WHO RULES CORPUS CHRISTI AND THE COUNTY & HOW?
(This is the story of how an ELITE has built a COTTAGE INDUSTRY with TAX-DOLLARS)!
The CORPUS CHRISTI REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (or EDC for short) was resurrected to its full glory in the late 1990s soon after Loyd Neal was elected mayor in 1997. Representatives of a Power Elite that sit on the board of directors have turned the EDC into their own personal club.
WHO SET UP THE PROCESS FOR THE EDC? AL JONES (from American Bank)
A man by the name of Al Jones, the head of AMERICAN BANK, is believed to have reorganized the process of reestablishing EDC back in the late 1990s. American Bank’s Jones has pretty much operated under the radar over the years. The EDC had existed in other forms in the past; it has ran by various names. However in the late 1990s, Neal, as mayor, was the one that exectuted the political-economic sketch put together by Jones. Neal, being the top face and voice for the city, set in motion the calculated moves so it would be realized, and so it would be fastidiously institutionalized.
Over the fitting span of years, the EDC, whose job is to bring jobs to Corpus Christi and the region, has been very unsuccessful. There is no watch dog organization looking at them; no official oversight on their woeful lack of performance. Yet the EDC is being funded by government entities such as the City of Corpus Christi (who gives them at least half a million dollars – which comes from tax-payer dollars). The EDC is also funded by the Port of Corpus Christi (who gives them at least $200,000). They are also funded by Nueces County Commision (who also spends a fortune of our tax-dollars on them). They are also funded by the Type A board, a board that controls the bond monies and other sources of revenue for the city. The Type A Board gives them (the EDC) funds to finance the specific projects they pitch and put forward to bring in jobs and industry to the area. However, the Type A board reports that they have a terrible track record. “They have flopped and flopped again with the proposals they have brought,” said one member. “This is not rocket science, the EDC has no leg to stand on to justify it being in operation.”
IF THE EDC IS NOT GENERATING JOBS, WHY IS IT STILL IN EXISTENCE?
The bottomline is that the EDC cannot be audited by the city, nor the port, nor the county. Yet it has a few representatives from the government entities such as the city manager of Corpus Christi which it gives marching orders; instead of taking them (EDC) from him. The EDC in the last two or three years has brought in a small number of jobs -- less than one percent, according to our official sources. As one top administrator within the city said: “If you take the jobs they brought in and weigh it against the money the EDC been getting from the city and the port and the county and other sources, one will ask a zero-based question: ‘Why they are still allowed to be in existance?’ To illustrate this point: If an organization is not performing out in the private sector, it would hurriedly be phased out. It’s performance would be gauged by its net-gain or net-lost. Thus, it follows, why is this not-for-profit/for-profit entity still being funded and thus kept afloat by municipal and county dollars?”
The EDC board of directors is composed of corporate represenatives or more endearingly called “Corporate Sponsors.” The minority are appointed by the city and port and county commission. Recently, they were given $10,000 in contributions by corporations in addition to what they are receiving from regional governmental entieies and still have not brought sensible outcomes.
FUTURE BRIDGE (sub-organization) EMERGES – A NEW TIER OR SCAM OF THE EDC?
The EDC has formed a new organizational tier called “FUTURE BRIDGE” (a suborganization). It is being led by the son of the owner of Urban Construction, Chip Urban, that has been a corportate sponsor of the EDC over the years. The only problem is that it is clear that Urban Construction stands to benefit from this spanking new array. This demonstrates how the EDC is constantly reinventing itself in order to relegitimize its survival.
EDC TARGETS OTHER REIGIONAL GOVERNMENT ENTITIES (TO TAP INTO OTHER TAX DOLLAR SOURCES):
The EDC has found cunning yet imaginative ways over the years to extend and widen its influence to various governmental entities as well as non-profit organizations that have a cache of tax dollars. They penetrated and taken control of the Corpus Christi Chamber, the Hispanic Chamber (that was at one time A HAVEN FOR SMALL BUSINESS), the Del Mar Board of Regeants, Corpus Christi ISD, Regional Economic Development Corporation, Port of Corpus Christi and a few others. MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS have been used ass a war chest to negotiate deals for themselves and their associates.
To illustrate this point: About a month ago, the new Executive Director of the Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, Foster Edwards, mysteriously took it upon himself to put a to reorganized the LEADERSHIP CORPUS CHRISTI program – a program that supposedly should train the leaders of tomorrow in business development and so forth in the area. He appointed mostly friends and associates of Mark and Carol Scott (a couple).
