Note: The Audit Report is available below.
In today’s meeting of the City’s Financial Oversight & Audit Committee (FOAC) meeting, the members recommended that city council open an investigation into the alleged use of an unknown third-party of Cassandra Hernandez’ city-issued gasoline card on January 3. The FOAC members discussed the report recently released on the use of the city’s gasoline cards by city representatives. During the meeting, it was insinuated by Joe Molinar that Cassandra Hernandez may have misused her city-issued gasoline card by allowing an unknown individual to use it while she was at the January 3, 2023 city council meeting. The meeting was the first meeting where the newly elected city representatives attended for the first time. It was also the meeting city representatives voted to remove the 2012 Quality of Life controversial sports arena out of the Duranguito neighborhood.
The city-issued gasoline cards are intended to be used by city representatives for official city business. The city’s policy does not allow for city representatives to allow others to use the city-owned gasoline card.
While the city audit department was auditing the 2022 use of the city-issued gasoline cards after an allegation was made, a criminal investigation was started by the police department. Although several discrepancies were found by the auditors on the use of city-issued gasoline cards by two representatives, one use of the card caught the attention of Joe Molinar. According to Molinar, a city gasoline card issued to Cassandra Hernandez was used to buy gasoline while Hernandez was at a city council meeting.
The cards are intended to be used by the city representative and not a third-party.
According to Molinar, Hernandez was at city council while her card was being used by an unknown individual. Molinar explained at the FOAC meeting that the January 3, 2023 executive session started around 3:16 in the afternoon. The executive session meeting ended at 5:55. Molinar explained that Hernandez was in Executive Session during the time her gasoline card was being used at a gas station. The auditor’s report found that Hernandez’ gasoline card was used at 5:12, according to Molinar.
Although the city’s auditor was told by police officials that a criminal investigation into the auditor’s report was started, no charges have been filed. On April 18, 2023, the police department told the auditor that “no criminal conduct” was found.
However, at the FOAC meeting it was revealed that the police department has a video of an individual filling up a gas tank while Hernandez was at the city council meeting. Other than police officials, no one has seen the gas station video. The auditor told the FOAC member that the gas station video was “grainy and blurry.” The auditor added that he has not seen the video.
The city council members of the FOAC asked for and will be provided with a copy of the police report.
The FOAC committee made a unanimous recommendation that the city council open an investigation into the misuse of the gasoline cards. Hernandez will likely be the focus of the investigation to see what policies were violated and who used her city-issued gasoline card.
This is a developing story and it will be updated as more information becomes available.