Controversy at Eagle Pass City Council Meeting Over Riskind’s Building Lease Proposal

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On May 7, 2024, the Eagle Pass City Council meeting took a dramatic turn as former Economic Development Director Arturo Marquez faced scrutiny over a highly controversial lease proposal. The proposal, intended for the new Riskind’s Building business incubator, has raised serious concerns about transparency and potential conflicts of interest within the council.

The Proposal Under Scrutiny

Arturo Marquez presented a proposal for a sole bidder, AMA Management Services, LLC, to lease space in the new Riskind’s Building at an unusually low rate of $0.75 per square foot. This rate, significantly below market value, would generate approximately $1,445 per month or around $17,000 annually for the 1,928 square feet area. The proposal was backed by a panel of city officials including Mr. Balderas, Mr. Morua, Mr. Marquez, Ms. Ali Mendoza, Monica Jimenez, Zynaida Rodriguez, and Ms. Mayra Huerta, who recommended entering negotiations with the bidder.

Why are some members of City Council and employees trying to sellout the Eagle Pass Tax Payers?

The proposal is set at 50% of the going rate for real estate footage in Eagle Pass. Arturo Marquez, along with some council members and city employees were attempting to sell taxpayers short by offering a contract at $0.75 per square foot for a new building, when the rate should be closer to $1.50.

Councilwoman Cruz Raises Red Flags

City Councilwoman Monica J. Cruz quickly intervened, raising critical concerns about the suspiciously low lease rate. Why would the city consider such a below-market rate? She questioned whether this deal truly served the best financial interests of Eagle Pass. Her investigation revealed that AMA Management Services, LLC, is owned by Hector G. Menchaca, as listed on

Could there be an ulterior motive behind this proposal? Cruz’s pointed questions highlighted a potential attempt to award a city asset at a loss, under the guise of fostering new businesses. Her stance underscored the need for accountability and transparency in the city’s financial dealings.

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The Defense and Unraveling

Councilman Billy Davis attempted to defend the proposal, arguing that the low lease rate was intended to help new businesses get off the ground. He emphasized that the purpose of the business incubator was to provide affordable space to fledgling enterprises.

However, Councilman Mario E. Garcia complicated the narrative by questioning whether AMA Management Services, LLC, actually fit the profile of a startup that the incubator was designed to support. Was this really a case of nurturing new businesses, or something else entirely? Garcia’s inquiry led to a pivotal revelation: Marquez disclosed that AMA Management Services, LLC, operates several established businesses, disqualifying it as a startup.

This admission forced Councilman Davis to backtrack, acknowledging that the incubator’s intent was to support true startups, not existing businesses. The discrepancy raised further questions about the integrity of the proposal process. Why was such a fundamental detail about the company’s status overlooked or omitted initially?

City Council Members Trying To Sellout The City?

The controversy has cast a shadow over the Eagle Pass City Council, prompting broader concerns about the transparency and fairness of the leasing process. The attempt to lease the Riskind’s Building at a significantly reduced rate to an established company suggests potential conflicts of interest and a lack of rigorous scrutiny in evaluating proposals.

What are the potential conflicts of interest at play here? Residents and stakeholders are now demanding a thorough investigation into the council’s decision-making process. The community is calling for assurances that public resources are managed wisely and that future proposals are evaluated with greater transparency and fairness.

The fallout from the May 7 meeting underscores the importance of vigilance and accountability in local government. Eagle Pass must reassess its processes to prevent similar issues from arising and to maintain public trust. As the situation develops, the focus will remain on ensuring that the business incubator fulfills its mission to support genuinely new and emerging businesses, rather than providing undue advantages to established entities.

Why should the community have to worry about the misuse of their resources? The Eagle Pass City Council’s handling of this proposal has become a pivotal moment for the community, highlighting the essential need for transparency and ethical governance in all future dealings.

You have to wonder is someone getting something in return for this generosity with tax payer funds?

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