Oh No – Not More Connecting the Dots

quien-eresAs many of you know, the nexus to my blog is connecting the dots between the many issues facing the community today with individuals with questionable characters that were involved in criminal activities previously. Bob Jones is a good example of someone, with a questionable past, that was held up to a high-esteem by members of the El Paso elite and government officials. Many individuals pointed to Jones’ history of running from piling debt in Houston only to land in El Paso. Because the highfalutin in El Paso proclaimed Jones a pillar of society those pointing out that there were problems with his character were summarily dismissed with “prove it” or shut up!

Once Bob Jones’ criminality was too big to ignore, the same politicos, holding him up as a member of the high and mighty in El Paso, ran for cover. Many of them disappeared as Jones was sent to prison, however none of them have questioned the downtown redevelopment projects that Bob Jones supported, many of those projects were part of the public policy agenda currently being supported by Veronica Escobar and cohorts.

There are many individuals, like Bob Jones, who were once pillars of society and now are in prison or recently released from prison. Larry Medina comes to mind as an example of an individual that was instrumental in pushing forth Veronica Escobar’s public policy agenda that she inherited from Ray Caballero.

Most of us know, or have dealt with someone that has crossed the criminal divide. Depending on the circumstances, many of us distance ourselves from them or at the very least make sure; we understand that they are not to be trusted. Most of us would question using a criminal as a partner or a confidant. When it comes to public monies those advocating and supporting its expenditures must be scrutinized in order to understand the agenda driving their advocacy.

Veronica Escobar has been critical of public corruption publicly decrying it and even signing a pledge to keep corruption out of government. Yet, in many aspects, the issues she is involved in are tainted by questions of integrity. The El Paso Children’s Hospital is a poignant example of this.

Most everyone understood that the El Paso Children’s Hospital was economically unviable. Yet, the El Paso Children’s Hospital had many prominent advocates pushing forth the need for using the public’s money to fund it. Today, the El Paso Children’s Hospital is in bankruptcy with Escobar and advocates proclaiming “shock” and blaming everyone but themselves.

Of course, those that were saying that the economics of the El Paso Children’s Hospital were untenable were proclaimed “children haters” and yet today, Veronica Escobar ignores the public discussion of the children’s hospital that advised against it.

This is very much like the business model for the University Medical Center (UMC) clinics, that Escobar is pushing forth using your money. The takeover of the criminal system being push forth by Vince Perez and his cohorts is yet another example. When the questions about their viability and the need for the taxpayers to “invest” in these projects are brought up, their questions are glossed over and the public is inundated with advocates proclaiming that this latest scheme is the best thing for El Paso, since apple pie, or empanadas, as the case may be.

Today, those of us that argue that the clinics are not economically feasible or that the reformation of the bail bond process is bad for El Paso are dismissed as being against El Paso progress. Just as Larry Medina served to push forth various public policy agendas that have hurt the community so are other individuals advocating for other public policy agenda items that are not feasible for the community. This is why it is important to look at the individuals working to push forth today’s community debacles under the guise of advocating for an El Paso future.

One way to do that is to connect-the-dots between various individuals. Veronica Escobar likes to proclaim that she is fighting for a corruption free government yet she has no problems working closely with criminals, or using them for pushing forth her agenda. Larry Medina and Jaime Abeytia are just two examples.

One of the biggest advocates for the El Paso Children’s Hospital and the University Medical Center has been Sam Legate. A frequent reader to my blog asked me a simple question some time ago, why is Legate so involved in these issues? Does he do it for the love of his community, or for other reasons?

Those are good questions that I believe deserve an answer. As a result, I started doing some research on him to try to better understand his motives. As I researched him I came across one of his law partners; Victor Bieganowski.

In 1996, Arthur C. Bieganowski was arrested for medical fraud. At the time, he owned five medical clinics providing pain management services. According to the indictments, Arthur Bieganowski’s fraud involved soliciting accident victims, submitting fraudulent bills to medical insurance companies and money laundering. The crimes occurred between 1989 and 1996, according to the court records. Arthur Bieganowski was sentenced to 14 years for money laundering and five years for mail fraud. Arthur Bieganowski was also ordered to pay $23 million in restitution.

