The Anatomy of the Corruption Con Job

anotomy_bidsFor years we have always heard how corruption in El Paso is rampant and the corruptors always seem to get away with it. Some celebrated when the much touted public corruption cases were launched in El Paso in 2004. Many celebrated as politicians and businessmen were handcuffed and led off to jail. And when the hoopla died, many were sent to prison. However, the rumors persist; the corruption still goes on. The whispered conversations about corruption continue because the truth is that it is all about the spectacle and the cleansing of the undesirables to keep the rabble-rousers at bay. It was never about doing away with corruption it was only about keeping the anger in check lest the community rises up and demands; enough is enough.

The local media, led by the El Paso Times, will publish tidbits; just enough to proclaim “we did something” so that they can showcase paid-for awards in their trophy cases. Oh, they will proclaim we fought for your right to government transparency with after-the-fact stories like the EPISD scandal only after it is safe to do so. Or the Bob Jones fall-from grace only after he is no longer able to keep them at bay with trickle-down largess from his corrupt ways. The business community, for its part, bestows “whatever-of-the-year awards” to people like Bob Jones to prop up the corruptors before the community so that they may also partake of the trickle down economy in order to survive.

The politicians will tout government transparency whenever the public is angry enough for them to care but will hide behind rhetoric and outright lies to protect themselves from community scrutiny. Assertions of “this time it will be different, just trust us” emanate as they dump thousands of dollars to well-placed benefactors to force new taxes upon an overwhelmed taxpayer. When that isn’t enough, they create “oversight committees” staffed with favorite “civic activists” that are nothing more than paid wolves in sheep skins.

When challenged they will print out indignant public announcements, after public announcements of “how dare you” think we would do such a thing! They will rely on a bought-and-paid for media and when that fails, on a media too ignorant to understand that the statements by the government officials are not unchallengeable statements of truth but rather should be challenged every step of the way.

Unfortunately for them the community isn’t stupid therefore they will always point to a “transparent bidding system” that can’t be gamed or the civic activists that aren’t playing their part that are labeled as nothing more than “crazies” without any proof who do nothing but harass those that “care for the community”.

You ungrateful community” they gleefully proclaim as they cash the taxpayers’ check at the bank.

Today I am going to dissect just one of many instances where all of the above came to be, and more, so that you can see how the corruptors con the system. I will show you through incontrovertible facts how the El Paso Times covers its collective ass to pretend they are the protectors of your liberty while protecting those who feed its revenue stream.

I will show you how some of the largest companies insulate themselves through scapegoats to pretend they do everything for the love of their community. I will show you, through facts, how so-called pillars of society game the system for their benefit as they feed at the public money trough filled by hardworking taxpayers who are chastised for daring to say; “please not one more tax dollar” because, frankly they are so overwhelmed feeding the corruptors with their sweat that they are resigned to accept a “a dollar hotdog night” at the latest playground for the rich as better than nothing at all.

Today you will see a detailed description of how the corrupt con works from beginning to end, not from innuendo or rumors but directly from the facts collected as evidence for court. For those that will most likely challenge the facts as I lay them out here for you, I urge you to read the complete case file for: United States of America v. $400,396.58 et al. (Civil No. EP-11-CV-170-FM).

As you read this account of corruption keep in mind the names of each individual involved and how each ties into the ballpark fiasco.

I have laid out this account in a timeline fashion so that you can easier understand how the con is developed, processed, enabled by outside forces and rhetoric, and finally allow you to connect the dots between the many parts that are integral to the con job.

2002

In September 2002, EPISD superintendent Gilberto Anzandua was ousted by the EPISD Trustees and Charles L. Tafoya, an EPISD administrator, was appointed interim superintendent. Anzandua was ousted, and paid his annual salary as settlement, because he was blamed for the failure of EPISD’s $350 million 2000 bond election. Tafoya was appointed superintendent on January 2003.

2003

Many of you will remember that with much fanfare and proclamations of “transparency” and fiscal discipline, Charles Tafoya began to talk about the need to sell bonds for much needed EPISD projects. At the time that this bond was being presented to the community; developing trust in the community was paramount to the successful approval of the bond, according to Tafoya and the proponents of the bond. Generally everyone agreed that the district’s last bond election had failed because of a lack of trust in the district by the community.

