Former County Judge and convicted corruptor, Dolores Briones exemplifies the mind set of why corruption will continue to prevail in El Paso. Corruption is so ingrained in the El Paso mindset that even after admitting corrupt practices, Dolores Briones and her supporters continue to perpetuate a fraud upon the taxpaying citizens of the community.

An undated letter titled; “Supporting Dolores Briones” recently surfaced with a plea to help Dolores Briones. The El Paso Times identified the author of the letter as Yolie Flores.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation website lists Yolie Flores Aguilar, of California and Dolores Briones as members of the 1993 Class of Casey Foundation Children and Family Fellows. The foundation describes itself as a “private charitable organization dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children”.

Also, according to an El Paso Times article dated December 17, 2011 by Diana Washington, Yolie Flores Aguilar was helped by Briones in winning a seat in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Board of Education.

In an online resume, Dolores Briones writes that she was a Program Analyst for the El Paso Interreligious Sponsoring Organization (EPISO) in 1984. From 1984 to 1992 she worked in various capacities at Thomason Hospital, now known as the University Medical Center of El Paso. In 1995 and 1996 she ran for U.S. Congress and was El Paso County Judge from 1998 until 2006.

All of these work placements were directly or indirectly taxpayer supported. Except for her County Judge office, which is an elected position, she worked for non-profit organizations which pay no income taxes.

In addition to that, the Casey Foundation has given Dolores Briones five grants totaling $103,904 under its Mini-Grants Program. The grants were as follows:

In 1999, Dolores Briones received a grant in the amount of $5,904 to “Support a retreat for the Commissioner’s Court”, presumably the El Paso Commissioners Court.

In 2002, the non-profit gave her $25,000 to ”support the Border Children’s Mental Health Collaborative”. The same organization she plead guilty to defrauding.

In 2003, another $23,000 was given to her to “Strengthen and expand El Paso’s Earned Income Credit Campaign (EIC)”.

And, in 2005 she received two grants: “To launch a neighborhood asset-building campaign” in the amount of $25,000 and another $25,000 to “Support development of a system of care for children’s mental health services”.

So, between 1999 and 2005, Dolores Briones directly managed an additional $100,000 in addition to her taxpayer supported salary. This in addition to the money she accepted in bribes as a County Judge.

Yolie Flores, for her part received five grants totaling $105,000 from 2000 to 2005 from the foundation.

These are two women are accustomed to getting taxpayer subsidized money.

The letter is very telling in how some have grown comfortable living off of taxpayer funded initiatives and finding nothing wrong with demanding even more money from the taxpayers.

There is nothing wrong with asking friends and family to help a person in trouble. And I do not have any problem with Yolie Flores asking people to help out her friend. I don’t even care about the fact that nowhere in the letter does it appear that anyone realizes that what Dolores Briones did was wrong and illegal as evidenced by the guilty plea.

What I do have a serious problem with is the advocating the gaming of the system in order to get more money from the taxpayers of the community.

Under the heading; “3. Employment for Dee”, the letter states that “in order for Dee to receive unemployment at $1700/mo. She needs a job that will pay her $1200 a month” through the Texas Unemployment system.

Dolores Briones quit her job as soon as it becomes public that she had pled guilty to corruption. Not having met the longevity requirement she does not receive unemployment. Rightly so.

Unemployment is for hard-working individuals, who have not broken the law, to receive help during a moment of unemployment. The idea is to pay into a system that helps you in the event you become involuntarily unemployed. More importantly, the system is funded by the people who hire the employees, those who pay the majority of the taxes. It is not a free system where money just flows out.

And even more importantly, it is not a system where you work just enough so that you can get money for free.

I also have serious problems around the notion that someone should hire Dolores Briones for her unemployment benefits. The notion of hiring someone just to meet an unemployment threshold smacks of collusion and outright corruption and could possibly be a fraud of the system. In other words, plain-old corruption. But the author, and apparently Dolores Briones see nothing wrong with milking a system for the benefit of Dolores Briones.

Apparently her guilty plea was just a formality for Dolores Briones and she sees nothing wrong with the fact that she is a felon for participating in bribery. Asking for a “wink, wink” job just to meet the threshold for unemployment benefits is corrupt. With this mindset, El Paso corruption will continue.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...