onion-ballpark(This is part 2 of a 5-part series) Plain and simple, the ballpark fiasco was never properly vetted by the community. It was rushed under the notion that if the City did not act immediately they would lose the opportunity to bring the Chihuahuas to the city. Throughout the process, certain information trickled out that demonstrated that the ballpark was being rushed to fruition. I believe the rush of the process was on purpose in order to keep organized opposition at bay. If I am correct in my assessment, then there is only one reason to rush the process and that is because under the scrutiny of the community it would never have been demonstrated as a feasibly project to the taxpayers. It is, after all, the taxpayers that are funding the ballpark scam.

Anecdotal evidence and reports about the experiences that other cities who have built public stadiums have demonstrated, shows us that a publicly funded ballpark for a private group is unfeasible to the taxpayers of the community. I have yet to read a non-governmental financial report making the argument that stadiums are good for the taxpayers. As a matter of fact they all argue against them.

Many tried to slow down the process going so far as to sue in order to be heard. Unfortunately, it was always a David vs. Goliath battle as the city has the resources of unlimited tax monies to fend off legal challenges. Even then, a few battles were won but the corruptors were to well-protected by the El Paso Times and the lack of in-depth investigative reporting by the other news media outlets.

It came down to a public perception battle of obstructionists, or “crazies” as Joyce Wilson liked to refer to them, against well-heeled public “visionaries” attempting to make the city great.

The “crazies” were just out-gunned, coincidentally because of the taxes they pay each year.

The Ross Fisher report reinforced the previous report that exposed that the taxpayers had been saddled with $20+ million in additional fees for a political necessity. By many measures, the $20+ million is corrupt and likely criminal because it was never articulated to the taxpayers that the additional costs were the result of political favoritism.

However, the additional interest fees are just one component of many others that are just as detrimental to the city’s taxpayers. The city paid the El Paso Times for a building that is ill-suited for a city hall. The City pays annual rents to keep city offices operating. It does this because it gave up a paid-for city hall to build a stadium. Coincidently, or maybe not so coincidently, the City pays rent to Miguel Fernandez (El Paso Children’s Hospital and UMC) whom I have written about before and where Bob Moore’s paper is currently housed.

In its simplest form, the City gave away city hall to a few well-heeled individuals so that they could make money off of the taxpayers who coincidentally built the ballpark for them.

Make no mistake, when taxpayers are forced to build a stadium that then forces them to pay to enjoy it, it is fundamentally corrupt.

Let that sink in for a moment, El Paso taxpayers paid for a ballpark that certain private individuals get to charge them for the privilege of attending a game.

Let me reiterate it this way, many of you who paid for the ballpark are paying money to private individuals allowing them to make more money off, of your backs.

When we were pointing this out, many of us were labelled “crazies.”

When we pointed out that there were serious problems with the bonds and the financial shenanigans we were again labeled crazy.

The Fisher report gave us a glimpse into the shenanigans that went into the bonds. But only a glimpse. Where there is smoke there is likely a fire especially when you consider the City pays rents, the process was rushed and almost everything was done behind closed doors through dubious mechanisms.

Throughout the process, the ballpark enablers kept public information hidden from the community. Even today, Steve Ortega has public documents in his possession that he has acknowledged as possessing while refusing to release them to the community.

Imagine what nuggets of details we can derive from those if only the intent of the Texas Public Information Act was respected.

Tomorrow I will continue this series by demonstrating for you how the corruptors use intimidation to keep you at bay.

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...

2 replies on “Peeling the Onion – The Ballpark Bonds”

  1. Something did occur and the truth is being prevented from being revealed. The strategy has always been to let the crisis simmer for awhile and with time the story will die. This time there was a miscalculation, the public is opening their eyes and ears. They are finally understanding that there is a difference between unethical and criminal. However, they’re both terrible.

    The public has been fooled long enough. At the same the public carries responsibility because of their indifference to voting and drone voting. We haven’t felt the debt yet but it’s coming. Council and County are grasping at straws to hide the mess and trying various distractions.

    The Times is a participant in the distractions and distortions. They try to keep the public focused on Romero and Gonzalez. It’s so underhanded that now they’re for serious and in depth investigations. Either, documents are disappearing or all involved have rehearsed their explanations. Right now city and county are more conscious of Omertà than the mob. The DA is sweating bullets during this election so has finally decided to do something. But being clever, he passed everything over to the State so his hands will be clean when the right person makes a deal.

    They’ve already started the cover up by contradicting or denying statements and in some cases using the used phrase “I do not recall”.

    Time to take ALL the garbage out and elect new statesmen instead of politicians. Time to get rid off the manipulator at all levels and in or out of a government entity.

    Why haven’t the suspected council members revealed their part in the bond issue, why is Wilson refusing to reveal their identities, why are her versions of the facts in conflict with other people’s? Why hasn’t county revealed the identities of board members that admitted fraud ? Why isn’t the Times or city or county discussing the total dollar amount lost due to very questionable conduct. Add it all and the region has incurred almost a billion dollars loss due to mismanagement. They are all very shady or very stupid to lose that amount. In any case, either is grounds for removal from office.

    Word to the smarter ones, make a deal now before the others. Otherwise you might be the one left holding the bag. Losing your job is a lot better than jail time and financial losses. To heck with the rest of them, think about your families. That’s who will pay the most. It’s only a matter of time when you are called in, not if.

  2. Time to Sing the Truth !
    Wishful thinking. They are going to do what they have always done fly air cover for each other from the D.A., to the Police chief, to the Sheriff, to the CC and CCC members to the state legislators. Do hope we are wrong but short of the FBI walking them out in hand cuffs nothing of any real measure is going to be done and there will be no real accountability. It will be all smoke and mirrors and the tax payers will be the ones held accountability in paying for the stupidity of El Paso elected officials.

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