A few readers have brought it to my attention that the time line for Jane Shang's employment agreement expose doesn't work out well for Karla Walton (from El Dario) and Martin Paredes (from Outer Space). At best it's a fishy response by the City of El Paso - a governmental body that usually takes all ten days they have under the law to get back to you. At worst, there's evidence that council members are leaking documents to the press - in this case a document that lawyers are saying shouldn't have been seen by the public with out some information being redacted.
I put in an Open Records Request (ORR) today hoping to clear up who exactly asked for Jane Shang's contract. I expect to receive either the response or and estimate of cost in Ten business days from July 1, 2014. So, if you look at a calendar and start counting, you'll see that by July 16, 2014 I'll have an answer. I didn't count the 4th because El Paso is almost in America and that's a holiday in that country.
I went back and checked all of the ORRs I have submitted in the past and realized that in only one case did I get what I wanted in less than ten days. Most of the time it was 15 to 20 days before I got what I wanted. In the case of the short return, I asked them for something I knew legal wouldn't care to look at and that was literally sitting on the desk of the person who handles ORRs. (It pertained to Martin Paredes ORR of me... I ORRed the ORRer... you get it?).
Council nor the public knew of any kind of city employee getting a severance package until the June 10, 2014 council meeting when Rep. Limon kind of brain farted her way through a public request for information on a personnel matter. She got her hand smacked by the city attorney who had to tell her behind closed doors that you can't drag employee HR issues out into a council meeting. You know, the same way they couldn't do the city attorney's performance review during a council meeting just two weeks before. Bottom line - Limon knew something, but didn't know exactly what she knew.
On June 23, 2014 El Dario runs a report on Jane Shang's administrative leave deal in their print edition and then posts an internal document on the matter on the website HERE. Martin Paredes waits a few days and posts the document and commentary on June 26, 2014.
If Karla Walton put in an ORR request on June 10th, and the city stuck by its unwritten ten working day rule, she would have received the document on June 24, 2013. Given that June 23, 2014 was a Monday and the story ran in the morning, Karla Walton got the document on Friday the 20th of June. That would have been an eight day turnaround - not unheard of... unless you realize this wasn't something they would normally just release without legal going over it. And once legal gets a hold of it - you're talking 15 to 20 days.
So how did Karla Walton get that document so quickly under an ORR? Is being pretty really worth quicker service? Wish I was pretty...
Then again Karla Walton and Martin Paredes have been careful not to reveal how they got the document. A real reporter like Karla Walton only protects her sources when they need protection - because they are in danger of being killed or they're saying things they shouldn't and that could get them arrested or fired. What gives? Why not just say they got the document through an ORR and move on?
Well, I think have the answer. They didn't get the document from an ORR. They got it from a member of city council.
How do I know that? Because the document posted below was printed out, folded in half and then in half again and then scanned into a PDF. Look for yourself.
That's not how the city answers an ORR. There's a crease across the middle and you can see the warp running up and down the document. The city provides PDF copies of the documents in their original electronic form. Look at example below.
Even if Karla Walton paid to pick up what she could get for free over email; why would she beat the hell out of it and make a shitty scan of it? Because that's not how she got it.
Karla Walton and Martin Paredes received the document from a member of city council who handled it for a while. That document was provided to council when Rep. Limon started questioning what happened to Jane Shang. Whoever leaked it was hoping there was a political benefit for what they were doing, but it turns out that there was none. There was just a city council member leaking a document to the press witht he intent to ruin someone's reputation. And a jury will see it that way.
Why won't Karla Walton and Martin Paredes be honest about their source? Paredes was crying like a baby today because he thought a real journalist should have named him as a source. Why wouldn't Martin and Karla play by that same rule? Is it because they aren't sure that they did the legal thing in this case? Does this mean that Paredes and Walton are getting info from inside city hall that maybe they shouldn't be getting? Like information from executive session?
We'll see... I've got 10 days to get my ORR.