On Friday, May 7, 2021, El Paso Politics received a letter from County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal denying our request that they seek an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s office to determine whether the El Paso Children’s Hospital is subject to Texas’ open records laws. In the letter, the County Attorney cited the 2019 Fallon v. MD Anderson Physicians court case.
El Paso Politics responded to her in a letter earlier this morning.
In our letter we point out three differences between our request and the Fallon case.
El Paso Children’s Hospital, unlike the non-profit in the Fallon case, is dependent on the University Medical Center (UMC), a taxpayer funded entity which is subject to the open records laws, to remain in business. We believe that the children’s hospital cannot operate without UMC.
The second issue we addressed in our letter is that unlike the non-profit in the cited court case, the owner of the children’s hospital is UMC. In the Fallon case, the court noted that the owner of the non-profit in that case was an individual that was not paid to perform their job.
However, as we noted in our letter, the owner of El Paso Children’s Hospital is UMC and not an individual. We also pointed out that unlike the nonprofit in the court case, UMC is liable for the finances of El Paso Children’s Hospital as shown by the 2015 bankruptcy.
Finally, we pointed out that the non-profit in the cited case was issued an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s office.
We do not believe that is the case for El Paso Children’s Hospital.
We Need Your Help
It is a sad reality that elected officials are unlikely to act on behalf of the taxpayers of the community unless they see substantial interest from the voters on an issue.
If you value transparency in how your taxpayer funds are spent, we ask that you send an email to your elected officials asking them to intervene. Although they are being copied in our correspondence, none have shown an interest in this issue because we believe they likely feel that the voters are not interested.
Here are the email addresses for the County Judge and County Commissioners:
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego: countyJudge@epcounty.com
County Commissioner 1 Carlos Leon: firstname.lastname@example.org
County Commissioner 2 David Stout: email@example.com
County Commissioner 3 Iliana Holguin: firstname.lastname@example.org
County Commissioner 4 Carl L. Robinson: email@example.com
We request that you send them a quick email asking them to intercede on your behalf as a taxpayer of the community.
The original letter we sent can be downloaded from here.