Mark Scott is a city councilman; Carol Scott, a school board member. This couple has a history of serving as the leutenants and errand persons for the EDC. James Duerr (Carol’s former business partner and intimate friend), Scott Eliff (CCISD’s superintendent and friend of Carol), Debbie Wingfield (Carol’s business partner and co-ower of KAILO COMMUNICATIONS), and a few other friends and business associates -- all were appointed to sit on the new board of LEADERSHIP CORPUS CHRISTI. As soon as a business and pillar of the community saw the list and decided to decided to resign immediately. He claimed the board seems to have been selectively chosen to maximize the influence of the SCOTTS. He also complained of the lack of diversity. The board did not want to initially accept his resignation because they did not want word to get out that someone was privvy to the exceedingly charged concordat. This board also wanted to put MARK and CAROL AS THE STAR SPONSORS of LEADERSHIP CORPUS CHRISTI.
A source explained: “The person mentioned who turned in his resignation did not want the SCOTTS to be models of business for the community. In fact Foster Edwards (the Executive Director of the Chamber) that the SCOTTS were in his opinion “the worst people that should be picked as role models for the future business of Corpus Christi. This couple in my estimation had the worst ethics and they should not be controlling LEADERSHIP CORPUS CHRISTI.”
THE INFAMOUS COUPLE: MARK/CAROL SCOTT; THEIR CONFLICTS OF INTEREST!
What were some of the conflict of interests hinted above related to the SCOTTS? Mark Scott, who sits on the city council (and owns SCOTT AND ASSOCIATES), recently voted on the city council supporting the venture of Las Brisas Energy relocating to town and being supported resourcefully by the municipality; yet, Mark had a conflict of interest in that his wife, Carol, represents Las Brisas Energy in the region. She is on Las Brisas’ payroll; she is the marketing face and voice for the corporation in this area. In fact if you send an email to LAS BRISAS ENERGY on theinteret, she gets it on her cell phone. To state it in other words, a portion of his wife’s income is coming from Las Brisas Energy and is thus and so contributing to the couple’s mutual financial income. “I feel that this issue demonstrates that the SCOTTS are not very concerned about ethics. How can they be good role models to be used as the focal stars for LEADERSHIP CORPUS CHRISTI.
Carol Scott, while serving as CCISD’s school board president, used the entity’s resources -- CCISD’s buses and employees – in making commercials for Las Brisas Energy. This is exceedingly inappropriate. She is supposed to be a ‘trustee’ of the children and not use their resources to make a profit,’” a teacher said.
THE TYPE A BOARD – AND PERFORMANCE GUIDELINES for the EDC:
To return: the EDC is not meeting performance guidelines, according to members of the Type A board. The Type A Board controls the funds that the EDC uses to finance these companies coming to the area. For example, when the EDC applies for the funds, they have to show a business plan: which states how many employees they will hire and so forth for six months or so. If they do not meet their goals, the Type A board stops financing their endeavor.
The question remains: “If the EDC is not bringing jobs to the region, why do these government and public entities continue to fund them? Again, they get half a million from the city, over $200,000 form the Port of Corpus Christi and a large chuck from the tax-payers of Nueces County since Loyd Neal was elected County Judge.”
WHAT IS THE REAL AGENDA OF THE EDC?
In a nutshell. What seems to be the “real” agenda of the EDC – if it is not generating jobs? Do they exist to get public funds for personal projects and gains? On their website, the EDC – visit www. CCREDC.com – claim they want to keep and bring in primary jobs (or big companies). They are not elementally concerned about small businesses.
Many question remain. Again, why does it follow that an organization like the EDC that has not produced be considered the primary spear and “think thank” for economic progress? Why is it so successful in getting public funds when it seems to be more of a harming agent to the economy than as asset. It has had a negative trickle down effect? Why do the “insiders” (an elite of Corporate sponsors) and those that carry their message (such as the Mark and Carol Scotts and the Loyd neals and the James Duerrs of these world) sit on all sorts of boards such as the Del Mar Foundation, the Tax Appraisal District, the United Way, and so forth? It is clear that those directly involved with the inner core of this movement are benefiting.
Example of the aforementioned are the notorious couple that was cited above – i.e., Mark and Carol Scott. They sit on these boards and get inside information and also on many an occasion get a first stab at getting those jobs proposed. Why did Carol and her company end up representing Las Brisas Energy? American bank? Citgo? Contracts with Del Mar? Contracts with the RTA? This culture of political exploitation of tax-payer bases will continue to exist as long as the general public does not take action.
IS THE NEAL-SCOTT-DUERR NETWORK ABOUT PUBLIC SERVICE OR SELF-SERVICE?
