Please Consult With Me First

“In the plan will be the request to have the old board turn the keys over to the new Children’s board on Jan. 8,” Escobar said. “And at that point they’re out of bankruptcy, they’re post-bankruptcy. The Herbers partners people go away, the Jackson-Walker people go away, and they essentially stop – all the money leaving the estate and going to them will stop.” Veronica Escobar  KVIA November 29th.

The County Commissioners and UMC do not like the consulting firm (specifically Mark Herbers) or the lawyers representing the El Paso Children’s Hospital.  They hate them so much, in fact, they have wasted untold tax dollars having their own lawyers dispute practically every filing that they have made for reimbursement.  There are some things that Veronica Escobar ISN’T telling you:

  1.  There are 2 sets of lawyers involved on the County side – One for UMC and one for the County Commissioners.  The fees that the lawyers for Children’s can charge are capped and come out of El Paso Children’s coffers.  The fees that are being paid to BOTH sets of lawyers are coming out of YOUR pocket and are not capped. Do you know how much money you have spent?  Of course you don’t, the County and UMC have not seen fit to tell you. Note:  After publishing this one of our readers pointed out that UMC also has their own internal legal council as well.  So, there are three sets of lawyers being paid.  The only lawyers EPCH has are the law firm they have hired (i.e. they have no internal legal council).
  2. The fees that are being charged by Mark Herber are likewise capped.  As El Paso Children’s entered bankruptcy, all on-going fees had to be reviewed and approved by the Judge.  The amount that Mark Herbers and team are charging the Children’s Hospital was vetted before a judge who felt the fees was reasonable and approved them.
  3. In January, when Mark Herbers leaves, another CONSULTING firm will be put in place until a permanent CEO is found, this one chosen by UMC and the County Commissioners.  To date, no one has stated who the actual person taking over will be or HOW MUCH THIS NEW FIRM WILL CHARGE.  In fact, at that point, El Paso Children’s Hospital will be out of bankruptcy so their bills will no longer need to be approved by a judge and will no longer be visible to any of the tax payers.  The intimation from the County Commissioners is that they will be lower, but we’ll never know.
  4. When Jim Valenti ends his contract next May he’ll walk away with almost $3 million in tax payer dollars.  Jim, who is equally as culpable as the El Paso Children’s Board for this whole debacle.  The Children’s Board, all volunteers, walks away with nothing.  Valenti, who we have shown approved contracts where UMC was collecting money to pay for the bond but was not using that money to pay down the bond, walks away with a hefty retirement.
  5. There are many other lawyers involved in this case.  The creditors have not one but two law firms representing them.  The Judge allowed this with the understanding that neither law firm could charge for the same thing (i.e. both law firms can’t claim the same work and each get paid for it).  Are the County Commissioners going through these lawyer’s payment claims line-by-line to ensure that there is no double dipping?
  6. Finally, who is going through all of the documents, line-by-line, submitted by the El Paso Children’s Hospital?  Is it the County Commissioners or are they using YOUR money to pay lawyers to go verify every item? Are they paying $100 to save a dime?

Oversight in what the consultants are charging is valuable.  Being good guardians of our tax dollars is what the County Commissioners were elected to do.  However, it is not clear that they are doing that. They yell about the amount of money El Paso Children’s is spending without actually telling you how much of YOUR MONEY they are likewise spending.  Will they be as diligent with the charges when it is their own consulting firm working for El Paso Children’s Hospital?


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