Such was the distrust in EPISD by the community that the school district formed the 2003 EPISD Bond Oversight Committee and Bond Accountability Advisory Committee to help calm the fears.

According to the court documents, Charles Tafoya and Sal Mena “conspired to appoint Luis Mata” to the Bond Oversight Committee that later was renamed the Bond Accountability Advisory Committee. According to public records, Mata was appointed Chairman by Tafoya. Almost immediately EPISD was embroiled in controversy with the upcoming $207 million bond election slated for October.

Late in July 2003, a letter was sent to various EPISD vendors asking for help in the upcoming October 4, 2003 EPISD bond for $207,435,000. On August 4, 2003, I wrote about the controversy generated by this letter. If you will recall, the letter sent out by the “El Paso Independent School District Political Action Committee” asked “leading EPISD vendors to contribute a minimum of $5,000 to help defray the costs” associated with the election and the “Media Blitz” ensuring the passage of the bond. I wrote many posts questioning the integrity of the committee and Luis Mata himself.

In fact I wrote “Just Say ‘NO’ To The EPISD Bond” on September 15, 2003 asking voters to turn down the request for money, precisely because of the lack of transparency from the trustees, the superintendent and especially Luis Mata. I was labeled a “child hater” and “selfish” and just another “crazy” impeding the city’s push forward.

The letter was controversial because each letter to each individual vendor included the amount that particular vendor had been paid by EPISD the previous year leading many to speculate that although the school district was prohibited from lobbying for the passage of the bond, it had somehow passed on a list, complete with totals of vendors to be targeted. It should be noted that some business owners felt “extorted” by the letter.

Everyone, from the superintendent, the school board and the Bond Committee disavowed the letter but neither would publicly call for an investigation in regards to it. Once the bond monies were approved by the electorate on October 4, 2003 the 2003 Bond Oversight Committee was renamed the EPISD 2003 Bond Accountability Advisory Committee.

Its purpose was ostensibly to ensure the construction projects promised to the voters were “built on time and within budget”. The committee was supposed to scrutinize change orders on behalf of the taxpayers.

The EPISD Trustees also created a Trustee Construction Committee made up of Carlos “Coach” Cordova, David Dodge and Sal Mena to “review” the Bond Accountability Advisory Committee recommendations.

Shortly after all of that, and according to the court documents, Victor Mendez, a CF Jordan sub-contractor met with Paul Bauer, Executive Vice-President at CF Jordan and Adrian Peña at the offices of CF Jordan. Adrian Peña reported directly and worked for Paul Bauer. The meeting was requested by Bauer and Peña, according to Mendez.

It is also important to note that in El Paso, a sub-contractor is very dependent on the contractor he works for, for his livelihood. I would argue that Mendez derived most of his income, if not all of it from his work for CF Jordan, making him dependent on CF Jordan’s “goodwill”.

The court documents detail that Paul Bauer told Victor Mendez, at that meeting, that CF Jordan is “trying to get our foot in the door with the district”. Bauer is quoted as adding; “the only work out there for us, right now, is schools and city”.

I recently wrote an article on how labor-intensive creative firms such as architects and engineering firms are highly dependent on public entities to stay in business in El Paso. In 2008, Paul Bauer stated to a trade magazine that “private work is kind of slow” pointing out that financing is difficult in the private sector.

Now back to the con; at the meeting with Victor Mendez, arranged by Bauer and Peña, Mendez agreed to introduce Adrian Peña to EPISD trustee Sal Mena.

Sometime later, Victor Mendez, using the friendship between Bernardo Lucero, vice-president of the architectural firm Lucero Melendez Architects and Sal Mena arranged a meeting between Peña and Mena at the Vista Hills Country Club. From there a relationship developed between Sal Mena and Adrian Peña as they spent time together including traveling to Las Vegas and San Antonio at Peña’s expense.

Shortly after the EPISD Bond was accepted by the voters in October, EPISD trustees started planning on how to handle the new construction as a result of the bonds. Publicly the school district stated that it needed to outsource the work because they were incapable of handling it, in house.

