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In our initial Political Gossip Corner we shared with readers a rumor making the rounds among El Paso politicos that Vince Perez was the consultant behind the failed two Canutillo Independent School District bonds election. We can now confirm that he was.

On August 10, 2021, the Canutillo school board notified taxpayers that it was going to hold an election on November 2, 2021 for two proposed bonds. The first was a bond for $177.5 million for purchasing land and adding school facilities. The second bond the school district was proposing was to refinance existing debt. Both bond measures were rejected by voters. Proposition A was rejected 64.65% to 35.35% and Proposition B was rejected by the voters 65.07% to 34.93%. About 1,600 voters cast a vote. The consultant behind the failed measure was Vince Perez, according to responses we received from an open records request we filed with the school district on November 17.

Vince Perez is married to Claudia Ordaz Perez who has announced that she will challenge Art Fierro in the March primary but has yet to file her paperwork. As we reported, Ordaz Perez may not be eligible to run according to a lawsuit filed by her husband.

The Just for Kids PAC

On August 13, 2021, superintendent Pedro Galaviz notified Steve Blanco, who was the attorney organizing the bond election, that “Vince Perez will be leading the PAC for Canutillo.” [1] This was three days after the Canutillo school board voted to hold the election. On August 16, the attorney advising the school district wrote in an email that Vince Perez needed to sign the PAC forms so that they could start collecting campaign donations.

Perez responded in an email on August 16 that he did not want to be the treasurer. Perez wrote that if he were to serve as the treasurer, “that will likely prohibit” him “from working directly with the district” on the bond measure. Perez suggested that the campaign treasurer “should be someone who is very active in the Just For Kids Committee who is supportive of the bond and is trustworthy.” [1]

The PAC’s treasurer ended up being Lynne M. Brooks. Brooks is an attorney working for Farmer’s Insurance, according to the Texas Bar, who lives in the Canutillo School District.

On August 18, 2021, Perez wrote to Galaviz that the County had provided him a list “for all voters in the Canutillo ISD boundaries.” Perez added that he now had “more concrete figures on highly reliable voters that the district can reach out to for more informative purposes on the bond.” [1] According to the email made available to us by our open records requests, Perez was using the Texas Democratic Party voter database known as VAN to manage the voter lists that the school district was using for the bond election.

Vince Perez Paid At Least $12,000 For Failed Election

According to the campaign contributions reported by the Just for Kids PAC on October 25, the PAC had only two expenditures for the bond election. One was a payment for $12,780 to Perez on October 22, 2021 and another on October 21, 2021 to political consultant Mark Smith for $1,543.80. [2]

The PAC raised $44,000 and spent $14,323.80. The $44,000 campaign contributions were made by ten entities. The business entities appear to be engineering and construction firms. The El Paso Chapter of Associated General Contractors contributed $20,000 in two contributions. Richard Castro and Kirk Robinson contributed $6,000 with Robinson pitching in $1,000 of that. Hunt Corporation contributed $10,000 in two contributions of $5,000 each. [2]

It is important that readers note that the only report filed by the PAC may not be a complete financial picture of the bond election. The next report is not due until January 15, 2022. Any financial transactions after October 25, 2021 will not be reported until then. El Paso Politics will do follow up article once the new report becomes available.

Sergio Coronado

By October 25, only 228 voters had cast a vote according to an email Vince Perez sent the school board members on that date. One of the school board members was Sergio Coronado, who is rumored to be considering running for Carl Robinson’s seat in the upcoming elections. In a questioner Coronado answered for the El Paso Times when he was running for reelection on the Canutillo school board in 2020, Coronado wrote to the El Paso Times he had fallen behind on his federal taxes in 2008 “due to illness.” Coronado added that he was current on his taxes in 2020. [3]

However, a KVIA report from 2014 paints a clearer picture of Coronado’s tax problems. According to KVIA, Sergio Coronado owed taxes to the IRS for almost $69,000 between 2004 and 2009. Coronado told KVIA that he “blames a down economy and unforeseen medical expenses for his daughter” for his tax problems.

El Paso Politics has been unable to confirm if Coronado is running against Carl Robinson. Candidates have until December 13 to file to run for office in the upcoming primary. As of publication time, Coronado has not filed the necessary paperwork to run against Robinson.

According to several sources who provided information to us for background purposes on the condition that we do not name them, it was Sergio Coronado who asked the Canutillo board to contract Vince Perez to manage the two failed bond measures.

Footnotes:

  1. Texas Public Information Act responsive documents from Canutillo Independent School District received by the author on December 8, 2021.
  2. Just For Kids, Specific-Purpose Committee Campaign Finance Report, October 25, 2021.
  3. “Questionnaire: Sergio Coronado, candidate for Canutillo ISD Board of Trustees, District al Large,” El Paso Times, October 14, 2020.
  4. “Justice of the Peace candidates prepare for runoff,” KVIA, July 9, 2014.

Martin Paredes

Reporting on public corruption, border politics, immigration and public policy in El Paso since 2000.

3 replies on “Vince Perez Was The Consultant Behind The Failed Canutillo Bond Election”

  1. I heard Canutillo ISD was going to hire Perez and Abeytia again, apparently they are going to try and pass the bond they just lost.

  2. “The business entities appear to be engineering and construction firms.”

    Is anyone involved with the District’s future and political leadership who has an interest in education?

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