“I feel sorry for Taos County”— Virgil Martinez

By: Bill Whaley
1 December, 2016

VirgilFailure is Thy Name!

The Beat Down!

The man pictured, Virgil Martinez, has been subjected to a “beat down” by a fellow Trustee during executive session at the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29. See the Albuquerque Journal front page today.

The thuggery follows on the heels of fifteen years of exploitation under the slogan, “diversification,” a utopian public relations gambit by KCEC management and elected trustees. Not only does the Coop levy increased charges on commercial and residential members but it has also increased rates for local government. Citizens are getting hit with the triple whammy.

Virgil got hit with fists and was beaten down to the hard hallway floor outside the Coop’s meeting room by a man twenty years his junior, while Trustees ignored (or manipulated) the fracas. Virgil stumbled off to drive himself to the hospital as management and officers watched.

As an intervener in the KCEC/PRC hearing process,  I have read the paperwork and the transcripts while listening to CEO Reyes testify to the muddled consolidated financial reports. The hearing examiner asked the CEO if he feared for his job since the Coop hasn’t made “tier” in six of the last eight year. TIER is the minimum benchmark by which RUS measures a Coop’s solvency. “Failure” appears to be the code by which the “traveling trustees” measure the $250,000 annual salary for the CEO.

VirgilYes, Virgil, drove himself to the hospital where I watched the doctor use four stitches to sew up the upper lip, inquire about a loose tooth, and administer first aid to a black eye. Woozy and walking carefully to his truck, Virgil drove himself home. Not a single Trustee or KCEC employee appeared at the emergency room to inquire after the man from CERRO.

Instead of calling for first aid, the Coopsters called the cops and their attorneys, I’m told.

On Wednesday December 7 the PRC will hold a hearing on the Coop’s rate increase in Santa Fe where the regulators have ignored the Coop’s rising debt, now approaching what? $175 million? far in excess of the company’s equity, according to interveners. According to the paperwork, the Coop borrows money to pay bills and interest on the rising debt but nary a penny goes for principle.

The $8.5 million lost in the Call Center, Command Center, Propane, Internet since 2000 pales in comparison to the $70 million in loans, grants, and electric revenue spent on Broadband since 2010. Truly, they entered upon diversification with neither a “business plan” nor a project manager, except for CEO Luis Reyes, according to answers in interrogatories. 2600 more or less customers are supporting the $70 million project.  But nobody can get hooked up today because, according to employees, the Coop is out of money and the wiring is all screwed up. So it goes.

It appears that the hydra-headed Broadband monster is sinking the New Deal Coop.

Mr. Christopher Duran 2014Oh, yes, the partisans will gather round and blame the man who voted “NO” against the recent increase and claim Mr. Chris Duran, a Gulf War Veteran, twenty years younger, was acting in self-defense against the provocateur. Sure Virgil has a tongue and now he’s got whiplash.

For Virgil voted against the “rate increase.” But he remains philosophical. “That’s what I get for trying to help the poor people,” he said. Indeed. The Trustees and CEO have lost sight of the Coop mission. Now they exploit members and taxpayers because the ego needs its feed and in New Orleans the lap dancers are waiting for the annual pre-Mardi Gras parade of Coopsters.

On Tuesday afternoon, the same day as the “beat down,” a Taos News reporter attended the “solar” meeting at the Coop. But the local paper failed to mention the “beat down” and the police reports. Nor did the reporter mention that the PRC staff has called for an “investigation” of the Coop’s failure to follow New Mexico state statutes, governing solar energy generation.

Failure is the middle name of KCEC. In addition to the failure of The Taos News other community leaders support the failing Coop, praising the dreams of “diversification” despite fifteen years of failure.

Since this intervener and reporter is governed by the rules of PRC hearing confidentiality and executive session rules, he can’t recount details but can summarize and say the Coop’s condition indicates it is both financially insolvent and morally bankrupt. (And I’m not talking about self-dealing, the Peyton Place doings or inside traders, the fleshpots and the quid pro quo.)

Oh yes, Flavio, the custodian, who empties waste paper baskets and reads the memos and tea leaves, says, “It’s worse than you think.”

And we members and taxpayers are paying for the trumpets of failure as pleasure for the Trustees!

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