The embattled Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Service has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting the release of records detailing only the names and salaries of those employees.
They have defied the Harris County District Attorney and now face a widening criminal investigation by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.
Now a legal brief filed by Assistant County Attorney Scott Durfee challenges the charity ambulance service to follow the law. CCEMS is trying to block the criminal subpoena for their payroll records.
CCEMS is the first charity in Harris County to be accused of a crime for withholding financial records. CCEMS lawyer Andrew McKinney claims the charity law is vague, and CCEMS doesn’t know what the definition of financial records is. The brief by the DA calls that hogwash, arguing CCEMS just doesn’t like the disclosure requirements.
“There is no doubt that the records sought by Mr. Dolcefino – the money paid to employees of CCEMS are financial records and financial activity of CCEMS,” says Durfee.
ESD#11 taxpayers pay millions of dollars every year to pay the salaries and benefits of every dispatcher and paramedic at CCEMS. CCEMS has even refused to identify the names of people on their payroll to the government agency paying their salaries.
At a candidate forum last week in the hotly contested May election for ESD #11 Commissioners, it was suggested CCEMS is fighting the release of HIPPA personnel records.
That is nonsense.
No one has asked for any confidential information, only the information that every government entity in Texas provides. Dolcefino Consulting simply has sought the names and time sheets, and records of who has received bonuses and when. We have told CCEMS to redact any confidential information. They aren’t telling taxpayers the truth.
Taxpayers should ask a simple question. Why are they hiding the names? Who is on the payroll?
CCEMS should release the names of everyone on their payroll immediately. CCEMS Boss Brad England has refused to even release his salary and bonuses. Administration expenses of the ambulance service exceeds 1 million dollars. You pay taxes to subsidize the cost of ambulance service. The ESD doesn’t even make Cypress Creek return medical bill funds to the taxpayer to
make sure the tax rate is as low as possible.
“Supporters of CCEMS are fighting to elect ESD Commissioners. That is their right, but do we really want a government contractor controlling the people who are supposed to watch the way
they spend money,” asks Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “This election isn’t a referendum on Cypress Creek, but a referendum of what taxpayers expect their safety commissioners to do.”
The DA will make their case to a Judge this Friday.
Meanwhile, money CCEMS could have spent on medical supplies is being wasted again in a battle to keep secrets, over names.