Sunday, December 14, 2008

BROWNSVILLE - THE CITY BY THE ABYSS OF HOPELESSNESS

I have stayed away from commenting on the Mayor Ahumada check affair because the key evidence is still out. Now that I have had time to ponder the known facts, I am mad that Ahumada, Cabler, Gonzalez, Villalobos, and the Chief of Police are taking us all for fools.

In September I commented on the financial mismanagement of the City of Brownsville under Pete Gonzalez. I made the following comment. "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."
http://brownsvillevoice.blogspot.com/2008/09/brownsville-city-landfill-where-dirty.html
A read of my full comments only serve to demonstrate the complete and total mess created by Pete Gonzalez, and the lack of any meaningful oversight by the City Manager, Charlie Cabler.

It has been over a month since the City of Brownsville first learned about the misapplied $26,000.00 check which ended up in the checking account of Mayor Ahumada. If the reports in the Herald are correct, Mayor Ahumada has yet to categorically deny he or a family member deposited the check into his account. I am not saying Mayor Ahumada or a family member deposited the check. Here are my concerns.

A real journalist or truth seeker asks hard questions. A plant for the Mayor simply reports his defense rather than asking probing questions. The Mayor’s supporters want us to believe that it takes months for the bookkeeping error to show up in the Mayor’s books. Wrong. Only someone devoid of knowledge of bookkeeping methods or someone looking for cover would make such an excuse.

In order for a bookkeeper to eventually catch the mistake, something would have had to have been submitted to the bookkeeper. A bank provides a deposit slip. In a typical business, the business person will submit a copy of the check, the deposit slip, and a note to credit the account of client xyz. Otherwise, how does the bookkeeper know how to apply the money? All Mayor Ahumada has to do is ask his bookkeeper did he or someone in his family submit such information related to the subject check. Mayor Ahumada knows whether or not he or a family member made this deposit. This gets potentially even more interesting in a minute.

There is no doubt in my mind that the day the bank learned of the missing check it checked the video tape of the transaction. They have known since day one, along with DA Villalobos, and Chief of Police Garcia who made the deposit. So what is the delay? It seems to me since day one that between the bank, and Mayor Ahumada’s own bookkeeper they should have been able to clear Mayor Ahumada.

It would further seem to me that if the video tape showed Mayor Ahumada or a family member depositing the check, the grand jury should have subpoenaed the Mayor’s bookkeeper by now. It is simply inconceivable to me that at this point the Mayor and or the DA could not have ruled out the Mayor or a family member.

It is possible that the Mayor failed to follow proper bookkeeping methods in terms of recording the check and deposit. If this is the case, he is probably also looking at a charge of income evasion. This could be the hold up while the feds finish their part of the investigation. I am not saying that the Mayor had anything to do with the events surrounding the check, it is just the known facts suggest something is not right with the investigation. The Mayor by and though his own bookkeeping system has had more than enough time to rule himself out. He has not - this is my concern.

If the Mayor deposited the check, and then made no bookkeeping entry for the money, he certainly will be facing an income tax evasion charge. I cannot imagine how the feds are not involved at this point. There is no other explanation for the delay in announcing the results of the video tape.

The other side could be the feds want to nail a larger group of political enemies of the Mayor and have asked the Mayor, the DA, and Chief of Police to remain silent until they complete their investigation. If this be the case, those who are responsible know they have been targeted. Either way this is not a secret investigation. The perpetrator of this crime knows they have been identified. So what is the delay? One can only hope that because of the involvement of the feds, DA Villalobos will not be able to do a midnight run to Judge Limas for a bogus plea bargain.

Back to the Finance Director Pete Gonzalez - I warned the City Commission back in September that the finance department was in disarray. True to form this City Commission did nothing. Exactly what is it going to take to fire Finance Director Pete Gonzalez and the City Manager, Charlie Cabler? Their incompetence and the City Commission’s failure to act certainly must be an issue in May’s elections.

10 comments:

MsGibby said...

The Mayor has said he has NO record of the check....NO CHECK STUB, no deposit slip, nothing in his records. He searched his files when first notified of the money in his account and had no record of the check. He has already said his family members and associates have no knowledge of it. He has said he honestly does not remember going to the bank the day the deposit was made but he is taking steps to pin down the timeline and provide evidence of whether or not he made the deposit. He has not yet seen the video nor has he been told what it showed. There is still evidence to be gathered. Under these circumstances I would think it best that he keep quiet, especially since the Finance Department has apparently sprung a big leak.

BobbyWC said...

Ms. Gibby, as always your comments do not help the mayor - they make it worse. I want you to reference the date of the article wherein the mayor said "He has already said his family members and associates have no knowledge of it." He has never made such a clear statement - all of his statements have been on the fence.

With his statements being on the fence and not being a categorical denial, it only makes it worse for you to suggest there is no bookkeeping entry. If it turns out the mayor or a family member cashed the check, then your statement will only go to serve a claim of intentional theft and income tax evasion.