An added issue surfaces: Is running for public office about “public service” or “self-service”? Why would an entity like Del Mar College who is constantly taking money from taxpayers to bankroll its educational and day-in and day-out endeavors decide to give a monstrous amount of money -- 33 million dollars – to Las Brisas Energy being represented by Carol Scott – a corporation that will harm the future of the student population? James Duerr (the failed Republican Candidate for U.S. Representative) sits on the Del Mar Board of Regeants. (When He ran to State Representative, his campaign claimed he and his wife were “pro-life” candidates. It turned out that his wife (Pam Hall – Duerr) had been the MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF SOUTH TEXAS for about 20 years).
INSIDE INFORMATION – WHO BENEFITS FORM IT? The EDC or the public in general? (NOTE: “Inside Information” is more powerful than money)
A supplementary matter: “Does the inner social linkage related with the EDC benefit from ‘inside information’ and ‘fidutiary secrets’?” It appears that the EDC is an “elite club” of insiders whose purpose is not to benefit the public, but to benefit the membership. Their real goal is not primarily to bring jobs for the city and region as a whole, but mainly for themselves. They have build via the code words of “economic development” a COTTAGE INDUSTRY with taxpayer dollars.
Other questions reoccur amidst the talk of outside observers: “Why are some of the most well known business persons so interested in being part of the EDC?” and “Why do certan parties insist the EDC should continue to exist if it is not producing economic growth?”
WHAT IS THE REAL ROLE OF THE EDC SEEM TO BE at this stage?
It has a pattern of operating as if it is a “private” organization funded by public funds. Why do “they” (the deep-seated nucleus of insiders) continue to give rationalizations for its existence if it is to benefit the “private” membership and their handy “runners”?
“It benefits the Urbans and it beneifts the Fultons and the Scotts in getting jobs,” a city employee commented.
Other questions circulate such as “Why are outsiders not getting the jobs like they should,” and “Why are the major jobs mostly given to the the private Corporate members of the EDC?” This seems to be the seminal motivation why this complex political machinery of a club has been kept away from view for so long. It also logically follows that if you have a “private membership” (as the EDC does), it should be funded by “private” – not “public” funds. Why do the tax-dollars of many (public funds) ending up in their bank accounts? Again, the ethical aim of the EDC, since it is funded by our public-dollars, should be to benefit the general public and not first and foremost them.
EDC CORPORATE MEMBERS AND POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS:
The political contributions given to many who run for office seems to stem from those that sit in inner core members of the EDC. So it does follow logically that members inside the EDC can influence and pressure and manipulate public officials, especially if they are predisposed to this culture of exploitation.
Historical evidence seems to suggest the unpleasant conclusion that when the “inner core” (mostly of Corporate business persons) are experiencing an economic dry spell, they can call on those they have bankrolled politically to go out for bonds and certificates of obligation (or loans which the tax-payers will pay in the long run) so that they can built things (and give the illusion of participation from the public of what they want built). The sad truth is that “they” (EDC insiders) make the money.
Recently Memorial Coliseum was torn down by politicians (influenced by the EDC) against a large segment of the public’s wishes. Why? DESTINATION BAYFRONT. The question was asked: “This group seemed to have a plan. Was it for piracy of public property?”
The EDC and the NEAL-SCOTT-DUERR Network is currently asking citizens to think of the things they wan to see built in this land. “It is a manipulative trick. They are really toying with their thoughts. Destination Bayfront is a marketing scam to convince the taxpayers to give them ‘PUBLIC LAND’ and ‘PARKS’ to a so-called ‘non-profit’ group dreamed up by the EDC/American Bank cartel. This is being done also via the efforts of the NEAL-Scott-Duerr Network.
As one activist put it so blantly: “It'S EMBARRASSING WHAT IS HAPPENING IN CORPUS CHRISTI. THE COLISEUM PROPERTY AND two PARKS were GIVEN TO a so-called 'non-profit" group led by Trey McCampbell (chief administrator) of what is informally referred to as the “AMERICAN BANK CARTEL.” It is ANOTHER DIRTY, FILTHY CON game. TELL YOUR CITY COUNCILPERSON NOT TO GIVE these public lands AWAY. It is really going to be public land in the hands of those that run private corporations."
One local business said with righteous indignation: “Anytime the Fultons, Urbans, and Berrys are running out of money, they try and get the public officials they bankrolled in the city or at CCISD to help them built things: e.g., baseball stadiums, areans and so forth. They do not care if these projects bring in money into the community. They built these montrocities, and ‘they’ will never lose money. They built them and they are done. The taxpayers will foot the bill.”
An argument used by a few in the the EDC is the following: “Well, those projects like the arena and the baseball field are might not about making money. They are ‘Quality Of Life’ things that we need. We do not have to generate a profit from them.’ Then why are ‘they’ (the EDC insiders) making money and no one else?”
