Sunday, September 14, 2008


Who should be the first line of defense against financial fraud against the City of Brownsville? Pete Gonzalez, the Financial Director. If the story I am about to tell is true, the only explanation is Pete Gonzalez is either incompetent or part of the problem. Either way he is not fit to be the Financial Director for the City of Brownsville.

Several weeks ago I rejected the story concerning the alleged accident and DWI involving Charlie Cabler. I found certain claims to be factually impossible, so I rejected the story in its entirety. The reason I have chosen to accept this story is, two of the three whistle blowers were given the option of retirement as opposed to being fired. When you have someone dead to right you do not offer retirement, you fire them. Further, on certain damaging claims one whistle blower repeatedly said he is prepared to take a lie detector test with the FBI. Moreover, one of the two forced into early retirement has been a reliable source of mine in the past. For reasons which are not important, Santana Torres clearly knew who my source has been and in my opinion retaliated against my source for providing me inside information about Public Works.

Anyone within the City of Brownsville with a city credit card is free to hire any family member or friend for any service, whether needed or not, so long as the charge is less than $500.00. No invoice is required. There is no oversight. Anyone with a credit card can ask that a friend charge $499.00 to the card for a $20.00 project. There is nothing in place to prevent this fraud on the taxpayers.

I am being told that the diesel tank at the city landfill is used by cronies tied to directors and entities doing business with the city for use in their private businesses. I am being assured that an audit of the amount of diesel being used at the city landfill will far exceed that which the city could possibly use. The audit should be over the last five years.

Four city employees had to be tested for asbestos exposure. I have been complaining for two years about how certain shipbreakers are allowed to dump at the city landfill without a manifest as to its contents. Basically the shipbreakers bring the garbage which they believe they cannot salvage to the city landfill wherein it is buried.

On a Sunday 4 city landfill employees were allowed to claim overtime so they would have access to the city landfill. They used city equipment to dig up the shipbreaking garbage. Without use of protective gear they removed some $1,000.00 of recyclable cooper left behind by the shipbreaking company. The garbage was left uncovered for some 3 weeks after the workers left the landfill. Contained within the garbage was friable asbestos. The 4 city workers were tested for exposure, but not fired. No one knows if city residents who may have taken their garbage to the landfill during this period were exposed to the asbestos.

The evidence of the event along with receipts for the cooper were shown to Charlie Cabler. The matter was covered-up. The residents who used the city landfill during this period were not warned or provided an opportunity to be tested for exposure to asbestos. Further city equipment used to process this asbestos laden shipbreaking garbage is not routinely cleaned after use.

A safe with $14,000.00 cash went missing from the city landfill. The claim is the safe was stolen by a city employee who is a relative of an Assistant Director. The claim is this now Assistant Director had keys to all of the buildings at the city landfill and routinely gave them to his relative to use. The investigation was stopped and no one was charged with the theft of $14,000.00 of taxpayers money.

Several years ago the city was duped into buying land behind the city landfill from a well known land owner in Cameron County. The city was to use the land to scrape dirt for use in covering the garbage at the city landfill. After buying the land, the city turned over the land to its original owner so that he could charge the city to remove the dirt, rather than the city having its own employees remove the dirt. My sources are saying that it is not unusual for the city to now be charged several times for the same dirt, dirt which belongs to the City of Brownsville.

If you are politically connected workers compensation fraud is permissible. The source is saying it was reported to the Director of Personnel, Lydia Gonzales, that a Public Works employee called in sick claiming he hurt his leg while in Matamoros over the weekend. Several days later when the man did report to work he put in a claim that he hurt his leg at work. Lydia Gonzales was reminded that the man just days earlier called in sick because he had hurt his leg in Matamoros. She took no action against this politically connected individual and authorized workers compensation for a year.

People come to me on a regular basis with stories of public corruption. I am certain many are true, but I reject them because of inconsistencies in the story. In the Cabler DWI case, the claim he lowered his liability insurance to avoid full liability was so stupid I knew it had to be made up.
Number one, the liability is what it is on the day of the accident, regardless of what he may have done the following day. Number two, a defendant’s liability has nothing to do with their liability insurance. If you cause $80,000.00 in damages you are liable for $80,000.00 in damages even though you only have insurance coverage for $20,000.00.

The City Commission needs to conduct a full independent investigation of the whistle blowers claims. If the claims are verified then Charlie Cabler, Pete Gonzalez, Lydia Gonzales, and Santa Torres need to be fire.

And before you naysayers claim they are making these claims up so they can sue, maybe you should know something about the judge made law made by the Republican controlled Texas Supreme Court. Although not in the whistle blower statute, the Republican Justices on the Texas Supreme Court found that even if you are fired as a whistle blower, you cannot sue if the city could have fired you anyway. Given what I know about City of Brownsville employees, it seems to me most if not all have done at least one thing would which justify their discharge. There is no lawsuit forthcoming. These are nearly impossible to win.

If you would like to express you outrage over these claims you can contact your city commissioners by e-mail.


Anonymous said...

Can you clarify something for me? I thought the problem with asbestos was asbestosis, a chronic lung ailment resulting from the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Is this not so? Are there other conditions that result from asbestos exposure? The reason I ask is because absent other conditions then asbestosis, why would they test a person for a chronic lung disease so soon after exposure? Doesn’t it take a while for the body to react to that small particle of asbestos and form scar tissue (if scar tissue is indeed what it does, I’m rusty on my asbestos trivia)? Now, I guess if the victims had not bathed and their clothing had not been laundered they could look for particles of asbestos on their bodies and clothing but otherwise, is there a point in testing so soon? Just asking.
Also, speaking of inconsistences, how is it that Cabler can’t remember hitting a trailer but he knows he hit it tire to tire? I don’t get it. I also don’t get that there is not an issue being made over this. Why don’t we hold our officials to a minimum standard? Maybe we do but none of them have hit it yet. And, if the Herald article is accurate (and there is always room for doubt regarding the level of reporting in the Herald), why is no one apparently concerned that a police sergeant was carrying a message from Cabler to the victim while the beat officer was still taking the report? Doesn’t this make anyone else nervous?
Well I’m full of questions today. Any answers available?

BobbyWC said...

Mescalero - all good questions - I do not know about the time frame as to the exposure - but the question is valid. You are assuming the city knows what they are doing on this issue. It could have been a matter of making sure the body was cleansed - I do not know - but the question is valid.

As to Cabler - I do not doubt he had a selective memory about the accident. My issue was the claim he changed his insurance to avoid liability. Just does not happen. My issue was - 80k in bills and no ambulance called. My issue was why did she wait to go public until after she accepted the 20k - she should have sued Cabler - she chose not to.

Bobby WC