Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Most Expensive Trip in Brownsville History Continues to Cost Taxpayers

Jason Hilts, Tony Martinez Charming Colombians in 2012
With Southmost still not having sidewalks, the "Four Corners" area under water after every rain and downtown still looking like shit, Mayor Tony Martinez and BEDC President Jason Hilts decided in the summer of 2012 to take a taxpayer subsidized, extravagant trip to Barranquilla, Colombia to adopt that Caribbean port city as Brownsville's sister.  Were there a direct flight between the Brownsville/South Padre Island "International" Airport and Barranquilla, Colombia, the trip would be 1,806 miles long, making the faux sibling relationship definitely long distance.

The Brownsville delegation spent a week in Colombia on the taxpayer dime.  None carried a sack lunch or stayed at the Motel 6.  Easily, tens of thousands of hard-earned taxpayer dollars were spent on what was a thinly-disguised pleasure trip.

BEDC Director Jason Hilts
Jason Hilts, who, a dozen years ago, as a BEDC operative, was caught using a city-issued credit card for personal items, including jewelry, was not terminated, but promoted to BEDC's Executive Director.  It's as an anonymous poster keeps reminding us:  "Brownsville taxpayers don't tolerate corruption.  They demand it."

Still footloose and fancy free with taxpayer dollars, Hilts, the architect of the Titan Tire fiasco, decided that traveling to and wining and dining in Colombia on the taxpayer dime was not enough. He talked the mayor into setting up an "office" in Colombia to "promote economic development" between the two countries.

From 2013-15, $197,000 was spent for an office and staff in Columbia, plus Hilts and crew made SIXTEEN urgent trips back to Colombia to check on the progress of economic development.  As we reported in earlier this year:

In the pursuit of economic development for the City of Brownsville, BEDC operatives traveled sixteen times to the exotic destination of Colombia during fiscal years 2013-15.(We've published the full report just below this article.) While typically a combination of Jason Hilts, Gilberto Salinas and Olga Ramos made the Colombia trip, one contingent included as many as eleven.

During those years, the BEDC spent $312,541 of taxpayer monies on travel alone.  Despite the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars spent on the office, staff and trips to Colombia, the office was simply closed without fanfare in 2015. No jobs were created for Brownsville residents. Nothing in the way of economic development ever materialized between Brownsville and Colombia.

Brownsville's CycloBia, Patterned after Columbia's Ciclovia
While in Colombia in 2012, the Brownsville delegation were impressed by a local cycling event, Ciclovia, which they brought back to Brownsville as CycloBia with the "B" standing for Brownsville.  

Under the strong-armed tactics of City Commissioner Rose Gowen, the City of Brownsville promoted the cycling event, purchasing advertising with taxpayer monies, providing bicycles, police and traffic control, etc. While no accurate and total record of expenditures is available, an estimated cost of each taxpayer subsidized event runs between $60,000 and $100,000 with typically four or more events held annually.

Adding the cost of the original, ill-fated City of Brownsville trip to Colombia, the BEDC office set up and staffed for three years, the 16 trips made to Colombia and four years of subsidizing CycloBia, is it not accurate to describe that original trip as the most expensive in Brownsville history?

10 comments:

  1. Tetreau, De Leon, & Portillo need to clean house! These ass wipes party on the tax dollars of the most economically depressed people in our nation. My family and I will not be voting for Portillo if she doesn't speak up against the way we are being taken advantage of. Same for De Leon and Tetreau! Get to work commissioners!!!! We trusted you and you are letting us down!

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    Replies
    1. The mayor thinks of free travel as one of the perks of the office. He NEVER even thinks about the hardworking people who pay the taxes he spends so frivolously. He needs to be recalled, but the sad truth is that most residents don't even know who the mayor is.

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  2. Jerry and Juan Montoya keep posting your stories in an effort to "rehab" your piss-poor blogging performance. Tell them to stop. Tell them you can make it it on your own. They treat you like a fucking stepchild and you think you're an equal. Pity.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Jerry and Juan Montoya keep posting your stories in an effort to "rehab" your piss-poor blogging performance. Tell them to stop. Tell them you can make it it on your own. They treat you like a fucking stepchild and you think you're an equal. Pity."

    Thanks for the kind words, Duardo. My offer remains open. Submit a story of your choosing. After carefully monitoring the grammar, punctuation and spelling, I will consider publishing your story.

    Choose a topic that fits within your wheelhouse: "How to Snag a Tip When the Wait Staff Looks Away," "Best Barber Shop in Kyle, Texas to Get a Bowl Haircut," or "Finding A Heavyset Nurse As a Sugar Mama."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The putz has never been more than an annoying little twit, totally irrelevant.

      Delete
    2. The putz? Is this the same guy Bobby calls the imp? He strikes me as one of those guys if you could buy him for what he's worth and sell him for what he thinks he's worth you could make a ton of money.

      Delete
  4. Duardo's jealousy for attention gets him every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He likely gives this blog 100 pageviews per day, his home away from home.

      Delete
  5. Nothing will happen. Nothing will change. Buisness as usual. The least the Mayor has been disabled and outnumbered on the PUB commitee.

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  6. As long as excrement demoRATAS are in control of our tax dollars the worst results will occur for the benefit of the community. These FU@KING ASSHOLEs ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN LINING THEIR POCKETS WITH THE PEOPLES MONEY!!!!!

    ReplyDelete

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