As I already showed you in yesterday’s post, Jim Valenti, CEO of UMC was hired, in part, because he agreed to support a freestanding children’s hospital funded through UMC. Part of the political rhetoric that is being created is that the politicians did not know the extent of the financial problems at children’s. Jim Valenti reports to the County Commissioners in order to get their approval for his budget, funded with your money. Part of the budget process includes forecasts about revenues and other sources of funding. As the CEO of UMC, Jim Valenti has a fundamental duty to inform the County Commissioners of potential problems with revenues in the budget.
In 2010, Jim Valenti was an ex-officio board member of El Paso Children’s Hospital. In 2011, Valenti was a board member. In its 2011 tax form, the children’s hospital reported losses of $22,943,314. As we now know, UMC has alleged that children’s owes a significant amount to it.
Which master was Jim Valenti serving when he reviewed the El Paso Children’s Hospital financial statements – the children’s hospital, or you, through UMC? Schedule O, of the tax return, states “all voting members of the board” receive a copy of the “final” tax return.
Jim Valenti, either received the report and did not understand it, received the report and did not read it, or read it and did nothing with the fact that children’s was losing money. Either way, it is incompetence or gross malfeasance in regards to his responsibilities to UMC, and by extension, you the taxpayer.
In 2012, Jim Valenti was no longer on the board of El Paso Children’s Hospital. Regardless, Valenti had to have known of the negotiations to restructure the payments arrangements between children’s and UMC. Due diligence in renegotiating payment arrangements is asking why they need to be modified. As a matter of fact, Valenti knew as far back as 2010 that children’s was losing money because he was on the board of the El Paso Children’s Hospital.
Yet, it wasn’t until April 2014, when the UMC board started to publicly sound the alarm of how children’s was not making its payments to UMC, almost two years after it was evident that it was in financial distress. This is when the taxpayers first started to get an inkling of what was going on between children’s and UMC. In July of 2014, Jim Valenti laid-off 56 UMC employees blaming children’s inability to pay what it owed to UMC.
Did Jim Valenti not have a responsibility and a duty to inform the County Commissioners of the multi-million dollar budget hole in their finances since at least 2012? If he did, what was the outcome?
More importantly, why did it take until 2014 to take action and realign UMC’s budget to account for children’s inability to pay?
No matter how you look at the El Paso Children’s Hospital bankruptcy there is one person that had a duty to UMC, and by extension to you. That is Jim Valenti.
Your elected officials, the County Commissioners have the duty to hold those responsible accountable.
Instead, what you are getting from them is that the children’s hospital is the one to blame.
If your child comes home with a note from the school stating that he hasn’t turned in his homework, do you hold your child accountable, or do you blame the teachers for sending home the note?
Are the county commissioners that incompetent, or does Jim Valenti have too many secrets that the commissioners would rather not be publicly acknowledged?
As for the news media, allowing Jim Valenti to get away with self-serving platitudes* only exasperates the problems the community faces. Of course, Valenti will say it is in litigation and that there is not much more he can add. How about asking him directly, when did you know children’s wasn’t able to pay UMC? If he responds, that it is more complicated than that or ignores the question, or even tells the reporter that around 2014, when it all blew up, follow up with his service as a board member of children’s. How hard can that be?
As you can see, the one person who has a duty to protect your tax dollars has been given a pass by the elected officials and the news media. Clearly, now you see where the problem lies.
Tomorrow, I’ll tie in the final players in this fiasco that everyone has so far ignored: Anthony Cobos, Rosemary Castillo, Veronica Escobar, Sam Legate and Jim Valenti.
* I recently learned that word playing a word game and liked it. I am hoping I used it correctly. I am sure the grammar police will correct me, either way.