balisger-chrisCorruption exists because the voters allow it to happen. When voters are aware that politicos tend towards corrupt practices and still vote them into office, then they only have themselves to blame. Since the voters have no problem with corrupt practices, then the chambers of commerce and the news media outlets become complicit in the corruption. Seeing that the voters, the chambers of commerce and the news media support the corruption, then the politicos embrace it so that they can get elected into office.

Don’t’ believe me? Then let’s look at the perfect example.

Last week, Chris Balsiger was found guilty on a dozen charges of corruption. He and others were charged on numerous counts of corruption in a coupon scheme involving his company in 2007. Balsiger was the owner of International Outsourcing Services (IOS) before its multi-million-dollar coupon scheme was exposed.

Chris Balsiger would take the coupons used by supermarket shoppers and process them for various companies. Manufacturers use coupons to entice shoppers to buy their products at the stores. Part of the coupon business model is an algorithm that estimates the number of coupons that are redeemed against those that remain unused. The manufacturers use the algorithmic result to estimate what their cost will be for the coupon.

Balsiger created a clearing house whereby the stores would send the used coupons to IOS, and IOS would tabulate the coupons for the different manufacturers and let them know which store needed to be reimburse. Balsiger’s company would take a fee per coupon it processed. Obviously, the more coupons it processed the higher the revenues would be for IOS.

Except there was a problem for Balsiger. The algorithm used by the manufacturers shows that only a small percent of the shoppers use coupons. That is why it makes it feasible for the manufacturers to issue coupons – because only a small percentage are used.

Under the proper business model, the processing of coupons wasn’t lucrative for Chris Balsiger. Under the proper business model, Balsiger couldn’t buy attention from the local news media and couldn’t afford to climb mountains.

As a result, he devised a scheme. The scheme was simple. Balsiger needed to alter the algorithm by creating fake used coupons for the manufacturers to pay him to process. The more coupons the higher his revenues. Balsiger’s company took unused coupons, of which there were many, had them clipped in Juárez, and put them into a cement mixer to make it looked like they had been redeemed. The more coupons the more money he had to climb mountains with.

The Balsiger apologists reading this post should refer to the court documents before commenting on whether Balsiger is corrupt or not. Remember, a judge has ruled he is corrupt and the court documents are filled with little nuggets like using a cement mixer to make the coupons look used or, my favorite, a chase all over Cd. Juárez for a man carrying an undercover video that was eventually delivered to the prosecutors.

The coupon business model is old and as such its processes have been mathematically modelled. Manufacturers do not issue coupons without knowing what it might end up costing them. To further the corruption, Balsiger needed accomplices. Because of the numbers of coupons and the need to circumvent the mathematical protections built in, into the industry, Balsiger needed computer help.

The need for computer help brings us to next player in the corruption scheme. Jim Currey, owner of local IT firm, Currey-Adkins. Jim Currey founded Currey-Adkins, along with Mike Adkins in 1975. Currey is an example of the complicit news media. Most of the headlines, if not all, focus on the charges against Jim Currey being dropped by the federal government. This leads to the notion that the prosecutors could not prosecute the case successfully, leaving the idea that Jim Currey is innocent of the corruption charges.

On September 26, 2016, the El Paso Inc. published the article “All charges dropped against Currey in IOS case” by Robert Gray. Currey is quoted as stating; “How, in the United States, can they indict someone for nine and a half years and leave them strung up and punish them and hurt their business and then, in the end, just say: ‘Oops, no ham not foul’”.

As you read the headline and the quote you get the idea that Currey was innocent but was nonetheless prosecuted on trumped up charges. The article goes on to expose the truth by mentioning that Currey entered a “deferred adjudication agreement” with the government in order to avoid further court action.

The El Paso Inc. is notorious for propping up questionable businessmen in its apparent goal of furthering the notion that “all is good in El Paso.” It is a cheerleader publication for El Paso’s elite. A city as heavily dependent on corruption as El Paso, needs a cheerleader publication to destigmatize the obvious corruption and further the illusion that all is good in the city.

The weekly did this with Bob Jones as well.

Look at the numerous stories about the philanthropy of Bob Jones, his business acumen and the numerous pictures of Jones in creating an illusion of success. Balsiger graced the weekly as well on a regular basis. From his coupon empire, to his philanthropy and even to the numerous articles about how he was being wronged by the prosecutors. Like Jones, we now know what everyone else knew secretly, that Chris Balsiger is corrupt.

The clear message from the El Paso Inc. is that to succeed in El Paso you must be corrupt. If you are a business owner trying to break into the El Paso market you soon realize that the playing field isn’t level. To get the attention of the local chambers of commerce and the local business weekly you must buy yourself into them.

It is not about buying advertising but rather about encouraging the notion that although the activities of a business empire are not sustainable legally, you pretend that it is in order to be allowed to participate in the marketplace. Balsiger and Jones are prime examples of this but there are many more today that grace the pages of the El Paso Inc. on a regular basis yet their business activities cannot stand the scrutiny of normal business models.

Basically, they are generating profits from business activities that do not make any sense.

If you are a business owner and you point out the obvious you become an outcast because you aren’t supporting the carefully crafted fantasy.

The local chambers of commerce know this rule as well. They need to largess of people like Balsiger and Jones and thus they create chambers that encourage corruption. Awards and recognitions aren’t based on merit but rather on how much money they gave to the organization.

As you recognize this then it readily becomes apparent why the major chambers of commerce are always in support of excessive tax programs, such as school bonds, that are detrimental to businesses who play by the rules but are mountains of cash for those who are corrupt.

Now you know why the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce supported EPISD’s $668.7 million bond for a school district not only mired in public corruption, but also a school district that is losing students each year. As you can see, it makes no business sense to fund a school district that is losing students, and yet the chambers of commerce had no problem supporting it.

Tomorrow, I am going to show you how you can admit publicly, in court documents, that you are corrupt and nothing will happen to you.

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...

3 replies on “Local Politicos, News Media and Chambers Enable Corruption”

  1. we know all this so what is the solution? How do we get informed voters to the polls? is it a cultural thing like ” ne modo” ( sp?) ? when presented with facts why do the people hold steadfast in refusing to believe the facts ? what is the hold that the corrupt have on the county area? is it a lack of education ? is it the low wages that makes heros out of the crooks ? Does the terrible economy make it ok to skim off the top or scam one another ?

  2. Cause you have individuals like Jaime Abeytia spinning the facts and claiming to be the voice of the people.

  3. At least corruption is very affordable here. Local politicians sell their souls for a weekend in Vegas. In a class city, you’d have to lay out serious bucks to rig a bid. If we can’t avoid corruption here, be grateful that it is affordable and, mostly, accessible to all comers willing to pay.

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