From the first moment I was notified by the city that my money order was not acceptable for the open records request I had submitted looking for images of Steve Ortega I knew something was wrong. At first it seemed like a simple attempt at delaying or discouraging me from pursuing my quest for information about the campaign activities of Steve Ortega while he was at the city. However as other seemingly unrelated things began to happen it soon became apparent to me that the money order fiasco was not about delaying me but rather it was about intimidation.

I have written numerous blogs about how some political operatives have gone about attempting to silence me through isolation, intimidation and outright lying and even lawsuits. It is part of their modus operandi to keep their political shenanigans out of the public spotlight.

As you already know I have established that the city not only accepts money orders for city business it has previously accepted a money order from me on another open records request without comment. According to the public discussion between city officials at the city council meeting of October 22, 2013 the city’s insistence on money orders was just a “misunderstanding”.

Was the money order fiasco a simple attempt at delaying or discouraging me from pursuing my open records request?

I do not think the money order demand was an attempt to delay me because, at most, it would only have delayed the response by an additional three days for the time it would have taken me to send in an alternate payment method. Besides if I had used a credit card it would have expedited the process instead of delaying it.

Was it an attempt to discourage me from pursuing my open records?

Demanding an alternative form of payment would obviously not discourage me from pursuing my request because I had already spent the money to purchase the money order therefore it is not logical to assume that piling on fees would be a discouraging factor for me.

So why was my money order initially rejected?

First it is important to note that the decision to reject my money order had to have been made by someone at the city in a position of sufficient authority to make that determination without immediate repercussions. This decision was not made at the staff level. Therefore whoever made the decision had to have a personal reason for doing so because these types of decisions are not made in a vacuum without benefitting someone.

The city, has already argued that the money order issue was just a “misunderstanding”. I cannot accept that this type of controversy can so easily be dismissed as a simple case of incompetence especially coupled with other things that transpired at the same time.

Remember that at about the time that my open records request was in limbo because of the money order fiasco two of the horde’s useful idiots started to insinuate that I was some type of “nonperson” or that I didn’t even exist because David Karlsruher wasn’t able to do a background check on me.

While, at the same time the city was demanding that I either pay with cash, check or a credit card.

Obviously, being some 1,700 miles away cash was not an option and I have no doubt that whoever was pulling the money order scam on me at the city knows this perfectly well. That left two options, checks or credit cards.

Anyone would assume that an individual blogger is unlikely to have a business entity setup for their blogging activities. Therefore it would stand to reason that I would have likely used a personal check or credit card to make the payment. What is so special about a personal check or credit card?

The personal information that each of those payment instruments have associated to them.

And no, it’s not about my name that the useful idiots are attempting to use to try to create an illusion of wrong-doing on my part. It is about an attempt at intimidation.

A check or credit card gives the entity that accepts it one very important piece of information about me; my home address.

Any legal background investigation on me has already been conducted by those seeking to silence me and since they are unable to find any criminal activity they can use to silence me with they are left with looking for other forms of intimidation. Therefore they are left with attempting to create an illusion of me having some-dark secret to hide.

A home address gives them an opportunity to add to the intimidation. Intimidation boils down to behavioral manipulation. It is as simple as making fun of someone’s attire to actually threatening someone with violence or jail.

You will notice that when attempting to silence public discourse the first thing used is to make the issue about the messenger rather than the message. Every person, that I am aware of, that has alleged government wrongdoing was stigmatized by officials as “crazy” and/or “agenda-driven”. The first thing the news media does when someone makes an accusation against government officials is to report on the person delivering the message.

This is because the government will always rely on releasing the information about the messenger but conveniently not be able to talk about the issue because it is “currently under investigation”. Therefore the media’s focus is on the messenger because they have no opposing “information” with which to balance the accusation with because “it is under investigation”.

By the time the truth comes out, if it ever does, the messenger has been publicly dissected and any vindication of their allegation is normally nothing more than a footnote in some newspaper exposé about the original allegation.

Am I accusing the city, as an entity, of trying to intimidate me?

Of course not, because the city is made up of various political factions each vying for control. As such the attempt to gather more information on me for intimidation purposes was not a city driven attempt but rather an attempt by one, or more political factions.

Obviously the more information gathered about me gives anyone attempting to silence me an opportunity to attempt to intimidate me economically, socially or through embarrassment by strategically released out-of-context information.

Knowing where I live gives anyone attempting to intimidate me a starting point to learn more about my economic situation, my social activities and who are those individuals that I care the most about.

Therefore I have no doubt that the money order debacle was nothing more than an attempt to gather more information about me by those attempting to silence me.

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...

One reply on “The Money Order Conspiracy”


    A former assistant district attorney in El Paso pleaded not guilty in federal court to a charge involving allegations that he conspired through text messages to accept cash if he would seek to dismiss criminal cases.

    Antonio “Tony” Reyes was arrested and charged on Nov. 12 with the felony offense of “conspiracy to commit wire fraud and the deprivation of honest services.” Reyes was released from custody on Nov. 13 after posting a $20,000 bond. On Nov. 14, he waived his appearance for arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty.

    If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000 and up to three years on supervised release. If a judge decides against a prison sentence, Reyes could face one to five years of probation.

    Reyes, an El Paso general-practice solo, declined comment, explaining, “I actually just got counsel today, and he told me I really shouldn’t speak about it.”

    His attorney, Miguel “Mike” Villalba, also declined comment, noting he generally doesn’t discuss pending federal cases.

    Renee Railey, a spokeswoman in the DA’s Office for the 34th Judicial District, said that a nine-month grant paid Reyes’ salary and he prosecuted misdemeanor cases in the office between August 2010 and April 2011.

    DA Jaime Esparza didn’t return a telephone call or email seeking comment. But Railey emailed a statement by Esparza that said in part, “My office requested assistance from the FBI when we learned of possible misconduct by a former prosecutor who worked in my office for nine months.”

    Railey said the alleged conduct is “very rare.”

    “We’ve got 90 lawyers in our office, and Mr. Esparza has been a DA 21 years,” Railey said, adding about Reyes, “He was here for a short time, and once we were able to understand what could be possibly going on, the FBI then did the investigation.”


    A federal grand jury indicted Reyes on Nov. 6, following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

    The Indictment in United States v. Reyes alleges that, between March 30, 2011, and April 15, 2011, Reyes conspired with others to commit wire fraud and defraud El Paso County and its citizens of the “honest services” of a public official.

    Reyes “agreed to accept and accepted bribes in the form of cash money from persons known to the Grand Jury in exchange for … filing and support of Motions to Dismiss in criminal cases pending against those persons,” alleges the indictment.

    It says in executing the scheme, Reyes and the others used “wire communications” to transmit messages “in interstate commerce.” The indictment lists text messages, allegedly sent from Texas, through Georgia or Washington state, and back to Texas. The alleged texts were sent on March 31, 2011, April 4, 2011, and April 8, 2011.

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