After postponing UMC’s request for notifying the public that UMC intends to issue up to $400 million in non-voter approved bonds known as certificates of obligation, county commissioners voted on June 27 to notify the public about the intent to issue the bonds. On a three-to-two vote, county commissioners approved moving forward on publishing the required notice before the bonds can be issued. County commissioners are expected to discuss approving the non-voter approved bonds during their meeting on September 12, 2022.
Today, UMC published the first of two required notices in the newspaper starting the clock on the possible issuance of the non-voter approved debt. Under the law, UMC must publish two statements in the legal notices of the newspaper. The first was published today and the second must be published thirty-days before county commissioners can vote on the request.
The possible issuance of the certificates of obligation have become controversial because they are issued without voter approval. Several individuals who spoke before county commissioners in the June 27 meeting told the commissioners that the bonds should be issued as general obligation bonds that require the approval of the voters. There is at least on petition circulating in the community demanding that county commissioners take the bonds to the voters. Whether the bonds are issued as COs, or GOs, the property owners in El Paso will see an increase in their property taxes starting next year. Depending on the value of the property, the proposed $346 million in bonds will cost taxpayers more than $50 a year, increasing as the value of the property increases.
Because the taxpayers will be making the payments towards the proposed $346 million and because the controversy is about whether El Paso voters should have a say in whether to pay more in taxes, we reviewed the voting record for UMC’s chief operating officer, Jacob Cintron.
What we discovered is that Cintron is not registered to vote in El Paso County. As far as we can ascertain, Cintron has never voted. Because public records show that Cintron owns properties in San Antonio as well as El Paso, we consulted the voting records for Bexar County to see if Cintron was registered to vote there. We found none.
We found that Cintron’s wife is registered to vote in El Paso. She and the other household member who is also registered to vote both have a spotty voting history. The wife, who is 58 years old, only registered to vote in El Paso in 2018. It should be noted that the Cintron’s also own property in San Antonio. It is possible that the wife transferred her voting registration in 2018.
The other household member of the Cintron household is a 23-year-old female who registered to vote in 2016. The last time she voted, according to public records was in 2020.
However, our extensive public records search found no evidence of Jacob Cintron ever voting in Texas. Because Cintron is the CEO of UMC, who is seeking to issue millions in non-voter approved bonds for UMC, the question of whether Cintron has voted is an important question for El Paso’s voters to know.
Robert Cinton, who goes by his middle name, Jacob, is a 1983 graduate of the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Cintron graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. Cintron worked in the engineering department of then Thomason Hospital, now UMC, for 17 years before leaving El Paso. Cintron returned to El Paso in 2006 when he was named the CEO of Del Sol Medical Center. In 2016, Cintron was named the CEO of UMC.
Recently Cintron has faced several criticisms for comments he has made about co-workers and members of the community. In one particularly egregious comment, Cintron referred to the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (EPHCC) mascot in sexually inappropriate language.
Cintron has apologized privately to some of the individuals that he has made inappropriate comments about. However, as we previously noted, UMC employees are subject to disciplinary action under UMC’s Code of Conduct for making similar comments and to our knowledge, the UMC’s Board of Managers have not publicly addressed Cintron’s unprofessional and disrespectful comments that we have reported on based on open records requests.
Although Cintron is not registered to vote, it should be noted that he owns at least three tax paying properties in Texas. In El Paso, public records show that Cintron owns two properties. According to the Central Appraisal District, one property is listed as a homestead. It is valued at $444,569 by the El Paso CAD. There are two exemptions listed for the property. The homestead and another listed as “other”. We calculated how Cintron’s hospital district tax would be affected if the UMC bonds are approved in September.
According to our analysis, based on available information, Cintron’s homestead is currently assessed $1,262.40 annually for the UMC taxes. Should the county commissioners approve the bonds, Cintron’s homestead would incur an additional $277.77 annually. UMC does not offer exemptions on their tax.
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