They settled on awarding a contract for Construction Manager Agent (CMA). Basically, a CMA is normally a construction company hired to administer and manage a large construction projects on behalf of the client, in this case the school district. On October 14, 2003, EPISD unanimously approved using the CMA scheme to complete the bond projects.

2004

On January 13, 2004 the trustees of EPISD awarded CF Jordan a Construction Manager Agent contract “not to exceed $2.5 million”. Also, that same day, EPISD trustees approved the Construction Manager at Risk (CMR) delivery method for Magoffin.

The Construction Manager at Risk scheme allows the client to issue a centralized contract to manage the construction prior to the design phase being completed. Under this process, a “guaranteed maximum price” is negotiated and the contractor manages most aspects of the project through completion.

The ballpark is currently being managed under this scheme.

On March 3, 2004 EPISD entered into a Construction Manager at Risk contract with Vistacon, Inc. On March 9, 2004 during a meeting of the EPISD Board of Trustees, in a motion made by Sal Mena and seconded by Carlos “Coach” Cordova, the CMR contract for Magoffin was unanimously issued to Vistacon. You will remember that Carlos Cordova pleaded guilty to bribery on another case involving Bear Stearns on November 28, 2007.

Victor Mendez stated to the FBI that he conspired with Sal Mena, Adrian Peña, Bernardo Lucero and Basilio Silva to get work from EPISD via bribery. Basilio Silva is President of Vistacon. According to Mendez’ statements, Sal Mena secured the CMA contract for CF Jordan, and as result of this CF Jordan was prohibited from bidding on the EPISD projects. CF Jordan had already negotiated its fees for the 2003 Bond projects and was also in charge of managing the delivery of the projects.

Referring to the Magoffin school project, Adrian Peña told Victor Mendez that “Basilio’s gonna get this job” prior to any official process to award the Magoffin job had been completed.

According to the court documents, Sal Mena told Victor Mendez that he’ll get “something” out of the jobs because Mendez has “Adrian (Peña) and me (Sal Mena) on your side”.

Victor Mendez had submitted a bid for the Magoffin project, along with V&R Drywall and Diversified Interiors. Although VMI, Mendez’ outfit was usually more expensive than the other two competitors vying for the business, Adrian Peña had already told Victor Mendez that the “ranking of the vendors was rigged for VMI to be awarded the contract”.

Although the general perception has been that public projects are usually awarded to the “lowest responsible bidder” the addition of “responsible bidder” makes the award subjective. Those who follow city hall and other government awards of contract will notice that “points” are awarded for many subjective items that rank bidders not only on the price but also on subjective items selected by the governing bodies. The lowest bidder does not always get the contract. As an example, last week city council like many times before spent considerable time trying to come up with a formula to award points to bidders for “being local. A few years back, city hall started awarding points to companies for offering health benefits to its employees.

There are many criteria that are imposed on different bids and these change from bid to bid or from administration to administration. Those that have bid on government contracts will tell you that they feel the point systems are designed to favor certain vendors over others. The most common one is a vendor who has prior experience with the public entity receiving points for the experience while new vendors who have never worked for a public entity are immediately at a disadvantage. The other common one in the construction industry is the “bonding capability” of the contractor.

Because of the stringent financial and experience requirements for large bonding capacity, only large well established firms are able to meet that requirement, thus many local El Paso contractors are immediately subservient to the larger well established ones, forcing them to work as subcontractors instead of as the prime contractors.

In the Magoffin case, “safety” and “prior experience” were gamed in favor of Mendez. At the time of the Magoffin bid being processed, Diversified Interiors had “over 500 employees”, while V&R Drywall “employed approximately 160 employees”. Victor Mendez’ VM Interiors only had “12 employees”.

Although sealed bids were required, in order to maintain the integrity of the process, and the bids are not supposed to be changed after they are opened, Adrian Peña, working on behalf CF Jordan, told Luis Mendez that he was “$100,000” over the other two bidders.

