On November 8, the City Ethics Review Commission voted 6-0 to reprimand former City Rep. Claudia Lizette Rodriguez for abusing her gas card privileges, thanks to a complaint filed by Tom Laign of City District 6.
The El Paso Taxpayer Revolt has obtained a copy of the Letter of Reprimand that was presented to Rodriguez on November 20 and attached it to this report.
The Commission found that Rodriguez violated Sections 2.92.030(1) and (7) of the City Ethics Code, precisely as Laign alleged in his complaint:
“The evidence presented to the Ethics Commission showed clear and convincing evidence that you did use your position as a City Representative to secure unwarranted privileges for yourself. Moreover, the evidence showed that you did use the fuel card for your personal benefit and therefore there was an intentional misuse of the city issued fuel card.”
In other words, she stole gas from the City and robbed the taxpayers.
ABUSE OF THE CITY FUEL CARD
Rodriguez purchased 1,459 gallons of gas in 2022 totaling $5,294, including 10 separate purchases in November (at the height of her unsuccessful campaign for reelection).
We know that she purchased both regular and supreme unleaded, indicating gas was pumped into at least two different vehicles.
We know she was admonished for purchasing gas in Pecos, Texas in 2020 but went on to purchase gas in Van Horn, Texas on two separate occasions: May 22, 2022 (15 gallons) and August 11, 2022 (19 gallons).
We know she purchased gas four times on consecutive days, and on November 28 she purchased gas twice on the same day: 15 gallons and then 21 gallons.
We also know that Rodriguez filled up her tank on her last day in office, this past January 2. One for the road!
On May 7, 2023, more than four months after leaving office, Rodriguez posted an Instagram video in which she defiantly lashes out at her detractors, calling Chief City Auditor Edmundo Calderon a “prosecutor” and attacking the “corrupt process” of FOAC, which she claims is “politically motivated.”
At the 6:45 mark, she displays two cashier’s checks–one for $3,000 and one for $2,300 (amounting to what she spent on gas in 2022) and declares: “I am prepared to pay [back to the City] the full amount if someone can show me again where I did something wrong.”
Now that Rodriguez has been reprimanded by the City Ethics Review Commission and found guilty of serious ethical violations, will she give the City the two cashier’s checks as she promised in order to reimburse the taxpayers, as Rep. Cassandra Hernandez did when she was caught red-handed committing similar violations?
Inquiring minds want to know!