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Federal Investigation Into NCED Continues, I-Team Uncovers Documents

EL PASO, Tx. – The ABC-7 I-Team uncovers important new developments about the status of the on-going Federal investigation into the National Center for Employment of the Disabled (NCED)now known as Ready One.

ABC-7 haslearned that as of Friday night, Ready One Industries, NCED and the company’s former president Bob Jones are not formal targets ofthe federal investigation.

Mr. Jones was leading thethe organizationwhen it imploded earlier this year, forcing the company to lay off hundreds of workers.

TheFBI tells ABC-7 that they cannot discuss who the targets of the investigation are.

As for the broader investigation, federal investigators are still working tonight to determine if any crime was committed.

Federal investigators say all of this is liable to change as they continue to piece together the evidence in this case. Also wrapped up in all of this isthe Ysleta school district.

YISD voted back in 2004 to allow what was then a subsidiary ofNCED, Access HealthSource,to administer the district’s health insurance program. The I-Team has uncovered documents that show us how much money changed hands between elected officials and business leaders before some of those big decisions were made.

In 2004, when theYISD board voted to accept a bid from Access HealthSource to manage healthcare for thousands of district employees and their family members, Board member Mickey Duntley voted for it.

In early 2005, Mr. Duntley was running for re-election. During that campaign, he took in $1200 in campaign contributions from Marc Schwartz, aconsultant for NCED and Access’ parent company.

Later in 2005, the board was considering whether or not to replace Access. At that time, Mr. Duntley voted to stop the search. At the same meeting, he also voted against taking legal action against Access.

ABC-7 caught up with Mr. Duntley Friday at the dedication of a new cafeteria at Desert View Middle School. He declined to talk on camera, but did say he has known Marc Schwartz for 20 years or more.

While Mr. Duntley declined to speak with ABC-7, District superintendent Hector Montenegro was more willing to talk.

Forthe first time, Mr. Montenegro went into specifics about what questions he faced from a Grand Jury in San Antonio last week. Montenegro also downplayed the significance of his summons.

Mr. Montenegro tells ABC-7, “The process for purchasing, and bidding, and going forth…but it was just a formality.”

While the relationship betweenYISD and Access has yielded huge problems for the district, at least one board member says he opposed the contract from the beginning.

Wayne Belisle tells ABC-7, “I never felt comfortable from the very beginning that the bid process was straightforward andI felt seriously that we needed to get the process back open and keep board members out of it as much as possible…”

According to Access, one of those hospitals that could benefit from theYISD contract is the Las Palmas-Del Sol System, which is listed as one of Access’ network hospitals.

Accessaddsthey have had a very successful 20-year relationship with YISD, saying they have “kept health costs down for their customers.”

Even with all the on-going investigations, no one mentioned in any of the documents obtained by the ABC-7 I-Team has been charged with any wrong doing.

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