Peña told Mendez, “We have to change the numbers” and told him to come over. Keep in mind that as the Construction Management Agent, CF Jordan controlled the bid packages. Although V&R Drywall had submitted a bid substantially lower than the other two and enjoyed “a good reputation as a drywall provider”, Peña reasoned that he would argue against awarding the bid to them because their low bid “demonstrated V&R Drywall’s inexperience”.

You should note that at this point VM Interiors wasn’t even the lowest bidder but the scheme had already devised a way to dump the lowest bidder because of their low bid. The only thing left; was to change the numbers, illegally, for Mendez’ bid in order to justify the awarding of the bid to him. According to the court documents Mendez was awarded the contract shortly after his numbers had been changed.

Although V&R Drywall filed a complaint with EPISD, ultimately they were informed that they did not understand “that the bid selection is not based on price alone but on the point system”. As part of the cover up, the court documents show that “Peña arranged for C.F. Jordan staff to draft” a letter for Mendez to use in defending why he should be awarded the contract.

At this point, it is CF Jordan’s fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the school district and as a result of that to find the best cost-effective completion to the project under its care. The lowest bidder should have been awarded the contract, and it should have done nothing to favor, or help one vendor over another.

Mendez was awarded the contract at $854,000. V&R Drywall had bid $649,900 to do the same job.

The court documents also detail how a cooperating witness (CW-1) that had been working for the FBI since April 2010 reported acts of collusion between Adrian Peña and Basilio Silva from around late 2003 or early 2004. From the narrative, it appears that CW-1 worked in some function for Basilio Silva because according to the witness, he was handed a “blue binder” by Silva at a meeting he had at Vistacon, where Adrian Peña was also present. The narrative goes on to state that the blue binder was to be used to “to assist Vistacon with a CMR contract with EPISD”. The witness was told that “no one can find out about” the blue binder, or “Peña would be terminated from his employment”. The blue binder contained the bid documentation for CF Jordan’s CMR contract with the Clint Independent School District.

The witness states that he witnessed Peña’s many communications and “decision-making” involvement in Vistacon’s handling of the Magoffin project. The witness provided several copies of emails to the investigators.

According to the documents, Victor Mendez was expected to pay Sal Mena $7,000 for being awarded the sub-contract work. Mendez told Adrian Peña that “$7,000 is nothing…for the amount of money he would profit from the job”.

The documents also showed that Sal Mena actively intervened to expedite payments to Silva from EPISD.

The Luis Mata Connection

Throughout this whole timeline, starting on October 17, 2002 and through March 23, 2007, Luis Mata received $75,050.98 in monthly checks from CF Jordan, ranging from a high of $11,518.56 on December 19, 2003 to a monthly low of $1,000 starting in 2005.

Who is Luis Mata? You will remember that Luis Mata was appointed to the two EPISD Bond Committees ostensibly to safe-guard the interests of the taxpayers. The court documents clearly point out that the US government could find no evidence that Luis Mata was ever an employee of CF Jordan, and yet CF Jordan was paying him monthly.

Luis Mata has been heavily involved in the El Paso political scene and starting in 1996 was involved with the El Paso del Norte Tejano Democrats. In fact Luis Mata has been living off of the taxpayers since April of 1978.

From April 1978 until January 1991, Luis Mata worked for the Texas Department of Agriculture. Between 1991 and 1994, Luis Mata worked for US Representative Ron Coleman. From December 1994 through August 31, 2005; during the time he was also receiving regular checks from CF Jordan, Mata worked for the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission.

On September 1, 2005, Luis Mata went to work for the Texas Department of Insurance making $64,872 as of the last public record available. As of February, of this year it appears that he is still drawing a taxpayer funded salary from that agency.

2005

In July 2005, the Federal Bureau of Investigation started an investigation of construction contracts at EPISD. According to the court documents, this particular “scheme” started in October 2003 and ended in November 2008.

In July 2005, a wire tap between Adrian Peña and Luis Mata established that Luis Mata was acting as the go-between, between Peña and Sal Mena. The wire tap further revealed that Paul Bauer, through his secretary Robin Bustillos, authorized Luis Mata “to make arrangements” for Sal Mena’s “gratuities”.

