One month ago I filed an open records request with the City of El Paso as follows:

“Please provide me with documentation indicating when and how much 2012 Quality of Life bond money earmarked for the City’s planned multipurpose center (MPC) has been issued since November 6, 2012. Today (6/22/21) the City Manager told the Mayor and City Council that some 2012 Quality of Life bond money, issued in 2016, was deposited in a bank account and has been sitting there for years. Please provide me with the balance in the bank account(s) that is holding 2012 Quality of Life Bond funds earmarked for the planned multipurpose center (MPC), as well as information on when the money was deposited and how much of that money has been spent and on what.”

Yesterday the City’s Public Records Coordinator, Diana Cedillo, provided me with the attached document, which is the most complete and accurate accounting of the City’s “Arena” expenditures to date. Here is what I have learned:

1.  Of the $228,225,000 approved by the voters on November 6, 2012 via Proposition 2 of the Quality of Life Bond titled on the ballot “MUSEUM, CULTURAL, PERFORMING ARTS, AND LIBRARY FACILITIES,” the City Council authorized a bond issuance of $200,000,000 on May 17, 2016.

2.  On June 30, 2016, a total of $67,667,466 was wired into a City bank account in order to pay for “Museum, Cultural, Performing Arts, and Library Facilities,” of which $51,544,364 was earmarked for the multipurpose basketball arena.

3.  Of the $51,544,364, a total of $16,419,024.49 has been spent, including $13,034,204.76 for the “Arena Footprint” properties, $2,248,545.41 for project consulting, and $742,266.32 for architecture and design.

4.  Of the $52,544,364, an additional $5,502,503.95 are committed for a series of specific expenses, including $5,146,761.09 for project consulting, $244,322 for demolition, and $17,755.86 for architecture and design.

5.  Thus, of the $52,544,364, a total of $35,125,340 has been sitting unspent in a bank account since June 30, 2016–more than five years–and the City has paid at least $5 million in bond interest on that sum.

6.  So between expenditures and encumbrances (committed funds), the City has lost $21,921,528.44 on a project that has not even begun and whose future is uncertain, plus more than $2 million in litigation costs.

Keep in mind that on May 24, 2012, the City Council earmarked $180,000,000 for the “Arena.” City law provides that 2% of that must be spent on public art, so only $176,400,000 can be spent on the “Arena” structure since $3.6 million are reserved for twirling eggbeaters, gigantic yellow doors, etc.

The City recently revealed that $128,455,636 from Proposition 2 of the QOL bond have yet to be issued.

In conclusion, the City has only $154,478,475.60 remaining to spend on its “Arena”, although comps for 15,000-seat multipurpose basketball arenas indicate that the structure cannot be built for less than $500,000,000.


1.  Where will the City find an additional $350,000,000+ million to pay for this abomination?

2.  How did the City manage to spend $2,248,545.41 and commit another $5,146,761,09 on “Project Consulting”? That is a total of $7,395,306.50!

3.  Whom did the City pay $742,266.32 for “Architecture and Design,” with another $17,755.86 committed, and what exactly has been designed?