Please note that Lopez states the the "trip was not paid for by the City of Brownsville, but rather, by the individual members of the City Commission."
That is not exactly true. The city advanced the money to four commissioners; Tetreau, Portillo, Villarreal and De Leon for the trip commencing 9/22/2015. It was AFTER my Public Information Request and blog article about the trip of 9/23/2015 that the commissioners reimbursed the city for all or a part of the monies fronted for the trip.
Lopez continues in the letter: "The records show that a number of meetings were originally set up for members of the Commission with various federal officials and agencies. . . . . Many of these meetings were unexpectedly cancelled after the tickets were purchased because of the pope's visit."
|Perry Finney Brody, Chief of Staff for|
Representative Filemon Vela
Subject: RE: DC Trip-Delegation Information
Attached is the itinerary. We only have three meetings scheduled-FCC, EDA and Septime Webre. Please note:
FCC: Hopefully, the FCC will not decide to close like many other agencies are planning to do. Their office is not far from the area where the roads are closed, so it is a possibility.
EDA: The Department of Commerce is now closed on Sept. 23 because of the pope. Most people will not be in the building on Sept. 24 but Barrett Haga has kindly offered to come in and meet with the Brownsville delegation.
DHS: will not have anyone available to speak to the delegation Wed or Thurs because they will be helping with the pope's visit. They would be happy to meet a different week or do a conference call later.
FEMA: Commissioner de Leon and I had a conference call yesterday with Jason Nelson of FEMA and I forwarded to him materials Jason sent me. I think he is going to review them and then circle back with me.
|Commissioner Cesar de Leon|
De Leon also included a memorandum sent to City Finance Director Lupe Granado, detailing his work for the city during the trip. De Leon states that on 9/22 he "met the Department of the Secretary of State to discuss border issues and the new Consulate of Matamoros." On 9/23: "A meeting was held with FCC officials, at which time other officials were conferenced in to discuss high speed internet and a grand for BISD." 9/24: "Met with the Department of Commerce officials to discuss grant opportunities and Economic Development. Met with the Hispanic Caucus and Congressman Filemon Vela."
9/25: "5:30 am Return Flight back to Brownsville. Attended a meeting with MPO upon my return."
|Commissioner John Villarreal Attends|
Villarreal reimbursed the city for his $486.11 plane ticket. Commissioner Jessica Tetreau reimbursed the city for $974.56 including $466.20 for airfare, $508.38 for hotel, paying with check #3618. Commissioner Deborah Portillo reimbursed the city for a $437.20 plane ticket.