Thursday, May 11, 2017


By Juan Montoya
After we published our post on the meeting of the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation where City of Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez and City Manager Charlie Cabler made a pitch to have it pitch in and help pay the $22 million debt for construction of the new airport terminal, some readers had some interesting questions.

For one, why was the mayor, even though he was in the gallery, allowed to participate in the discussions? There were already three city commissioners on the GBIC board – chair Jessica Tetreau-Kalifa, Deborah Portillo and Cesar de Leon – and the mayor made it a quorum discussing city business without posting it ahead of time in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Some members contend that it wasn't since Martinez was not sitting on the board, but there is no question that he participated in the discussion from where he sat. Semantics aside, it was a quorum, something that is strictly prohibited by the Texas Local Government Code.

Then there's another, even more serious, catch.

The attorney for the city and the GBIC is one and the same, none other than ethics-challenged Mark Sossi. You remember Sossi. He asked – and a majority of the city commission approved – that he be released from his contract with the city and be made a regular employee so he could pay his child support and include a child he had with a Stiletto's stripper in the city's health insurance plan.

Martinez, if you recall, came into his first term in office sanctimoniously  promising that the very first thing he would do was to implement a city code of ethics to prevent just this sort of thing. And guess who he appointed to craft that code six years ago? Would you believe then-contract attorney Sossi?

But more importantly, Sossi gets paid $10,000 a month for being a city attorney and another $5,000 a month to represent GBIC. So who is Sossi representing, the city, GBIC, or his own interests to keep his job?

Image result for sossi, bobbleheadCabler actually made the proposal to the GBIC board and made it very clear that he and Martinez would not be pleased if the board – the three commissioners and members David Betancourt and John Gowen – did not see things their way and gave them what they wanted.

With Sossi – the proverbial bobble head who will agree to anything his employers want – providing the legal counsel for both entities, you can bet that whatever his employers want, his employers will get. And that, children, is the way Brownsville city government works, or rather, doesn't.

And who is going to challenge this set up? Will the Cameron County Attorney Luis V. Saenz step in and set things right? Don't hold your breath. Remember that Saenz held the announcement when he ran for reelection for DA and his victory party at the Martinez law office. With Saenz watching their back, things will continue to roll along just as they are, the law be damned.


Anonymous said...

2018 elections are right around the corner PLEASE vote for Team Saenz and Brownsville Firefighters Union Local 970 candidates . Time for change in Cameron County !

Vote for :

Rigo Bocanegra Cameron County
Lali Betancourt County Clerk

Anonymous said...

So what?!!!! You never write what this means!!!

Anonymous said...

City Attorney Mark Sossi is an unethical stooge for Tony Martinez. While Sossi may have a law degree, it is personal loyalty to Tony Martinez that protects his job....or could it be a case of mutual professional courtesy (meaning Tony kisses Sossi's ass and Sossi kisses Tony's ass). Too many lawyers will ruin any activity. These guys have no regard for the city and continue to screw tax payers.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! My lightbulb just went off!
Juan, I'm solving our problem.
You need to blog in Spanish, our voters are Spanish speakers/ readers. They are not reading your blog. Maybe if this was in español we would have a better educated , prepared to vote population. Ya sabes Juanito español.

#southmost votes (con y sin papeles)

Anonymous said...

In spanish and one or two sentences, no more than 2 sentences.