As much as I try to leave El Paso corruption behind the more it seems to rear its ugly head. Last Sunday I received a seemingly innocuous email imploring me to donate to yet another non-profit scheme. It came into my business email address and like many similar ones it is targeted at me because I own my business. Normally I delete these donation requests as quickly as they come into my mailbox.
But two things stood out for me in this request, the sender’s name – Steve Yellen and that it was asking me to donate to an El Paso thing. I left El Paso almost nine years ago. Yet, I still get donation requests from there because I’m on some list of likely donors. You know those lists that get shared around and around because someone assumes I have disposable income because I happen to own my business. They are deeply annoying to me because although masked in a personal missive from someone to me, it is just a mass-mailout hoping to get a few to bite and give them money.
In El Paso, non-profits are used to force business owners to fund extravagant community excesses to create illusions of prosperity where politicos can bask in the limelight. Non-profits will not admit this, but if you want to succeed in El Paso your name better appear on the donor’s list scoured by El Paso elitists.
The thing that made me take a step back was Steve Yellen sending me an email.
I have never met Yellen, but I know of him, and his wife. He likely knows about me because I wrote many blog posts about El Paso corruption and I am pretty sure my name came up within his circle of friends. You know, the type of people that like to scam other people out of their money by pretending to be altruist givers to the community.
I have been trying to stay out of El Paso politics, aka corruption, because nothing has changed in decades. The same people keep scamming the taxpayers of the city and the taxes keep going up because El Paso voters aren’t engaged.
But I couldn’t ignore the email from Steve Yellen.
I know I’m just a name on his mailing list but the audacity to be raising money as a pillar of the community for something related to the Segundo Barrio makes my blood boil.
So why did it make me angry?
Many in El Paso know Steve Yellen as high-falutin do-gooder for El Paso. It is the persona he and his wife have created.
But like all El Paso, there is corruption somewhere in the mix.
Mention Beto O’Rourke, Veronica Escobar, the El Paso Children’s hospital or schemes like Community Scholars and the name Steve Yellen comes up.
Many readers may know Steve Yellen as a stockbroker.
But not anymore.
You see, Yellen is not a broker anymore, at least for the next year.
But before we get to that. Let’s look at the national attention brought on to Steve Yellen by Beto O’Rourke a few years ago. Yellen was just an El Paso thing until Beto came along. Morgan Stanley probably wasn’t too happy either about the Beto debacle.
In 2013, Beto O’Rourke faced an ethics complaint at the House of Representatives for purchasing Twitter stock in the Twitter IPO. The matter was settled after Beto O’Rourke blamed his stockbroker for buying the stock ostensibly without Beto’s knowledge.
Who was the stockbroker?
It was Steve Yellen.
Not a big deal because that is what useful idiots are for – to be thrown under the bus by politicos like Beto when necessary. But look at taxpayer funded flights of fancy and money raising schemes and Yellen’s name is usually in the mix, or that of his wife.
Steven Tarasius Yellen is prohibited from acting as a broker by FINRA, the licensing organization for stockbrokers, for the next year.
According to the FINRA report, Yellen (#1281663) “consented to the sanctions” for engaging in “unauthorized trading” for a client, among other allegations. The disciplinary report adds that in addition to the unauthorized trades, Steve Yellen again conducted unauthorized trading at a new company after leaving the first one – Morgan Stanley. Yellen also took personal client information from his old firm to the new one without anyone’s authority. He admitted to these allegations.
In other words – corrupt practices.
Yellen was suspended by FINRA for one year starting on November 4 and ending on November 3, 2020. In addition to the suspension, Yellen was fined $25,000.
He was also fired by Ameriprise Financial on January 12, 2018 for violating company policy.
So what is Yellen doing during his one-year suspension?
He is raising money for the Basketball in the Barrio.
That is the email I received on Sunday. You can read it at the bottom of this post.
But it gets worse, Steve Yellen lists himself as “Executive Director; Chief Executive Director Officer” and “co-founder of Basketball in the Barrio”. The Basketball in the Barrio is an El Paso non-profit funded by the United Nations’ Athletes United for Peace via the El Paso Community Foundation.
UN monies are going to an organization that Steve Yellen is involved in. Several others are donating to the organization. The question is, can Steve Yellen be trusted with other people’s money?
But, but there is more. Steve Yellen, along with Roy Brandys, Carlos Alejandro Miranda, and Tracy Yellen is managing a Go Fund Me account for the “Andy Krafsur Memorial Fund”. As of Monday, they had raised about $31,000 of the $100,000 goal they set. According to the donation request page, they are raising the money to help the Krasfur family.
An important old Mexican dictum fit perfectly here: dime con quien andas y te diré quién eres. Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are. Here’s looking at you Veronica Escobar and Beto O’Rourke, among other high-falutin El Paso politicos.
I am sure Yellen regrets including my name in his latest fundraising missive but that is what happens when fundraising is done through impersonal mass-mailings pretending to be personal requests. I have been gone from El Paso for almost a decade now, yet my email address gets passed around from scammer to scammer in hopes that I give them some money for their latest scheme.
Click here to read the email from Yellen.
Click here to read the FINRA report on Steve Yellen.