Monday, December 3, 2012


We all now know the claims that Tony Martinez signed a lease with Fila Vela was all lies.  My hats off to Montoya for concocting the lie.  He knew it was a lie, and he knew fools would run with it.  I am certain he is laughing his head off.

But now it is time to deal with the truth.  The COB is clearly in negotiations with Fila Vela for space.  In principle I support Fila Vela having an office within city hall.  The COB gets millions of dollars in  direct and indirect federal aid.  Our grant writers will clearly benefit from having Vela's office in the building.  Allowing local elected officials that kind of access to a congressman is invaluable.

BUT,  the congressional rules do govern remodelling - and they are strict.

"Can I pay for improvements in the office space?

You can pay for certain kinds of improvements. The MRA can be used to pay for minor office repairs and cosmetic changes to the office space. For example, you may pay for installing new carpeting and painting the walls. The MRA cannot be used for capital improvements, such as repairing heating/air conditioning units, installing or removing a wall, building an addition, or installing a bathroom. Feel free to call the Administrative Counsel at 202-225-6969 with questions about proposed improvements, including security-related improvements."

I am making the proper inquiries.  Unfortunately I am depended on the mercy of the COB to answer an open records request related to the remodelling.  The real question is, can a congressman approve remodelling to a to be leased property before the lease is approved?  If he cannot Fila Vela has problems.

Look, while I would love for Fila Vela to have an office in city hall, I do not want it in violation of the law.  It would be a clear violation of their duties as commissioners to not demand answers which address the above issue.  It will not serve Brownsville if Fila Vela gets hit with an ethics violation from the get go because of back door dealings with the COB.

I am waiting on verification about a purchase by the COB, before I post the evidence of back door dealing by Tony Martinez.  I believe the source as to the story, and I have already verified the connections, I just have not seen the evidence of the purchase.  Once I get that evidence, I will publish the story.

If I were Fila Vela, I would consult a real attorney at this time - meaning not himself or Tony Martinez.  Internal COB documents exist concerning this issue - if he agreed to pay for illegal renovations in violation of the rules  before the lease was approved, Vela has a hole lot of problems ahead of him.  This story needs to pushed an investigated.  The other question is, can Vela agree to pay  for renovations before a lease is approved - can he agree to accept free renovations  before a lease is approved.  All of these questions will be answered by lawyers who work for the office which approves leases.


Patricia A. said...

Wouldn't there be a legal distinction between Vela directing the improvements after a handshake agreement versus the City pursuing the lease, Vela explaining what he needs in a space, and then the City making the decision to remodel in order to improve their chances of leasing the space to Vela?

Patricia A.

BobbyWC said...

Excellent question - thanks -

This is what I know - I have negotiated leases as both a tenant and a lawyer for a client. The final lease includes an understanding of the improvements needed for the lease to go through - it is in fact part of the lease agreement.

Under the congressional rules it required preappoval - that did not happen - in fact the lease must now include the costs of those improvements and who is paying for them or are they free -

This was done all wrong

I am certain the city manager directs remodelling all of the time without commission approval - so long as the costs are under $35,000 he can act on his own.

But in this case it was part of a lease agreement which he committed the city to without preapproval - now at the city level no big deal - but where Vela gets in trouble is not seeking preapproval of the improvements as a condition of his lease. Lets see what he discloses in the final lease he sends to the congressional offices responsible for approving such leases.

Again - thanks for a thoughtful question

Bobby WC