Sunday, May 21, 2017


By Juan Montoya
Look at the picture at right closely.
Does it even remotely resemble the city we live in?

Imagine if you are a manufacturer and believed that there are skyscrapers here only to find out that nothing even remotely close to this scene exists here.

That type of fantasy world was the yarn spun by former Brownsville economic Development CEO Jason Hilts. Hilts, who did not have  a background in economic development apparently convinced enough members of the BEDC board that he could spur economic growth and commerce if they hired him for the job.

Hilts, a Michigan native, was named the city's top economic development guru with the City of Brownsville since 2002 even though he never was the top person of any organization, never worked at another economic development organization, only had some college courses under his belt, and by all accounts and purposes had limited formal training in economic development.

Newspaper reports at the time pointed out that the BEDC board awarded him an $80,000 annual salary coupled with benefits and a $500 monthly gas allowance. Additionally, Hilts had access to a BEDC credit card that he used often for travel, meals and other expenses that he accounts for in many cases adding mostly up to more than $1,000 a month.

Lynn Puglisi, who Hilts eliminated from the BEDC in his reorganization, charged that Hilts was disciplined for making large personal purchases on BEDCs credit card such as jewelry and clothing when he was vice president of the BEDC years ago. Hilts acknowledges the actions and says they were a mistake, but denies he was reprimanded for the unapproved purchases after an audit was conducted of his finances.

The Brownsville Herald's Emma Perez-TreviƱo reported in August 21, 2003, that: "When he was vice president in 1997 and 1998, the credit card facilitated the purchase of clothing from Mervyns in Los Angeles and Mission Viejo, Calif., slacks, shirts and men's coordinates from Dillards in Brownsville, more clothes from the Burlington Coat Factory in McAllen, a diamond ring from J.C. Penney in Brownsville, goods from Stein Mart in San Antonio, general merchandise and jewelry from Target in Brownsville, jewelry/repair/sales from Golden Time in Brownsville, and a $1,077.09 silver clock from the Jewel Gallery in Brownsville."

Nonetheless, he was made the BEDC CEO and allowed to court firms from within the United States and abroad. Not all were successful, as is evidenced by an empty north Brownsville Industrial Park and an abandoned Colombia office.
Take a gander at what Hilts "invested" there without any tangible results:

The BEDC January 2016 report on the Colombian economic mission which shows that in the two and one-half years of operating an office there, they spent $197,590 in salaries for three Colombian nationals and office costs, and another $116,000 in travel for BEDC, city, port, state and private individuals.

And while the report does not show that one job has been created for a Brownsville resident so far, Hilts asserted that their efforts so far at "developing relationships" has the "potential" of bringing at least 11 mid-size operations in different sectors with $25 million and 200 jobs and another $300 million from two major projects in food processing and retail which might create 450 jobs and another 300 indirect jobs here. Alas, Hilts won't be there to be held accountable when nothing materializes.

Given his ability to blow smoke up people's keisters, it is about par for the course for the BEDC to feature skyscrapers in its website.


Anonymous said...

WHO GIVES A SHIT, BRO?!!!! WHO? WHO!!! Write funny stuff, guey.

Anonymous said...

Third world town like Matamoros WILL HAVE a skyscraper real soon: The U.S. Consulate. The building is already up, not very far from the bridge (where the old Holiday Inn Hotel used to be)
A state of the art hospital is being build on the south side of Matamoros, a NEW "Clinica de Seguro Social" is also opened on the way to Ciudad Victoria. Brownsville is on the U.S. side and all the REAL INDUSTRY is on the Mexican side but we keep on electing the same Mexican-Americans and calling the few white people "racist".

Anonymous said...

ohhh but Jessica Tetreau has a new purse and a new car. You guys have nothing. Jessica lives in a fantasy world that doesn't include Brownsville, TX.

Anonymous said...

So, while Matamoros may be in turmoil it will build new facilities and has a semblance of development, her sister city Brownsville doesn't seem to be able to move forward, even with no cartel violence. Perhaps Matamoros has some leadership, while Brownsville has none. The officials of the city of Brownsville....including P.U.B. and BEDC (and we should add BND) promote and take care of themselves and the rest of the community is left without any leadership. No leadership is a primary weakness in local ball, no morale courage, and no concern for the citizens or their tax dollars.

AT said...

Don't blame me. I voted for Dr Tony Zavaleta, Ben Neece and Erasmo Castro

AT said...

STFU Frank Mar

Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel any better, Brownsville has better streets and bike lanes.

Matamoros also has more universities, including a branch high school of the Monterrey Tec.

It has a Medical School -

down sides? not many, only 2 - wages suck and violence is comparable to a war. With .50 cals and AK47's as the weapons of choice, occasional grenades here and there.

Biking in Matamoros is having a death wish.

Cheers to that! Brownsville Rocks!

Anonymous said...

Like the saying goes, you can dress them up but you can't take them out.