In another wire tap on November 15, 2005 it was established that CF Jordan’s executive management “authorized Mata’s compensation and directed his activities”. During this intercepted telephone conversation, Mata questioned his CF Jordan payments and before an answer could be heard, Adrian Peña directed Luis Mata “to answer the other line”.

2007

In May of 2007, the FBI sent letters to various individuals telling them that their telephone calls had been monitored. One such individual, Adrian Peña told the El Paso Inc. on May 21, 2007 that he was “baffled about why the FBI would tap his phone”.

2009

In 2009, Adrian Edwardo [although the media reports his middle name as Edward, his legal middle name is actually Edwardo] Peña was arrested and charged with two public corruption indictments alleging that Peña paid bribes to El Paso County Officials for a multimillion dollar construction project for his “former employer”. According to legal filings Peña had worked for CF Jordan until 2007.

During the time that Peña was facing these public corruption charges and before going to prison he was working for his father-in-law Carlos Nuñez at SDVO Contractors, LP. SDVO was involved in a civil and criminal litigation in Arizona that, in some instances and according to the court documents, included Adrian Peña.

On February 18, 2009 Sal Mena pleaded guilty to two counts of the seven counts he was charged with. The court documents state that “he confessed to soliciting and receiving bribes from vendors, including Adrian Peña on behalf of C.F. Jordan”.

2010

On December 6, 2010, Adrian Peña signed a plea agreement where he admitted to public corruption involving the County and CF Jordan, not for his actions outlined herein. Peña was sentenced to 76 months in prison, three years of supervised release and fined him $250,000.

2011

In April 2011, Jose Gallegos was sentenced to 24 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Additionally he was fined $50,000. He had pleaded guilty in December 2010 acknowledging that he and Adrian Peña had conspired between May 2002 and July 2007 to pay $13,000 in bribe money to an EPISD trustee.

On April 29, 2011 the federal government filed a “Verified Complaint for Forfeiture” seeking the forfeiture of $3,110,776.38 from eight bank accounts, seven at GECU and one at WestStar Bank. This filing was a result of an October 1, 2010 seizure warrant issued by United States Magistrate Judge Robert P. Mesa. The accounts were held in the names of Vistacon, Vistacon, Inc., Basilio Silva, Elsa Silva, the Silva Vistacon Familiy Partnership, LP., and three Irrevocable Trusts that were in the name of Basilio and Esther’s three children.

On July 19, 2011, Luis Mata and Esther Mata filed a claim against the US government asserting that they had an interest in the three Irrevocable Trusts under the names of the three Silva children. The total amount of the three accounts was about $213,086.90.

The court documents include a highly detailed forensic examination of the bank accounts held by Vistacon and Basilio Silva’s family. It details how the government arrived at the profit margins enjoyed by Silva.

The forensic examination showcases a transaction between Bank of America and GECU in the amount of $525,000 conducted within days of each other that was “an act of laundering” the money, according to the investigators. The forensic analysis goes on to show various other instances of what appears to investigators to be money laundering of illegal proceeds.

According to the court documents, Vistacon profited “$1,023,151.00 on the Magoffin” project. The same documents detail another conspiracy involving Sal Mena, Adrian Peña and Basilio Silva for Brown Middle School. In that scheme, Silva’s business, Vistacon made a profit of $1,653,268.00 by abusing his contract with the school district and substituting sub-contractors after the fact to “cushion” his profit margin.

In total, the US government estimated that Silva made an illegal profit of $2.6 million from the two school projects.

2013

In January 2013, El Paso city council awarded a $40.2 million Construction Manager at Risk (CMR) contract for the ballpark to a joint venture comprised of CF Jordan and Hunt Construction Group, an Arizona based company. CF Jordan is the same company that was awarded the 2003 EPISD Bond Construction Project under the Construction Management Agent (CMA) scheme.

In June 2013, the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the guilty pleas of Adrian Peña. The basis of the appeal was that Judge Montalvo would not accept Peña’s guilty plea unless he resolved a civil case involving him, the DSVO case. The appeals court found that requirement to be unfair to Peña, and this vacated his guilty plea.

On June 19, 2013 the claims by Luis and Esther Mata for the $213, 086.90 to the Irrevocable Trusts were dismissed pursuant to a Stipulation and Dismissal agreement.

