The Forma Group Operative Revealed

razavi-exposedThose of you who follow the El Paso political blogs know that there has been ongoing commentary about how the Forma Group may be hurting for clients. David Karlsruher alluded to Forma loosing clients on a blog rant about me recently. As with anything Karlsruher writes, I take it with a grain of salt. It is also no secret that Jaime Abeytia dislikes the MaxPower blogger as much as he hates me. Abeytia took to his Facebook page and agreed with everything David wrote, except that he suspects MaxPowers is the Forma Group. For my part, I am the one that began connecting the dots for you between the MaxPowers blog and the Forma Group back in 2013.

As a matter of fact, I have extensively researched the Forma Group and have written numerous articles about their connection to Woody Hunt. As a result, the attack dogs for the Forma Group were dispatched against me in the form of the MaxPowers blogger. I started connecting the dots for you and I came to the conclusion that MaxPowers was the blog for the Forma Group. Although many have opined that I have stated that Ricardo Armendariz was MaxPowers, the fact is that I have written that Armendariz’ company and the MaxPower blog are connected.

I did not conclusively know the name of the author of the MaxPowers blog; I just knew they were somehow connected to Ricardo Armendariz.

Because of the notion that the Forma Group is losing clients, according to the online commentary I am looking forward to reviewing, the 30-day financial reports that should be released later today. Although Karlsruher seems to indicate that the Forma Group does not have many clients this election cycle, I wasn’t ready to believe that until I saw it for myself in the financial disclosure reports.

However, the MaxPowers blogger posted two blog posts on Wednesday that indicated to me that there was desperation at the Forma Group to distance themselves from the MaxPowers blog. When individuals are desperate, they make mistakes. It is no secret that I have been trying to unmask MaxPowers since August of 2013. I was patiently waiting for him to make a mistake.

He did that on his second desperate blog post attempting to distance himself from the Forma Group when he posted the PDF document showing purported emails from Veronica Escobar to him attempting to derail the Oscar Leeser campaign in favor of Steve Ortega. It has been my experience that MaxPowers sanitizes the documents he posts, in other words, he normally removes identifying information from them.

It takes some knowledge of computers to know about the identifying information and how to remove it – the metadata.

All computer files have some type of meta data associated to them. It is easily removed or altered, but it takes a little know how and a willingness to do it.

In this case, the PDF’s author was listed as “Ali Enrique Razavi.” The date the document was created, according to the meta data, coordinated with the time line of the events.

Was Ali Razavi MaxPowers, I asked myself.

To be clear, meta data, although sometimes used in court cases is not conclusive proof unless it has been vetted through a forensic process. I have not done so in this case but I was curious to learn who Razavi was and his possible connection to MaxPowers.

My research proved to be enlightening.

Ali Enrique Razavi is the “Corporate Vice President” of 1SOLTECH, a solar panel manufacturing company in Dallas Texas.

Hold on a minute, what does a solar panel manufacturing company, in Dallas, have to do with El Paso politics? My thoughts exactly.

According to Razavi’s profile on the company website, he worked “for nearly seven years as Chief of Staff for a member of the Texas House of Representatives.”

Interesting, Razavi writes that he worked as Chief of Staff for a state representative yet neglects to mention the representative’s name. Why?

It was Norma Chavez.

Ali was Chavez’ Chief of Staff from April 2004 through December 2009. Guess who was also Chavez’ Chief of Staff? That would be Ricardo Armendariz, principal of the Forma Group. When Razavi was a staffer for Norma Chavez, Armendariz was the chief of staff. When Armendariz left, Razavi stepped up to fill the void.

When I first started looking into the Forma Group, I was told, “Forma” stood for “former staffers of Norma.” I am sure it was a joke but as you can see, the dots were connecting. My research showed that Razavi was the blogger behind MaxPowers but I did not have the proof.

As you know, we live in a litigious society so I set out to try and the find proof.

I sent Ali Razavi an email to his work address asking him for an explanation of why the Escobar document came from his computer. I expected a complete denial, assuming he would bother to answer. Those that have read the MaxPowers blog know what I mean.

As a matter of fact, the first response I got was a request for the documents and an “I am not sure what you are talking about.” Aha! I knew I had him, but I still needed the proof.

Playing dumb, I responded that the document could be found on the blog and I forwarded him the link. I knew he already knew about meta data but I played along, I was on a fishing expedition.

I then received a reply that I did not expect in my wildest dreams! I expected this to be a long drawn out battle to get to the truth but instead he admitted to being MaxPowers!

Of course, Ali aka MaxPowers had to try to discredit me once again so he posted a picture of himself on his blog and Tweeted the post to Veronica Escobar, Jaime Abeytia and myself, as if implying that he outed himself, instead of the truth, that I discovered who he was by researching the data.

