The El Paso Ethics Review Commission heard evidence yesterday in the ethics complaint filed by George Zavala against Cassandra Hernandez in a hearing that lasted over six hours last night. Much of the time was spent on procedural questions raised by Hernandez introducing new evidence that the commission had not received prior to the hearing.

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Hernandez introduced redacted personal financial records to support her defense that the use of the city-issued fuel card for personal use was incidental instead of intentional. Hernandez asked the Commission to keep her evidence confidential because it included personal financial information. At issue is that George Zavala is visually impaired and the lateness of the evidence presented by Hernandez made it impracticable for Zavala to review the new evidence while keeping the information confidential.

After retiring into Executive Session to review the new evidence offered by both Hernandez and Zavala, the Committee accepted the new evidence and ruled that the evidence presented by Hernandez was already redacted and thus would become part of the public record. Zavala was provided an opportunity to review the evidence introduced by Hernandez.

Hernandez testified that any use of the taxpayer-funded fuel card that may have benefited her family was incidental and not intentional.

Under questioning, Hernandez admitted that she has authorized her husband to use her card. Hernandez told the commission that her husband helps the family out by fueling their vehicles.

Several Commissioners focused their questioning of Hernandez on the ethical issues of allowing her husband to use the city-issued fuel card.

The Commission adjourned the hearing until 5:30 today.

In addition to receiving more information about the use of her fuel card while the couple were allegedly in Vancouver during the hearing scheduled for later today, the Commission asked the city manager to make available Edmundo Calderon at the hearing today. Jeremy Jordan was also asked to be at the hearing today to testify to the Commission. The Commissioners intend to rule at the close of the hearing later today.

The Commission adjourned at 11:47 and will reconvene today.

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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...