brdrplx-schme-jun16Around 2000, when Ray Caballero rode into office, he began to lay down the framework for a prosperous El Paso through redevelopment focused around the city’s core – downtown. What Caballero, and his cohorts, like Susie Byrd and Veronica Escobar, were hoping you didn’t realize is that the utopia they were hoping to build excluded many of you while at the same time needed you to fund it through taxes. The goals were lofty – a world-class medical system where everyone would fly into El Paso to take care of their ailments. This resulted in fiasco of the El Paso Children’s Hospital and the ongoing development of the Medical Center of the Americas. Of course, they needed a cool place to hang out after scamming you out of more money, so they embarked on downtown redevelopment. First they wanted to raze Segundo Barrio since the utopia didn’t need any “raza” to rain on their parade. They then decided that El Paso needed a gigantic park to rival Central Park in New York city. They proposed to demolish the railroad tracks and build it there.

Well, the “raza” wasn’t having any of that and the railroad people weren’t about to give up their lucrative railroads so the scam was stopped, at least temporarily. Although Ray Caballero was sent away to the west coast, he and his cohorts weren’t giving up. They decided that the best way to build the utopia was to buy the local newspaper and put out a full-court media scheme telling you how wonderful their redevelopment efforts were going to be.

Urban redevelopment through Smart Code was the new gimmick. The bought and paid for newspaper touted prosperity for El Paso and William Sanders, the “godfather” of REITs, a stock market scheme to use other people’s money to build buildings, was propped up as the savior to El Paso’s woes. They started the Paso del Norte Group (PDNG) and launched the infamous Glass Beach scam. William Sanders created the Borderplex REIT and gleefully started buying El Paso downtown property. They all gleefully proclaimed that downtown renaissance was only a brick away.

The Borderplex scheme was all over the newspaper. Sanders could not be wrong. It was everyone else that didn’t understand the complexities of REITs and downtown reinvestments. Yet the REIT was, as evidenced by how the REIT stalled and many local investors cried foul, a failure. William Sanders argued that the pace was just too slow, too many impediments with pesky paisanos getting in the way.

So they convinced some elected officials and threaten others to raze the city’s paid for city hall building and built a ballpark with tax monies. That a few people made a few bucks along the way, oh well, that was just part of the process that was too complicated for the “raza” to comprehend. The ballpark was going to save downtown redevelopment was the latest battle cry.

But it wasn’t enough, William Sanders finally acknowledged that the REIT had to look elsewhere for prosperity because El Paso, just wasn’t keeping the investors happy. So, he abandoned his focus on El Paso downtown and tried to expand elsewhere. In essence, El Paso downtown redevelopment wasn’t profitable, unless you used taxpayer monies. Savvy investors knew better and kept away. Others fell for the scam and demanded their money back.

Even then, the whole scheme is like a house of cards, it will eventually collapse upon itself because that is what happens with scams. With investors bailing out, the REIT needed new capital so they used William Sander’s name once again and got a commitment of $20 million for stock in the scheme. Daniel Burrell was taken in by the William Sanders mystic, like many in El Paso. But he soon realized that it all was a house of cards and he backed out, and demanded his initial $8.5 million back.

The latest controversy is now in court, with the multi-millionaires duking it out.

Meanwhile, the El Paso taxpayers continue to fund the scheme through the ballpark and the El Paso Children’s Hospital fiascos; and William Sanders is investing outside of El Paso.

But don’t despair, ignore the fact that an investor has alleged fraud with William Sander’s Borderplex scheme, because, well, high-finance wheeling-and-dealing is just too complex for the lowly paisano who is funding the schemes that line their pockets — to understand.

That Borderplex has abandoned their own downtown redevelopment focus and that one of their latest much-touted deals fell apart because a significant investor felt defrauded isn’t important. What they all want you to believe is that El Paso is in the cusp of a renaissance, only if you, the “raza,” that continues to fund the scheme, just understood your place and stopped complaining about how it’s all too expensive for your pocketbook.

You see, William Sanders is just too smart for the rest of us, “raza.”

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...

5 replies on “The El Paso BorderPlex Scheme”

  1. I’m surprised they haven’t yet floated a scheme for the city to finance acquisition of Billy Abraham’s DTEP properties and turn the portfolio over to Sanders & Co to develop, at taxpayer expense. All it needs is a Russ Vandenberg appraisal and a Joyce Wilson offer to make it happen 🙂

  2. Let’s not forget Sanders also has a PAC that backs his son-in-law, Beto O’Rourke and there were also a fair number of unhappy investors in his Verde Realty deal–the WSJ had some negative things to say about it.

  3. And don’t forget that Beto, El Paso’s fair-haired congressman and then City Council rep, was allowed to vote on every downtown item that came before City Council even though his father-in-law, Sanders, could benefit. The conflict of interest was brought before Council but nixed by City Attorney Charlie McNabb. Very early in Beto’s first term on City Council, before the ballpark idea became public, he began talking about tearing down City Hall. But Beto is lucky. He was off of City Council and on his way to Washington D.C. before the ballpark opponents became vocal. Steve Ortega? Not so lucky. Now Beto can do not wrong in the eyes of many even though he was up to his ears in conflict of interest in El Paso.

  4. It’s interesting how Stevo can get all the hell for that thing, but Suzy Bird walks right into an other elected position. Gross. It’s hard being a brown man taking the fall for the white folk these days.

    1. You could not be more right. Stevo paid the price. The voters told him what they think of the scheme. Suzy is financed by Beto and got elected because her competition was a school board member that allowed the crimes at the school district. I don’t live in her district but people who live there say they would never vote for her again. Veronica and her are friends with the Perv.

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