Every month taxpayers write a check for $893,000 to the Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS) for 911 service from Tomball to Spring. CCEMS makes millions more from that government contract, keeping the millions from the extra bills they send.
911 service is life and death and that is why taxpayers spend so much money on it.
Now CCEMS has a big decision to make. How much is a secret worth?
This morning, CCEMS Boss Brad England was told this month’s check was the last he would get unless the secretive ambulance service turns over the payroll record’s England wants to keep secret. He was also told Cypress Creek will not get another penny in the new budget unless they cough up the records.
This ultimatum comes as CCEMS has three lawsuits against the Texas Attorney General, and faces criminal charges by the Harris County District Attorney for violating charity laws. This week the CCEMS Criminal lawyer Dan Cogdell tried to quash a subpoena for the payroll records on the grounds it could incriminate the ambulance service.
Dolcefino Consulting has been battling CCEMS secrecy for more than a year, but records already show England wines and dines on money that could buy medical supplies.
“Cypress Creek is spending what must be hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect Brad England,” says Wayne Dolcefino President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Taxpayers won’t get that money back, and I applaud the ESD for finally seeing the light.”
In recent days CCEMS has argued that they do not need the government contract to sustain the charity, even though the $20 million budget is virtually entirely paid for by taxpayers through property taxes and medical bills.
Looks like Mr. England has a choice. Let the sunshine in, or good luck paying the bills.
Two months ago the Harris County District Attorney’s Office issued subpoenas for the payroll records of Cypress Creek EMS, the $20 million a year ambulance service for 500,000 residents from Tomball to Spring.
CCEMS has simply ignored the subpoena.
This morning, Harris County Assistant District Attorney Michele Oncken issued a deadline.
Turn the records over by September 23rd or face possible contempt charges. Cypress Creek has now told the DA they will now move to try to quash the subpoena they have ignored for two months.
The meter was running this morning. Criminal and civil lawyers accompanied CCEMS Boss Brad England to court today. England even refuses to tell the public his current salary, although a 2013 charity tax return listed the salary at nearly $180,000 a year.
CCEMS has released credit card records showing England’s lavish spending habits, including his apparent obsession of expensive meals at Perry’s steak house, even at night.
Cypress Creek continues the legal campaign to avoid telling the public who is paid with their tax dollars, and it is getting hard to keep track of how many people they are now fighting.
CCEMS now has three lawsuits against the Texas Attorney General. CCEMS has ignored requests from the Emergency Service District Board. Now CCEMS wants to keep the payroll records from the District Attorney.
The legal expenses must be skyrocketing. Money that should be used to buy bandages and medicine for taxpayers being used to keep secrets.
And you are paying the bill.
Last October, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson filed formal criminal charges against the Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services for violating state charity transparency laws. Nearly two months ago, the same District Attorney’s office issue a subpoena for the payroll records of the ambulance service.
After all, taxpayers pay most of the salaries.
Cypress Creek has ignored the subpoena, and this week, Cypress Creek lawyers delayed another pre-trial hearing on the case. That makes eight times this court case has been delayed. It is set again for September 10, 2015.
Meanwhile, the ESD #11 Commissioners you elected to watchdog your money have demonstrated a bizarre refusal to actually do their job.
“It is time for all this pretty please with sugar on top stuff to stop,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The District Attorney ought to execute a search warrant today to get these records because these are the tax-payers records.”
Dolcefino Consulting has spent more than a year investigating the financially bloated ambulance service, from the expensive entertainment habits of the top administrator to questions about possible bid rigging in a lucrative medical billing contract.
“Taxpayers should not have to file lawsuits to see how their money has been spent, and the ESD Commissioners should be ashamed of themselves,” says Dolcefino. “CCEMS talks about all the awards it gets for great ambulance service, but they forget they would be out of business without this government contract.”
They also forget who is paying the bills. Why shouldn’t they stall, wasting tens of thousands of dollars of your money that should be spent on bandages?
If this was a game of chicken, it is pretty obvious who is winning!
You should remember that when you vote.
Big Jolly Politics writes a post about how Dolcefino Consulting wants to see Cypress Creek EMS public records — and panic ensues:
If you’ve followed the Fox 26 website then you know Cypress Creek EMS –with a budget of more than $20 million dollars to operate 15 ambulances for the District— is openly defying a ruling from the Texas Attorney General to tell YOU how THEY spend that $20 million in taxpayer money.
And if you read his blog then you also know Cypress Creek EMS is going to court this Friday to stop Dolcefino Consulting from seeing the public records and from getting Brad England, the head of Cypress Creek EMS under oath.
The safety commissioners of ESD#11 have scheduled a special meeting Thursday.
On the agenda, a vote to file lawsuits against the 911 ambulance provider for half a million folks from Tomball to Spring.
Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services doesn’t mind taking 20 million dollars from the public for 911 service, but ask them tough questions about the way the money is spent, and they slam the door shut.
The Harris County District Attorney has filed criminal charges. The response, delay the trial.
The Texas Attorney General rules they have to turn over public records. The result, Cypress Creek has filed three separate lawsuits against the State of Texas. And they using your money.
Elected ESD Commissioners ask for payroll records, the use of ambulances you bought, and financial records of a gun toting ambulance squad. The response. You may pay for it, but you can’t see it.
