On Wednesday, I discussed the issue of Sam Legate and conflict of interest. Yesterday I delved into Jim Valenti‘s part in this mess. Today, I want to delve a little into another individual intimately involved in the El Paso Children’s Hospital debacle – Rosemary Castillo.
Before I get into that, I want to comment on what I see as the continued malfeasance of the El Paso news media. The fact is that the El Paso Children’s Hospital is in bankruptcy. It was significantly funded by taxpayer funds. There are various public officials either not answering questions or feigning ignorance about the debacle. Yet, the news media sits idly by regurgitating self-serving statements of “I’m shocked” to “I didn’t know” to my favorite, “it is in litigation” and therefore no one can comment.
I guess investigative reporting is dead in El Paso and the news outlets are nothing more than the public relations extensions of those involved in corruption, spending your money or both.
Taxes in El Paso will continue to be suffocating because the news media is incompetent. This does not let you, the none voter off the hook, but the news media has a role to play in a Democracy; to search for illusive information and demand answers of public officials.
Technically, Sam Legate and Rosemary Castillo are not public officials and therefore they can shrug off answering questions of the news media. Veronica Escobar, on the other hand, is a public official and she should be answering important questions. Simply allowing her to shrug off important questions with being “shocked” or “not knowing” is incompetent, especially when some of the major architects of the fiasco worked closely with her.
Rosemary Castillo, like Sam Legate, was involved in the El Paso Children’s Hospital fiasco from the moment the funding scheme was conceived to when children’s finally filed for bankruptcy. As a matter of fact, Rosemary Castillo is currently the chairperson of the bankrupt Children’s Hospital.
Like Sam Legate, Rosemary Castillo advocated and approved the funding mechanism for the children’s hospital while on the UMC board.
This brings us squarely to Veronica Escobar.
As I previously shared with you, in March of 2007, Veronica Escobar attempted to have the bylaws changed for UMC to increase the terms of the UMC board. At the time, she was opposed by Anthony Cobos. Although Rosemary Castillo was termed out, Veronica Escobar, nonetheless, tried to appoint her to the UMC board as her nominee.
Castillo had been previously appointed to UMC’s board in 2001 by Dolores Briones. Yes, that is right, the same Dolores Briones that plead guilty to public corruption. You see why connecting the dots is important. Let’s did a little deeper.
In January of 2007, there was some controversy because Anthony Cobos proposed a change a the 2004 policy that allowed UMC to spend money without getting approval by the County Commissioners beforehand. The 2004 policy was implemented at the request of Jim Valenti.
Cobos wanted to have UMC ask for approval from Commissioners Court on any expenditure over $100,000. Rosemary Castillo, UMC’s chairwoman at the time told the El Paso Times “we are really taking a step backwards.” Castillo added, “It will come at a time when we are moving ahead with $140 million in projects for the renovation and expansion of the hospital.” [“Cobos wants county say on big contracts at Thomason”; David Crowder, El Paso Times; 01/28/2007]
Remember what else was happening in 2007? The bonds for the children’s hospital were being debated and went to the voters, later that year.
The acrimony that resulted from Cobos’ attempt to give county commissioners more oversight over UMC meant that he would not be reappointing Rosemary Castillo. Instead, Veronica Escobar wanted Castillo to be her appointment.
Veronica Escobar said of Castillo, “She will bring a lot of stability, a lot of experience, a lot of integrity” to Thomason, now UMC. Castillo’s appointment was defeated on a three to two vote with only Dan Haggerty supporting Escobar. Luis Sariñana and Miguel Teran voted along with Cobos to block the appointment.
Fast forward to today and Rosemary Castillo is at the helm of the El Paso Children’s Hospital that used taxpayer monies as startup capital and is now in bankruptcy. Veronica Escobar feigns ignorance to the bankruptcy, although someone she held as someone that would bring “stability,” “integrity” and “experience” is at the helm of the failed hospital.
How is that even possible?
More importantly, continue to tie all of the dots together. Look at Jim Valenti’s role in all of this. Look at Sam Legate. And look at Veronica Escobar’s role as well. All of them are connected. All of them have been involved with children’s from the very beginning.
And no one knows there were problems? No one told Veronica Escobar that children’s couldn’t pay their bills all of these years?
Sam Legate has run for cover. Jim Valenti has escaped public scrutiny. Rosemary Castillo is hiding behind “litigation” and Veronica Escobar knows nothing.
Do you really believe that everyone can that incompetent?