The fact is that in his rush to try to distance himself from the Forma Group, because apparently they are hurting for clients after my exposé about them, he made the mistake of not cleaning up his document’s meta data. He then compounded that error by trying to outsmart me. In the end, he proved that in fact, I was right that Ali Enrique Razavi is MaxPowers.

Of course, there remain many unanswered questions about the Forma Group and the politics of El Paso, starting with whether they are losing clients or not. We will get a better indication of their client situation with the financial reports scheduled to be released later today. There are also the questions of Veronica Escobar’s emails that he published on his blog. I will try to address those issues and connect some more dots for you in future blog posts. For now, know that MaxPowers is a useful idiot that ultimately exposed himself because of his inability to act like an adult.

Although Ali denies working in concert with the Forma Group, as you will see in the email exchange, it is my belief that his blog is an instrument for the Forma Group. Whether he is the sole author or one of several others it yet to be determined. However, his connection to the Forma Group is clear as far as a I am concerned. I will let you draw your own conclusions.

Below is the complete and chronological email exchange I had with Razavi.

Email exchange between Martin Paredes and Ali Enrique Razavi:

At 14:12 I sent the following:

Hello Ali,

As you likely know I write the blog El Paso News. In reviewing some documents that the MaxPowers character posted on a blog it came to my attention that the documents he posted yesterday were generated on your computer. I am going to be posting a blog about your connection to the Forma Group in El Paso at 1:00pm ET, about an hour from now.

However, I wanted to give you the opportunity to clarify for me how your name ended up being on the documents.

Thank you,
Martin

Response from Ali at 14:45

Martin,
I am not sure what you are talking about exactly.  If you can forward me the documents I would appreciate it.

Certainly if there is anything I can clarify for you I would appreciate
Thanks!
Ali

I sent him the following at 14:56

Hello Ali,

Thank you for getting back to me. The original document can be found at this link: http://maxpowers.typepad.com/files/gmail—email-blast-1.pdf

The document’s meta data clearly shows that the document came from your computer. Can you clarify for me how that document was created on your computer?

I apologize but I am on a very tight deadline so I need your comments as soon as possible.

Thank you,
Martin

Ali responded at 15:10

Martin,

I am no computer guy.  I don’t know what “meta data” is.  Can you show me that?  Because this is really concerning.

As far as it’s creation, I don’t know.  I didn’t create it.

All that being said, I do enjoy reading your blog.  I cannot keep up with everything going on El Paso, but your blog is definitely one of the better ones out there.

If I can help, let me know.  Again if you have meta data and some time stamp or something this would be extremely helpful.

Ali

I responded to him at 15:37

Ali,

The meta data is found on documents that are created on a computer. In this case it is the PDF document. It is usually found in the “properties” section of the document. In this case, the author is listed as “Ali Enrique Razavi” and the date of creation of the document is April 8, 2015. It was obviously generated from a Google Mail account using the Firefox browser on a Mac computer.

Am I reading correctly that you did not create the document?

Please confirm this for me.

Thanks,
Martin

At this point Ali Razavi posts a picture of himself on his blog.

Ali responds to my email at 15:39 with the following:

Martin,

I am just messing with you, silly goose.

I am Max.  Check out my latest post: www.epmaxpowers.com

Love,
Ali

Ali then sends another email to me at 15:43 with the following:

…it was from my home computer.

Ali

At 16:22, I responded with the following:

I figured, glad you came clean. I’ll be writing about it on my blog tomorrow. I’m sure you’ll have a reply. I will be happy to include any comments you want to make on my post tomorrow. I just need them within the hour as I’m finalizing the write up.

Martin

At 16:46, Ali replied with the following:

Martin,

You can hold me accountable for anything, but to say the Forma Group had anything to do with me would be a lie.

Call Forma Group out for anything else, but me.

Ali

At 16:47 I sent him the following follow up:

Ali,

My research shows that you and Ricardo Armendariz worked together for Norma Chavez. The information you have about El Paso politics comes from insider information. To me there is an obvious connection there. All of the other research shows a concerted effort against certain politicians. To be fair, I am willing to quote you verbatim on your answers to the following questions.

1. Have you stayed in touch with Ricardo Armendariz after December 2009? If so, about how many times generally?

2. Have you ever written a blog post on behalf of someone’s direction. If so, would you identify them?

3. Prior to today, did David Karlsruher know your identity?

4. Have you ever accepted anything of value for your postings on the MaxPowers website?

I look forward to your answers,
Martin

At 18:07, Ali replied as follows:

On all 4 counts, the answer is no.

Regarding Armendariz, he worked for Norma Chavez before I did.  Him and I did not work together.

Anything else?

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