This entire case is so bizarre. I refuse to believe that the mayor or one of his political opponents could be so stupid as to believe they would not get caught. Anyone smart enough to get their hands on the check would not be so dumb as to deposit the check themselves.

There are two options. His political opponents paid an idiot who did not know better to deposit the check, or the mayor or a family member somehow covered their ID when making the deposit.

there is just something nor right about this case.

Bobby Wc

Anonymous said...

How is it a tax problem until his taxes are due and he fails to claim the money? If someone gives me $25,000 in cash and I stick it under the bed so there is no paper trail, I don't have a tax problem. If, come April 15th, I then fail to declare the income and fail to pay the tax due, I will have a tax problem.
I'm no friend of the mayor but I think I'm going to wait to hear the final explanation before I have a hanging.
Mescalero

BobbyWC said...

To be clear I am not hanging the mayor - look carefully at my comments.

"I am not saying Mayor Ahumada or a family member deposited the check. Here are my concerns."

"The other side could be the feds want to nail a larger group of political enemies of the Mayor and have asked the Mayor, the DA, and Chief of Police to remain silent until they complete their investigation."

"I refuse to believe that the mayor or one of his political opponents could be so stupid as to believe they would not get caught."

On the income tax issue, you will note I said the feds are holding. I was maybe not as clear as I should have been. The idea is, they are waiting for April 15, 2009to see what he does.

You have to agree that if he did deposit the check, and made no bookkeeping entry for it, a reasonable mind could conclude he is trying to hide it.

Now on the gun issue, while I do not know why he sent such a stupid letter, a reasonable mind could conclude that the FBI has already verified for him he was a target of fraud to discredit him. Under these circumstances maybe getting word out that he has a gun is not such a stupid thing.

My bigger point is, there has been more than enough time to clear the mayor - why is no one talking. If I were the Mayor I would be demanding the results of the video tape be released.

But then again if the FBI is the hold up, the Mayor would be powerless on the issue.

Bobby Wc

MsGibby said...

The point I am trying to make to you is if the mayor DID NOT make the deposit and some unknown entity did, he would have no bookkeeping entry. I can tell you a story that happened to me a few years ago about how I went to my bank to deposit a paycheck with my own preprinted deposit slip that I made out yet the teller proceeded to deposit the check into someone else's account. By your thought process, that other party would be guilty of theft and tax evasion because THEY had no bookkeeping entry for my paycheck. However, the check was quickly traced to the other account and the mix-up was corrected.
As to his failure to categorically deny it, let me put it this way: If someone thinks I did something but I have no knowledge or recollection that I did it and no tangible evidence that I did it, then somebody better show me that I did it. In the meantime I can't categorically deny it no matter how confident I might feel that I didn't because I could be wrong...through no malicious, criminal, or evil intent but just mistaken...but you would have to show me.

BobbyWC said...

Again, I cannot stress enough I am not saying the mayor is guilty. All I did was try and reason out several scenarios. We should know by now who was on the tape.

My point was - if the Mayor is on the tape he will have a hard time convincing people he did not intend to hide the money if he also does not have a bookkeeping entry.

But again, I do not believe the mayor is so stupid as to think this would work. And again I believe a reasonable mind could believe the mayor put out the gun letter after receiving confirmation that he was the target of a scam.

My bigger point is, why have the DA, the police, and the bank not categorically ruled out the Mayor or his family. they have clearly seen the tape by now.

bobby WC

MsGibby said...

I think the biggest difference in our positions here is you are reasoning out scenarios where presumably the Mayor made the deposit, while it is my presumption that he never had the check in his possession and, therefore, never made the deposit. Regardless, so far no one seems to know who or what the video shows and why that is taking so long, I have not a clue and can't even offer an opinion.

Anonymous said...

"I refuse to believe that the mayor or one of his political opponents could be so stupid as to believe they would not get caught."

Come on. People are that stupid every day of the year and sometimes it is people that should have known getting caught was a slam dunk.
Mescalero

BobbyWC said...

I am withdrawing my comments on income tax evasion. My orginal thought process was some type chart of intent to defraud the IRS without actually having filed a falsified document. I was not clear in what I was trying to say - sorry for the confusion

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Every time I read about this, it is sounding stranger…It is like someone is playing “smoke and mirrors”. Mayor "A" is making accusations that some people may have it out for him and may have done this to discredit him…he also, pointed out this may be just a mistake and someone in his family may have accidently deposited the money!!?? So, if the video tape reflects either him or a family member making the deposit, then he can make the case that this was a mistake…or, if the video tape does not reflect who deposited, then Mayor “A” can make the case that someone is out after him. Now, in court, how do we convict anybody on a “Reason of Doubt"? We will have a very difficult time trying to prove “who done it”…maybe that is how it was to suppose to play out...signed, Expatriate