EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Wednesday, Aug. 23, City Representative Cassandra Hernandez asked for a rehearing by the Ethics Review Commission after she was given a letter of reprimand for her alleged misuse of her tax-payer-funded city gas card.
However, the commission unanimously voted to dismiss the request for a rehearing.
As we reported in July, the commission voted unanimously that Rep. Hernandez violated ethics. She was issued a letter of reprimand but did not motion for her to be removed from office.
At Wednesday’s meeting after public comment, the Chair of the Ethics Review Commission Casey Williams recused himself.
Williams said that after the ethics hearing in July, Hernandez’s husband Jeremy Jordan filed a complaint against Williams with the State Bar of New Mexico.
“He alleged a lot of things that I believe were personally malicious and that were libelous and were not grounded in fact or law,” said Williams.
Williams says he reported it to the city and provided a response from the state bar that the complaint was dismissed.
“I personally believe that because the complaint was filed against me, even though it was dismissed, this is too personal. And so, I think the responsible thing to do would be to withdraw, to recuse myself so that the commission can make a decision independent of my presence on this commission,” said Williams.
Rep. Hernandez and her attorney objected while Williams was speaking saying what he was referring to regarding the complaint made to the state bar against him was not on the agenda.
During his opening statement, the attorney representing Hernandez said Williams should have recused himself during the ethics hearing in July.
“The chairperson of the Ethics Review Commission Mr. Casey Williams violated the ethics code by not recusing himself from the case, given that he had previously filed an ethics complaint against Mrs. Hernandez, which was ultimately dismissed along with multiple social media posts outlining his disdain for Mrs. Hernandez,” said David Nunez, the attorney representing Hernandez.
Hernandez asked for a rehearing by the commission.
“I would ask for your reconsideration for a fair, impartial hearing to give me not only the respect but the fairness beyond reproach from the Ethics Review Commission. I just ask for your wholehearted understanding that I’m trying to resolve this, and I’m trying to move past it,” Hernandez said.
As we reported, an internal audit found that in 2022 Hernandez purchased close to 35% of all the fuel purchased by the El Paso City Council in the calendar, and from January to April 2023, the percentage was close to 40%.
The audit also showed that Hernandez used her city gas card on multiple occasions on back-to-back days, when she was present at a city council meeting and at times by her husband.
During Hernandez’s testimony back in July, she spoke about having five children under the age of five and often switching vehicles throughout the day with her husband.
Hernandez repaid the city for the gas purchased on her gas card after allegations of excessiveness.