Government

County Attorney Declines Our Request Seeking Opinion From Texas Attorney General

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: commissioner1@epcounty.com
County Commissioner 2 David Stout: commissioner2@epcounty.com
County Commissioner 3 Iliana Holguin: commissioner3@epcounty.com
County Commissioner 4 Carl L. Robinson: commissioner4@epcounty.com

We request that you send them a quick email asking them to intercede on your behalf as a taxpayer of the community.

The Letters

The original letter we sent can be downloaded from here.

4 replies »

  1. Seems like this is a perfect opportunity for a current politician with ambition and eager to seek that earned media to jump on and be a champion of transparency…but they’re all too lazy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. They probably don’t want to act because they are either complicit in what is going on or at least are aware of it and complying with your request will embarrass or expose them. Sadly more evidence that El Paso is destined to forever be a third rate city run largely by incompetents. Too bad our population is either too stupid or too disinterested to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I just sent this email. Feel free to use and modify to your own words. We really need to know what happened with the recent, negligent deaths and who is responsible!

    I wanted to write to you regarding my concerns for the transparency that is needed at El Paso Children’s Hospital (EPCH). I am disappointed in learning the county attorney has declined to seek an opinion from the Texas attorney general. The recent, negligent deaths at the El Paso Children’s Hospital is very upsetting and it would appear there is no accountability for the deaths. The citizens of El Paso should, and need to know how safe our hospitals are, especially for the younger and vulnerable who don’t have a voice. El Paso citizens also have the right to know how our tax dollars are being spent. Please work to ensure there is complete transparency and the open records law will allow the public to explore what is going on at EPCH.

    How you plan to get the information to El Paso citizens? Who is responsible and accountable for the negligent deaths at EPCH?

    Concerned Citizen,

    Like

  4. @Concerned Citizen. We already know who is responsible. A dangerously incompetent doctor, and a hospital administration so focused on money that not only would they grant him privileges beyond his capabilities but also give him a seat in the C-suite to stroke his giant ego.

    Like

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