Most of you, if not all of you, are aware of the Ross Fisher Ethics Investigation Preliminary Findings and Advice Report dated February 26, 2016 and released by the City. There is much commentary and speculation about the report and its findings online and, of course, by Bob Moore’s newspaper. The report has already generated at least one rebuttal, the one from Joyce Wilson and one criminal investigation orchestrated by Jaime Esparza. Politics and political operatives are working overtime in a public relations effort to continue the charade of “it’s all good in El Paso” and politicos are looking for cover and political points.
For those of us that have been pointing out that the corruption is endemic in El Paso, the Fisher report is the first peel in the complex onion that is El Paso corruption. There are many politicos scrambling to protect their careers and some are even looking for a way to avoid a perp walk on the way to jail. Other politicos are scrambling to bottle up the reality that a multi-year corruption scam may spring some leaks leading to exposing the Caballero-Hunt led public policy agenda that many of us believe is corrupt.
The report may have implicated Joyce Wilson but it is important to note that Joyce Wilson is just a tool to a well-orchestrated scam being perpetuated on El Paso taxpayers since at least 2000. No, the Ross Fisher report has not given us the smoking gun but it has begun to pierce the multi-layered onion of the fraud.
For the first time, the almost 200-page report gives us an opportunity to discuss the ongoing corruption in the city based on a documented process via a report that was generated by an impartial third-party. There was much consternation among certain community members when the City first announced that Ross Fisher had been contracted to investigate various issues involving Tommy Gonzalez and Larry Romero. Some criticized Fisher’s previous professional relationship with the city attorney. Others argued that Fisher was anti-taxpayers in that he works for a legal firm that has been paid by the City of El Paso stymie open records advocates.
There was an almost general consensus that Ross Fisher’s report was just another cover up for the city. Because of this, the Fisher Report is very poignant for those involved in the corruption of the city though a public policy agenda focused on taxpayer funded flights-of-fancy.
The report vindicates the many individuals that argued that the ballpark was nothing more than a scam perpetuated upon the taxpayers.
It is no longer the “crazies” that are questioning the ballpark fiasco.
This is important to understand as we delve deep into what the report exposes.
Because of the importance of what the report is exposing and because of the many political factions posturing and corruptors running for cover, I have decided to share with you my in depth analysis of what the report exposes over the next four days.
Tomorrow, I am going to focus on the ballpark scam and point out what the report exposes about it. It is not as simple as the delay of the bonds.
On, Wednesday, I am going to remind you how the corruptors tried to remove some obstacles in their way by trying to subjugate through intimidation.
On Thursday I am going to show you why Joyce Wilson is hiding behind a lawyer.
On Friday, I am going to tie it all up together on the politics of the corruption.
Before I close, it is important to acknowledge one individual. Oscar Leeser should be applauded for allowing a glimpse into the public corruption that is stymieing the city. I am not sure if he ever intended to let it go this far or if he has an agenda but the fact remains that Leeser commissioned the Norton Rose Fulbright report shortly after he took office. It is that report that exposed the bond sale delay and directly let to the Ross Fisher report. It has been Leeser’s leadership that has forced city council to release the reports that we are using today.
Without these two reports we would not be having this conversation today. Remember, prior to Oscar Leeser it has always been the modus operandi of the City to keep everything hidden and tucked away behind the closed doors of executive session.
Finally, (and some of thought it was going to be short) I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss the Poisoned Pawns public corruption scandal and how it all ties together today.
Some of you might remember that the reason that 40 plus individuals pleaded guilty or were convicted of public corruption did so because of two individuals – Bob Jones and Travis Ketner.
Bob Jones stealing millions of federal funds brought the FBI to town. Travis Ketner freaked out when the FBI came to the County building and as they say, the rest is history.
What hasn’t been discussed is that the investigation of Jones gave certain political operatives an opportunity to dispose of certain obstructionists to their public agenda. Travis Ketner opened up a Pandora’s box that had Veronica Escobar, Bob Moore and cohorts dancing on the streets that Anthony Cobos was about to go to jail.
Like all Pandora’s boxes, once the genie is let out of the box it is extremely difficult to cork it back in. When the dust settled many were rattled but Escobar and cronies sighed a sigh of relief that they were able to remain unscathed.
The ballpark bonds are just the tip of the iceberg and the same promises and scams of the ballpark are the same being perpetuated through the El Paso Children’s Hospital in 2007 and this year.