On July 25, 2013; the Silva’s and Vistacon entered into a Stipulated and Settlement Agreement with the United States government. The Silva’s agreed to forfeit $1.1 million and one-third of the interest that accrued after the seizure and before the release of the monies; $10,125.00. Of the original $3,100,776.38 seized by the government, the Silva’s and Vistacon were allowed to keep $2,010,776.38 and two-thirds of the accrued interest; $20,250.21. It is important to note that as part of the agreement, the Silvas, Vistacon and the government agree that the Silva’s “expressly denied” wrongdoing.

On August 12, 2013; Paul Foster, a partner in the El Paso Ballpark team, announced that he had formed a new company merging CF Jordan into a new entity named; Jordan Foster Construction, LLC. The three partners in the new company were announced as Paco Jordan, Paul Foster and Darren Woody, a long-time partner in the former CF Jordan.

For its part, Vistacon continues to do business with the city of El Paso. In fact it was issued a $1.5 million contract in January 2013 for “Minor Construction, Repair, Rehabilitation or Alternation of City Owned Facilities”. Vistacon was selected from the ESC-Region 19 Cooperative Purchasing Program, a bid board. Among the criteria used by the city are that “Vistacon Ventures is located in El Paso”, thus a local business and that the vendor’s “prior experience” do to prior work at Fort Bliss, under the name of Vistacon, Inc. was factored into the decision.

A note about the El Paso Times

On September 15, 2013, the El Paso Times ran an article titled “US awarded $1.3 million in EPISD bribery case”, authored by Adriana M. Chávez. According to Chávez’ article, the settlement between the government and the Silvas’ was approved in “late July”. Chávez also wrote that the “federal government was recently awarded $1.3 million” from the forfeiture money “tied to a construction company accused of fraudulently obtaining contracts by offering bribes to an El Paso Independent School District trustee”.

She adds that Judge Frank Montalvo “ordered Vistacon Inc. President Basilio Silva and others with the company to hand over about $1.1 million”. Chávez also added that in “June, longtime El Paso political activist Luis Mata and his wife, Esther, agreed to drop their efforts to oppose the government’s plan to seize three accounts they controlled totaling about $213,000”.

Public perception is based on information presented as facts by the news media, however and unfortunately the El Paso Times article is rife with statements generating inaccurate perceptions about what transpired. Reading the paper’s account you would think that the Silva’s handed “over about $1.1 million” to the government and that “longtime El Paso political activist Luis Mata” dropped their efforts to oppose losing three accounts “they controlled totaling $213,000”.

In fact, what happened was that the government had already seized $3.1 million dollars and because the Silvas’ entered into an agreement with the government, they were allowed to keep approximately $2 million of that money. I realize that this is overly technical however I point it out as an example of how perception is created.

As another example, the perception that is created by the Adriana Chávez write up is that the $213,000 “longtime El Paso political activist Luis Mata” agreed to give up was, in fact, monies belonging to the three Silva children’s Irrevocable Trusts. In fact, according to the forensic accounting investigation, the three Irrevocable Trusts were for Silva’s three children and the accounts were opened on December 1, 2008. Luis Mata, and his wife Esther S. Mata were listed as co-trustees in the accounts.

The $213,000 was not Mata’s money to give up.

Additionally, I have yet to see any evidence that Luis Mata forfeited any of the $75,050.98 bribe money paid to him by CF Jordan from 2002 through 2007.

Furthermore, the El Paso Times erroneously states that “Mena and fellow Trustees David Dodge and Carlos “Coach” Cordova were also members” of the Bond Oversight Committee. In fact, Cordova, Dodge and Mena were members of the trustee’s Trustee Construction Committee, a separate entity all together. This has yet to be corrected.

The most important thing to notice about the El Paso Times’ article is that although they mention CF Jordan throughout the article, as they were part of the overall conspiracy, the paper neglects to make clear the comprehensive involvement of the company’s executive staff throughout the corruption detailed in the court documents.

The paper makes no mention of the intercepted telephone calls involving Paul Bauer.

This is highly important for the community because of CF Jordan’s direct involvement with the ballpark fiasco and its continued business with taxpayer funded public entities.