Las Brisas energy will bring in anywhere form fifty to eighty. The operation of it will use up twice more water than the city is utilizing right now. These points are not being harped on by the Corpus Christi Caller-Times because this publication has been a corporate member of the EDC over the years. Some have described the cited publica;tion as the “mouthpiece” of many of these schemes.
CAN THE EDC PRODUCE MAGIC? IS THE EDC WRITING A MANUAL ON HOW TO MAKE MONEY IN DRY, CHALLENGING TIMES?
Even in challenging economic times, those associasted with the inncer core of the EDC are stil making money. “You have their team at various entities pushing bonds and certificates of obligations. At CCISD we have EDC-linked school board members such as John Longoria and Carol Scott passing bonds to put themselves in a position to give jobs to the Joe Fultons or Urbans of the world,” one political insider shared. “ Carol’s husband – Mark Scotts – sits on the city council and is pushing the same agenda there. Loyd Neal is now the County Judge and is the most dodgy of all. “
Neal is the more powerful (in this ruse) than all of the mentioned public officials put together. Why? Neal as county judge is like the city manger of the county. The County Commission has a Strong Form of Governtment. The city, on the other hand, has a council-manager form of government.
“In the schools the superintendent should have the ultimate power and authority; yet board members Carol Scott and John Longoria seem to have taken the power away from him. These two, word circulates, tell the superintendent how to direct his adminstriation. When the former superintendent Chavez was there, the school board fired chavez because he refused to give them the control,” an insider at CCISD opined.
COUNTY JUDGE LOYD NEAL AND THE “INSURANCE MAFIA”:
At the county level, you have County Judge Loyd Neal hiring his former business insurance business partner Thomas Duran to come in as a specialist to lay the foundation for the group insurance. In addition, Neal even hired his former business secretary as his personal secretary/assistant.
Neal and Duran have a past history of working together in “self-insured” group health insurance projects. When Neal was mayor of Corpus Christi, he voted to break a tie in A MAJOR MATTER BEFORE THE CITY COUNCIL and decided to go along with a “self-insured group health insurance” proposal presented by Duran – expository note: Keep in mind that Neal was his business associate at the time; they were both representing ENTRUST INSURANCE. There was an FBI investigation soon after that undertaking. The “self insured” program currently in the city (whose adoption dates back to when Neal was mayor and was initially sold to the city by Duran) is losing money.
Art Granado (who was mentored by the Scotts), of the Granado Group (insurance), who now is part of the EDC board, is a business associate of Tomas Duran (who before taking the consultant job in the county had been hired at CCISD as a consultant and specialist to guide the spadework for the healthy insurance). Granado ended up getting CCISD’s DISABILITY INSURANCE contract. Granado had no history of working with school districts and did not have a staff to speak of, according to sources.
County Judge Loyd Neal helped appointed Art Granado’s wife (who is currently working for State Representative Tod Hunter) to the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) Board. Her husband, Art Granado, again, has managed to get a contract wit the RTA while she (his wife) has been serving on the RTA board.
CCISD’s Trustee John longoria also serves on the RTA Board with Art Granado’s wife -- Angela Granado. Councilperson Mark Scott is pushing the same”self insured” insurance plan in the city. Why? “If you connect the dots, the ‘self-funded’ insurance being promoted is the specialty of Neal and Duran. (Note: there are two types of group health insurance. One is known as “fully insured” (where the healthy insurance company takes the risk of paying out if there are catastropic losses) and “self-insured” (where the employer takes the cited risk – e.g., CCISD, RTA, City of Corpus Christi).
GATEKEEPERS OF TAXPAYER MONIES OR POWERBROKERS OF SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY?
After passing bonds and adopting Certificates of Obligations (that usually amount in the millions), key politicians of the respective entities become the gatekeeprs of these public monies (for example, Carol Scott and John Longoria at CCISD by controlling the majority of the votes). Questions linger. “ Are there trade-offs involved? Job offerings? Something else? Are they serving in office because of the goodness of their heart or are have they made a business of it? That is, are they public officials networking for profit?”
One thing is for sure: those inside the EDC have managed to benefit both from “inside information” and financially. “What is really the ‘authenic’ role of the Loyd Neals and Mark/Carol Scotts and James Duerrs of this world?” The “public funds” and now “public lands” seem to get to the “right” people.
Finally, zooming in on the Port Commision. “Is the EDC’s Mike Carrel (head of Frost Bank), who sits on the Port Authority, doing the same thing at the Port Commision level? The story never ends as the multifaceted apparatus of the EDC and the Neal—Scott-Duerr NETWORK FOR PROFIT continues to to wipe out competitors and search for new taxpayer funded revenue streams to tap into to keep their operations afloat.”