If you happen to read the court documents you get to learn about multi-million dollar bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and shell companies, including one in Cd. Juárez. There is so much international intrigue in El Paso that I am constantly surprised no one has written a novel or produced a telenovela.

Additionally, I previously reported to you that Arthur Bieganowski was one of Peter Svarzbein‘s campaign contributors. I hope this explains why connecting the dots are important.

You are likely asking yourself, what does that have to do with Victor Bieganowski. Victor is Arthur’s brother. Yes, I understand, a brother’s crime should not be visited upon the other brother. Hang in there, I’m going to tie it all together for you.

Victor Jacob Bieganowski (Bar: 02301100) is one of Sam Legate’s law partners in their law firm. If you happen upon the law firm’s website you will notice that Bieganowski’s profile makes no mention of a previous conviction. Not surprising, but I wonder if it is something his clients would want to know. More importantly, I had followed this case closely for years and the last thing I had heard was that Victor Bieganowski had been debarred, yet here he was listed as an attorney.

After pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud on May 22, 2001 (EP-98-CR-959-DB), Victor Bieganowski was sentenced to 30 months in jail plus two years supervised release; restitution in the amount of $373,538.01, and a fine of $10,000, as well as a special assessment of $100.

The Board of Disciplinary Appeals of the Texas Supreme Court signed a “final order of disbarment” against Bieganowski on May 21, 2002.

In 2010, Victor Bieganowski filed a petition in court for reinstatement as a lawyer. Apparently it was granted.

When Arthur’s case came to its inevitable conclusion, Victor’s case had mysteriously been kept hidden. He pleaded guilty instead of going to trial.

It turns out that Victor Bieganowski was involved in another corruption incident, one where his work as an attorney allowed him to wear a wire for the FBI in a railroad union scam where lawyers paid bribes to union officials for lucrative union legal work.

Victor Bieganowski received a favorable deal for his fraud convictions, according to comments made about Bieganowski to federal attorney counterparts in Houston. Debra Kanoff, you know the federal prosecutor for the recent public corruption cases, was upset that Houston prosecutors were giving Victor Bieganowski a pass because of his cooperation in the Houston railroad union case.

Interestingly, at least one defense attorney, for one of the union bosses that was convicted, opined that it seemed strange to him that the union bosses were threatened while a long list of attorneys, who received lucrative contracts, were given immunity for testifying.

The people who made the money got to walk away free and clear. During Victor Bieganowski’s sentencing, Debra Kanoff made it clear that she felt that Bieganowski had “manipulated” and “lied,” according to the sentencing transcripts. Kanoff wanted a harsher sentence assessed to Victor.

We already know that Victor Bieganowski’s profile at the law firm makes no mention of his criminal past. I wondered what does the Texas Bar Association have to say about their attorney?

The Bar lists Victor Bieganowski as eligible to practice in the State of Texas. Under the public disciplinary section, you know where you are supposed to know about any lapses an attorney has had, it states that “no public disciplinary” record exists for Bieganowski.

In other words, Bieganowski pleads guilty, is debarred and apparently the Bar sees no need to inform you about it.

Now you see where the monkey sees nothing and hears nothing among El Paso politicos comes from. It starts from the lawyers that advices them on the deals that lead to the debacles, such as the children’s hospital and the ones that encourage executive session as a means to discuss public issues away from the public’s ears.

The Bar is nothing more than a club for individuals that game the system for themselves.

Sam Legate was not involved in the Bieganowski affair as far as I can tell. None of the information I have come across in my research so far shows any connection.

However, I am sure that Legate is familiar with the Bieganowski criminal enterprise and therefore it forces me to question why he would collaborate with someone like him. Knowing what I just shared with you about Victor Bieganowski, would you be willing to trust him? Would you be willing to partner with him on a business deal?

Under normal circumstances, it would be nothing more than water cooler talk but in the case of Sam Legate, I want to understand what his involvement is with the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

In tomorrow’s edition, I will share with you what I found in my research about Sam Legate and his involvement in the children’s hospital and UMC.

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