Shortly after the arrest of Adrian Peña, Paul Bauer issued a statement stating that “we had no involvement in the circumstances detailed in the indictment”. The statement added that he “was confident that the company acted ethically”. It is in CF Jordan’s best interest to maintain the public perception about their “ethical behavior”; however it is the role of the local media to point out when the statements of anyone are proven to be wrong, especially when it involves public funds.

To allow the perception that Peña acted alone without any support or for the benefit of CF Jordan when there is evidence to suggest otherwise is incompetence at the very least and outright deceitful at the very worst.

CF Jordan clearly benefited and the evidence supports their direct involvement in the scam.

It is important to note that other than the individuals and companies that I have specifically pointed out as being charged with criminal offenses the other individuals and companies have not been publicly charged with crimes.

This is a fact. And this is precisely why community activists are always challenged with “prove it, or shut up”. As you connect the dots, also note the hierarchy of where each individual in the scheme is and who is criminally charged, who is civilly charged and who is mentioned but never held accountable.

This is the reason why many question why only certain people never seem to get caught while others get mentioned time after time and their businesses succeed yet there is just not enough evidence to charge, much less convict them. They remain feeding at the public trough.

The saddest part of what I’ve shared with you today is that this is only ONE example of many, many more that continue to stranglehold your lives. Back in 2003 I was threatened by some of these same individuals with lawsuits for my “slander”. I was chastised for being “crazy” and a “nut job” because I would write about things that didn’t seem right. Because the nature of a conspiracy is to keep secrets it is difficult to get to the bottom of the issue and thus I am always challenged with “you can’t prove any of this”.

Today, there are many questions about the ballpark. Many of those questioning the process are referred to as “crazies” and the news media marginalizes them and outright distorts the truth. It took 10 years to get a glimpse of what really transpired from the 2003 EPISD Bond and how the taxpayers’ were scammed. Even today, the majority do not know what truly happened because the news media either does not report it or when it does it distorts the reality.

Today, we are all “crazy” for thinking that the overlords are only scamming us. How dare we challenge our benefactors with our “craziness”? We will still be “crazy” in the eyes of the scammers and the media when the truth is again revealed and the horde will be working on their next scam in the years to come.

¡Sin vergüenzas!

This is the list of conspirators and companies that have been identified as being involved by means of collusions according to the government’s filing in the court case:

Individuals:

  • Paul Bauer: Executive Vice-President of CF Jordan and Peña’s supervisor. Bauer was also EPISD’s point of contact for the Construction Management Agent (CMA)
  • Jose Gallegos: President of Quest Contracting, he pleaded guilty in December 2010
  • Bernardo Lucero: Vice-president of Lucero Melendez Architects, he pleaded guilty in August 2007
  • Luis Mata: Chairman of the 2003 EPISD Bond Oversight Committee and Bond Accountability Advisory Committee
  • Sal Mena, Jr.: EPISD Board of Trustees member and EPISD construction committee chair, he pleaded guilty in February 2009
  • Victor Inocencio Mendez: President of VM Interiors, Inc. (VMI), he pleaded guilty in August 2010
  • Adrian Peña: Cost estimator for CF Jordan and EPISD Construction Manager at Risk (CMR), he pleaded guilty in December 2010, however the pleas was overturned on appeal and is currently awaiting trial.
  • Basilio Silva: President of Vistacon, Inc.
  • Charles Tafoya: former EPISD superintendent

Companies:

  • CF Jordan: Contractor awarded the Construction Management Agent (CMA) contract to oversee the EPISD 2003 Bond construction projects.
  • Lucero Melendez Architects: Architectural firm hired to design Brown Middle School
  • Quest Contracting: Subcontractor hired by Vistacon for both EPISD projects
  • Vistacon, Inc.: Contractor awarded the Construction Manager at Risk (CMR) contract for Magoffin and the General Contractor (CG) contract for Harry S. Brown Middle School
  • VM Interiors (VMI): Subcontractor hired by Vistacon for both EPISD projects

Author’s note: At 8:08, El Paso time the article was updated to correct typographical errors in the name CF Jordan.

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