“This is just no way to run the taxpayers business. The head of Cypress Creek Brad England makes more than the county judge, and systematically fights the public right to know,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “It is time for Mr. England to stop wasting public money or resign. This money should be spent on medical supplies, not a campaign of secrecy.”
CCEMS is also going to court Friday to stop Dolcefino Consulting from seeing public records and getting Mr. England under oath.
The ESD#11 meeting is scheduled Thursday morning, July 30th at 10:00 am at 7111 Five Forks in Spring.
It’s been a year long battle. Thursday morning crossfire went back and forth as two EMS board members threatened to stop funding the ambulance service of a half million people in North Harris County.
“It becomes a public safety question and Cypress Creek knows that and it’s just as disingenuous and horrible for Cypress Creek to use the threat of public safety as a reason for a not showing what are clearly public records,” Investigator Wayne Dolcefino said. READ THE STORY
At least two members of the Emergency Service District Board will seek suspension of monthly payments to Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Service at a likely stormy public meeting Thursday morning, July 16, 2015.
Cypress Creek EMS holds the government contract to provide ambulance service for 500,000 residents from Tomball to Spring, but relies on a check of more than $800,000 in property tax dollars from the ESD #11 every month to do it.
The drastic action of trying to cut off funding comes as CCEMS continues to defy the Harris County District Attorney and Texas Attorney General requests for payroll records. CCEMS has refused repeated requests for key documents detailing how public funds were spent, even from the elected government officials who gave them the contract.
CCEMS continues to spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting a criminal charge and has filed two lawsuits against the Texas Attorney General.
CCEMS even refuses to detail how much they are using three ambulances financed by taxpayers last year ESD commissioners tell Dolcefino Consulting the ambulances were supposed to be staffed and responding to calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The ESD provided 1.5 million dollars in public funds.
The ESD# 11 meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 7111 Five Forks in Spring at 9 am.
The Harris County District Attorney has subpoenaed five years of payroll records from Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, setting the stage for yet another showdown on a taxpayer funded ambulance service that simply refuses to play by the rules.
The subpoena was served on CCEMS Chief Executive Brad England, who has led the fight for secrecy, ignoring the District Attorney and the Texas Attorney General. England won’t even divulge how much he makes, although 2013 tax returns put the figure then at nearly $180,000 dollars.
The fight began when Dolcefino Consulting sought records detailing the payroll of CCEMS employees paid with more than 7 million tax dollars from homeowners living between Tomball and Spring. The Harris County District Attorney filed criminal charges against CCEMS last December. CCEMS has filed suit twice against the Texas Attorney General trying to keep records secret.
“The subpoena should just be the start,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The elected safety commissioners in the area have an obligation to either demand transparency or cut off the money. This is absurd.”
The investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has already uncovered questionable spending, and bidding irregularities in the ambulance service. CCEMS also refuses to disclose the weapons some medics are carrying on ambulances, part of a tactical unit that refuses to share with the public how much it is costing.
CCEMS has a budget of more than 20 million dollars to operate 15 ambulances. The money comes from property taxes and the bills for the 911 service. CCEMS is now spending tens of thousands of those dollars, trying to keep secrets.
Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith is improperly “giving out badges” from the Sheriff’s Department, in violation of his own rules.
An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has found serious violations of the Reserve rules in Waller County, jeopardizing taxpayers.
For instance, half the reserve deputies didn’t lift a finger for taxpayers in more than a year, violating the edict of Smith’s own department they must work 16 hours a month.
In a May 2014 e-mail, Chief Deputy Craig Davis wrote, “I do not think that 16 hours a month is too much to ask for in exchange for the privilege and responsibility of carrying the badge of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office.”
Yet since then, nearly half the 35 reserve officers with badges didn’t log a single hour of work.
The reserve badges have significant economic value and that is why reserve deputies are supposed to get written permission to work other jobs using the law enforcement commission.
And that is why Dolcefino Consulting began investigating.
Both the Chief Executive Officer and Tactical Commander of Cypress Creek EMS have reserve commission from Waller County. Sheriff’s records show neither Brad England nor Wren Nealy have worked at all for Waller County since June of 2014, and neither have submitted paperwork authorizing them to use their commission in their work at Cypress Creek. The Sheriff admits he has never used the Cypress Creek EMS tactical team.
Wren Nealy is the commander of the tactical team and listed as a reserve Lieutenant for the Waller County Sheriff, even though there’s evidence he is doing any work for the badge That raises liability questions for both Waller County and taxpayers of ESD#11 who are paying some CCEMS Medics overtime for this armed medical team.
CCEMS has refused to turn over records detailing how much the tactical unit is getting paid, what they are doing armed on the ambulances and who is armed and with what weapons.
Add it to the list of secrets CCEMS is keeping while they collect millions in tax dollars.
FOX 26 KRIV’s Katie McCall reports that the Cypress Creek EMS is defying open records laws:
At a meeting with Emergency Service District 11, Cypress Creek EMS, refused to turn over its financial records to the public. Investigator Wayne Dolcefino has been fighting for the release of those records for a year. He’s asking Cy Creek EMS to allow the taxpayers to see who they hire, what they pay them, and where those tax dollars are being spent.
Dolcefino says, “The Cypress Creek EMS refuses to tell the public who they’re paying. Is that the silliest thing you’ve ever heard of?” READ THE REST