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Rep. Hernandez refunds City of El Paso $6,700 for “excessive” gas card use, records show

Representative Cassandra Hernandez
City of El Paso
Representative Cassandra Hernandez

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- El Paso District 3 City Representative Cassandra Hernandez paid the city $6,700 to cover gas expenses incurred on her city-issued, taxpayer-funded gasoline card in 2022.

Rep. Hernandez said in a news release on May 5, 2023 that her "family has decided to pay the City of El Paso $6,700, an amount that covers a year of authorized gas expenses, using personal funds."

ABC-7 obtained a copy of that personal check written on May 5, 2023 through an open records request. In the memo it states it is for "fuel expenses" and the District 3 general fund.

ABC-7 also obtained through an open records request a copy of the City of El Paso's receipt of payment for that $6,700 check. The description of the check categorizes the check as "MISC Revenue - Department of Transportation."

In her news release on May 5, 2023, Rep. Hernandez wrote: "I hope this action effectively resolves any distraction caused by politically motivated attacks."

But an audit performed and presented by City of El Paso Chief Internal Auditor Edmundo Calderon characterized Rep. Hernandez's gas card usage in 2022 as "excessive."

The audit showed Rep. Hernandez accounted for 35% of all fuel purchased in 2022 by council members and the mayor. The audit shows she purchased a little more than 1,943 gallons of gasoline costing taxpayers $6,691.

In an interview with ABC-7 outside City Hall on May 9, 2023, Rep. Hernandez said she could "confidently say" she was the only person to use her city-issued gas card.

But surveillance video exclusively obtained by ABC-7 through a source, who also identified the man in the video, showed her husband fueling up his Toyota pickup truck with more than 17 gallons of premium gasoline.

Calderon also stated in a special meeting on May 11, 2023 that Hernandez's gas card was used in El Paso in September 2022 while she was on an approved city trip in Vancouver.

ABC-7 has made numerous attempts to ask Rep. Hernandez about the surveillance video and her gas card usage, but she has declined to answer any questions.

In addition to paying the city $6,700, Hernandez also advertised a prepaid gas card giveaway on her Facebook page.

She also said in her May 5th news release she decided to return her gas card to the City Manager's office.

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Erik Elken


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