In our story about the city council voting to move the city’s internal auditor under the city council’s purview we reported on an email sent to city officials in opposition to the move. In the email sent by Ana, who has not provided her last name, she criticized the internal auditor for failing to disclose the mayor’s city-issued gas card. According to Ana, the mayor’s tax-funded fuel card was used consecutively on May 25, minutes apart.
Ana wrote in her mail that the mayor’s card was used on May 25 at 8:25am and again at 8:28am. According to Ana’s email, the mayor’s city-issued card was also used on November 9th, while Oscar Leeser was at the city council meeting.
The city auditor’s report has raised questions about the excessive use of the city-issued gasoline cards by current and former city representatives. The audit reports also alleged that the cards may have been used by a spouse of at least one city representative. Ana’s email criticized that audit report for not pointing out the alleged uses by the mayor.
We asked the mayor’s office for comment about his city-issued fuel card and an explanation for the May 9 consecutive gas card usage as alleged by Ana.
Oscar Leeser Does Not Have A City-Issued Gas Card
In an email response to our questions, the mayor’s office disclosed to us that “the mayor does not nor has ever had a city-issued fuel card.”
We asked about the May 25 use of the city-issued fuel card as alleged by Ana in her email.
According to the mayor’s office, “a fuel card was issued…specifically, to an El Paso Police Department officer who is responsible for fueling the vehicle used for the Mayor for official city business.” Explaining the consecutive use of the gas card on May 25, the mayor’s office responded that “at 8:25 a.m. they fueled 14.1 gallons and a few minutes later at the same pump at 8:28 a.m. they fueled 5.8 gallons.” According to the statement, it appears that “they stopped filling prematurely” and “reset and finished fueling the vehicle.”
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Mayor Loaned Car To City
We asked the mayor if the vehicle being fueled was his personal vehicle or a city-owned vehicle. According to the response we received from the mayor’s office, Oscar Leeser “has one vehicle on loan to the City of El Paso to be used to drive him for official business.” The statement adds that “the Mayor pays for all services on his vehicle, and the police department fuels the vehicle and records mileage for each trip on official business.”
Leeser owns the Hyundia of El Paso dealership.
At least three ethics complaints have been filed in relation to the use of city-issued gasoline cards. To our knowledge, none have been filed against the mayor.
The city’s Ethics Commission is set to hear the first complaint next week. The hearing for the ethics complaint filed against Cassandra Hernandez by George Zavala is scheduled for July 19 at 5:30 in the afternoon.
No word yet on the status of the two recently filed ethics complaints against Alexsandra Annello and Brian Kennedy.
Stay with El Paso News as we continue to bring you the lates on the gasoline card controverises.