being entry-level workers, they also didn't understand the resources available to them and were quickly overwhelmed by the prospects of it.

Related to the above, I followed up with some other wait staff, however they reported no theft whatsoever and no oddities on their pay stubs. It didn't take long to identify the pattern. The workers that Diego would not take advantage of were college students with close family units. Their stability offered them protection against anything he might try. Those that he did steal from were parts of alternative scenes in town and would not have additional resources available to fight him even if he was caught red-handed. To prey on the vulnerable is something that disgusts me personally, which is why I was motivated to investigate further.

In reaching out to other employees, they confirmed the affair and the chaotic nature of what happened behind the scenes at Mixtli. His wife would regularly blow up at Cassie and Diego would have to restrain her to avoid anything becoming additionally physical. Both Diego and Cassie presented a united front to everyone that his wife was "crazy". I personally recall a time that Cassie was told by Diego that she was not allowed to attend another restaurant's event because his wife would be there. Cassie sat down and explained to the friend group how his wife was paranoid and so insecure that she was fabricating these accusations against Diego and her. We all knew that, at the very least, the accusations were not entirely baseless, so it was a huge tell that she would play up his wife's accusations as being pure delusion.

His wife did attempt to separate from him at times during the marriage, however Diego would not allow it. One chef told me of an instance where "His wife tried leaving him one time and he took her tires off her car and left her stranded in a parking lot in the middle of the night. Rico had to go pick her up." Upon asking others within the industry, even those of surprisingly high social status, many were aware of the troubles within his marriage and his affair.

Even amongst those who had known him for some time, folks that I was sure would turn on me the second I broached them with this story, they were instead very accepting of this example of Diego's behavior and one even mentioned that they thought him to be "chemically imbalanced". Everywhere I turned was the same acceptance that this was the Diego I had never known. The harshest reaction I got was from someone who told me that "you should have known about Diego's machismo attitude" and "of course he would go crazy and punch you, what were you thinking even acknowledging the affair?"

One additional story I must tell is of his partner, Rico Torres. For a long time I allowed Diego to hide behind Rico because I knew that sharing my story would mean equally affecting Rico. I viewed Rico as someone who got caught up in a bad situation and was just constantly trying to keep things from blowing up. This began to dissipate when, after seeing Diego and Cassie dancing together so closely following their kiss, I asked him about their relationship and he referred to them as a "foregone conclusion." I asked him if Diego would be getting divorced so that they could be together, and he didn't seem to care. This was all business as usual for him at that point. Recently, in January of 2018, I was volunteering at a charity event in San Antonio when I found myself at Haunt, inside of the St. Anthony Hotel. While at the bar I heard my name called out. I turned around to find Rico and Cassie standing there. Rico raised his glass and shouted in the crowded room, "Go fuck yourself!" Suddenly it was hard to see him as unjustified collateral damage any longer.