As you go through my analysis this week, substitute the ballpark for the El Paso Children’s Hospital and I am sure you will see how they correlate to each other.
You do know this is about getting Esparza reelected and the political powers of El Paso will never allow a real investigation. Here is a question why didn’t Esparza ask Sheriff Wiles to lead the investigation? Also you have to wonder how the Texas Rangers feel about being used a a political pawn in a attempt to get Esparza reelected.
Martin if a average El Paso citizen had lost 22 million dollars of the tax payer money trying to manipulate an election how fast do you think they would have been marched off to jail?
The DA flipped the hot potato to the State and now he can’t be held responsible for any legal action against the roaches. Unfortunately by announcing the case was being referred it gave the culprits a heads up.
There will a lot of late nights spent erasing electronic data, paper documents, checking bank statements, phone records, finding alibis, coordination of explanations, gifts. They will work harder to look clean than they have their whole terms. You can’t be sure that favors are being called in order to derail investigations or get the spotlight off them.
This, hopefully, will lead to a rigorous investigation and tough prosecution. Also, we hope it doesn’t stop at the city level and continues upward. A nice chat with Cook will peel the onion a bit. You can be sure he has a few stories to tell. After all, he stated the former city hall was in pretty good shape, that certain people waited till he was out of town to push the demolition. He, also contradicted wilson’s recent statements. Remember when he was prepared to to talk shortly before his term ended and suddenly clammed up.
Now is the time for voters to make “informed” votes and use independent thinking. This is a chance to get rid of shady characters, drama queens, the “go along” politicians, the corrupt or too stupid politicians that have cost this region close to a billion dollars.
The Mayor is pushing transparency while others push stories of “how great everything” is going while the debt shows its all lies. Still can’t figure why industry doesn’t come to El Paso and there is no tourist stampedes ?
The cats have buried their waste but the smell still reeks.
The $27 Million Dollar Question
Ex Parte the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, No. NUMBER 13-11-0070 Mark Seal in charge of public finance, noted that a delay of the issuance of the Bonds could cost the City of approximately $5.7 million.
In re Talco-Bogata Consolidated Independent School District Bond Election, The court in its discretion may receive evidence on the amount of the damages and costs, which shall include, but not be limited to, anticipated increases in interest rates.
HAMILTON DE JONG, v. UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT A delay in determining this issue will result in a greater cash outlay due to rising construction costs and interest rates in the bond market. We consider these matters to be of grave public interest justifying a preliminary examination.
I would also ask that the city also investigate the sale of the EP Times building to the city which Wilson negotiated in a seeming tit-for-tat arrangement to buy the Times’ support of the AAA ball park project. The appraisal of that building was shoddy and careless, in my opinion, and no one on council stood up for the taxpayer then to offer less than the value Wilson and her Borderplex cronies had decided to give to Bob Moore.
If a downtown building was so damn valuable as to warrant a $10MM price tag, why did Paul Foster give away the Luther Building to the city for free?
Jerry, foster donated a building that I think showed on the tax rolls at 400k or less when he donated it.(probably what he bought it for and his Tax consultant used that). Sounds right for a building that was from early 1900’s(i think 1906). however, his contruction company foster-jordon did the renovation and i dont even think it went to bidding. i think the cost was around 14 to 18 million. like most building from that time i assume it had concrete floors and beams all through it. what’s funny is that i think that is where the city put its I.T. department. can you imagine ? i bet wifi doesnt even work from one floor to the other with all that concrete and re-bar. if foster jordon only made 10 percent that would be 1.4 to 1.8 mill profit. that aint bad for a building that was supposedly donated. there was no ease of tax payer burden. 1.4 to 1.8 million to renovate and how much to move ?
A lot of special interest people got sweet heart deals with the help of Wilson. Then she also got sweet heart job as head of the work force for the good job she did for all the special interest when at the city. Reyes who ran the Work force for years could be a total screw up and none of our local elected officials would remove him no matter how bad of a job he was doing but suddenly Wilson leaves the city and Reyes is thrown out over night and Wilson replaces him. Sound like a payoff to me.
You do realize that Oscar Leeser never intended for the Norton Rose Fulbright report to be released? That he received it in November 2013 and never showed it to anyone other than the city attorney, not even City Council? That the report wasn’t released until two years later, only after Romero and Gonzalez got caught in shenanigans with the financial adviser?
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