Wednesday, December 21, 2016
KTSM Story on Saucedo Money Woes at Non-Profit
Click this link to watch the story.
Word of problems in the organization surfaced yesterday swirling around the allegation that they weren't able to meet payroll. The situation was apparently so bad and out-of-control that the CFO was let go two weeks ago for financial reasons.
Let that marinate for a second. Their financial situation was so bad, that they couldn't afford to pay the person in charge of their finances.
As of Monday, the Executive Director Dr. Joseph Villescas was let go and in a statement from the organization the only explanation was that the Boys & Girls Club was "...going in a different direction..."
Some would say that is a polite way of saying Villescas was fired. I attempted to reach out to Villegas for more details and give him an opportunity to tell his side of the story but he declined to comment.
Sources in leadership within the organization indicated that Villescas was hired at the behest of Saucedo who was adamant to the board that Villescas be selected as the Executive Director. The source indicates that last year Saucedo told a joint board meeting between the B&G Club and the B&G Club of El Paso Foundation Board (that is the fundraising arm of the organization), that he intended to hire Villescas as the Executive Director because of his experience and community outreach and assured the foundation board that all was well.
B&G run on an annual budget that runs January to December, not a fiscal budget that runs October to September - meaning most of the financial woes happened under the Saucedo - Villescas leadership team.
According to my source, grant funds were that were meant to be used for programs were allegedly used for operations until those funds were depleted. Villescas then allegedly began laying off accounting staff, and allegedly went on vacation while payroll checks were allegedly bouncing.
Another joint meeting is scheduled for this afternoon - December 21st, to discuss the financial situation in greater detail. Among the possible outcomes are closure, letting another youth agency run the programs, or forcing the Club Board to raise the necessary funds to run the operation. The board members are not happy about this situation and several of them want Saucedo held accountable. One board member went so far as to tell me they feel that Saucedo and Villescas used the Boys & Girls Club "for their personal ambition" and "ends up driving it to the brink of closure".
Looks like Saucedo was ducking the reporters on the Channel 9 story, which is counter-intuitive for a guy that is running for mayor and running basically entirely on his business acumen. It defies logic that he wouldn't want to give his side of the story on a situation that makes it look like he's incapable of managing money. What will likely happen is that Saucedo will throw Villescas under the bus and try to wash his hands of the situation.
As you can see on his campaign website, Saucedo is rather proud of his tenure as the President of the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club and advertises it as part of his qualifications for the office.
Hard to tell voters you should be in charge of the tax payers' checkbook when your organization is allegedly bouncing payroll checks, but maybe thats just me.
In an interesting twist to the entire situation, Villescas appears to have had a close advisor that accompanied him to meetings with government officials. You all will recognize the name Jeremy Jordan.
Jordan was Niland's staffer until she let him go following his arrest on domestic violence charges though I believe those charges were ultimately dropped.
UPDATE: Thank you to a faithful reader for reminding me to include some context about Villescas. He was formerly with the Silvestre Reyes reelection campaign the cycle that he lost his seat to Beto O'Rourke and Villescas also previously ran for city council district 3. He came in 3rd place to Emma Acosta and Naomi Gonzalez.
Posted by The Lion Star at 7:45 AM