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New report on El Paso representatives’ use of taxpayer-funded gas cards

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The internal auditor released its findings report Wednesday. Last week, the audit found inconsistencies in taxpayer-funded gas cards.

The new report found irregular gas card usage by the representatives for Districts 3 and 6 in calendar year 2022. In that year, Cassandra Hernandez represented District 3. She is still in office. Claudia Rodriguez represented District 6 in 2022. Her seat is now occupied by Art Fierro, who brought up the issue to council last week.

According to the findings report, the gas card used by the District 6 representative recorded $5,293.94 in gas purchases. "Based on the amount of fuel being purchased, the frequency of fuel purchases on consecutive/same days, and the type of fuel purchased... the data indicated 2 or more vehicles are being fueled," the report stated.

As for District 3, the report found that gas card was likely also being used to fuel two cars. In calendar year 2022 the card was used to buy $6,691.49, according to the report. It goes on to recommend the gas cards be eliminated and replaced with a fuel allowance that will be refunded to representatives' paychecks.

The report shows that former District 1 Representative Peter Svarzbein did not charge anything to his gas card. District 2's gas card records $2,397.19 in purchases. District 4 spent $754.24. District 5 spent $1,543.85. District 7 Representative Henry Rivera spent nothing, according to the report. District 8's gas card was used to pay for $1,076.20 in gas. The mayor's office paid $1,260.16.

The Financial Oversight and Audit Committee will meet Thursday to discuss the findings and next steps.

"It has come to my attention that the committee is allegedly utilizing the internal auditor department to attack minority members of city council by cherry-picking gas card expenses. I strongly condemn these actions, which are not only woefully irresponsible but also cliquish and cornering," District 3 Representative Cassandra Hernandez told ABC-7 in a statement.

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Brianna Perez


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