“We can get marisa [sic] to run interference before that board gets taken over. Month to month crisis management and legislative advocacy. 13,500 per month, 6 mos contract. Let’s talk. Mark”
As much as the useful idiots try to spin this text message the facts are these:
A lobbyist, Mark Smith sends a politician, Armando Rodriguez a message telling him that he, Smith can get “marisa” a State Representative to “run interference”.
Let me connect the dots for you.
The players are Forma Group, Woody Hunt, Marisa Marquez, Mark Smith and the Citizens for Prosperity PAC.
On my blog post “Who is The Forma Group” on June 6, 2013, I introduced you to all of the players, except for Marquez.
You will remember that Ricardo Armendariz is listed as the President of the Forma Group. Armendariz was the person that sent the follow up email to Armando Rodriguez in regards to Mark Smith’s text. Smith, for his part used to work for Hunt and lists Hunt as a client in his lobbying business.
In fact, according to the lobbying reports filed by Mark Smith at the city he has the following clients from October 2012 through October 2013; Forma Group, LLC, Investment Builders, Inc., Hunt Family/Companies, Inc. and IBI, Inc. I wasn’t able to track down who IBI, Inc. is however they are involved with the ArtSpace project that was recently rejected for a tax credit allocation.
Hunt Family and Hunt Companies, Inc. are obviously related to Woody Hunt. Investment Builders, Inc. is a company that does business with Hunt companies and recently partnered with Hunt on a development with the Housing Authority. Mark Smith works with the Forma Group and as you saw on previous blog it is the entity that Hunt and other Citizens for Prosperity PAC members give money to on behalf of the politicians they support.
Also as you will recall in 2007 Woody Hunt formed Citizens for Prosperity PAC. According to an El Paso Inc. article the PAC had decided not to give money directly to the candidates it supports. Rather their contributions go directly to the “Forma Group and attorney Mark Walker”.
According to the Texas Ethics Commission, from February 6, 2008 through January 2, 2013 the Forma Group handled at least $1.5 million. Of that, the Forma Group handled about $154,429 for Marisa Marquez, or about 10% of the total money Forma Group had to work with.
During that same period, Woody Hunt contributed $25,500 to Marisa Marquez.
So now we have a political lobbying company, the Forma Group that managed a substantial amount of money for Marisa Marquez, a PAC that tells its political contributions recipients that it will only give the contributions through the Forma Group, a lobbyist that is connected to Forma, Marquez and an arguably wealthy individual who formed the PAC and contributes to political causes; Woody Hunt.
So what does Woody Hunt have to say about public corruption?
On June 20, 2009, David Crowder published an article titled; “Woody Hunt, other business leaders think corruption has crippled competition, contributed to the poverty in El Paso” in the old Newspaper Tree.
Crowder quotes Woody Hunt as stating;
“Then the service provider begins to try to manage the process in a way that is not competitive and is not transparent and tries to manage the outcome through campaign contributions or financial transfers.”
Hunt, according to the article, refers to service providers as many “businesses here [that] are providers of goods and services to local school districts and the city and the county governments and have become dependent on public contracts for survival”.
Crowder wrote that Hunt’s thesis was “that corruption has contributed to and may even be responsible for the high level of poverty” in El Paso.
As you connect these dots I ask you again, am I the only one that sees anything wrong with Smith’s text message?