Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso councilman who is looking to unseat Incumbent senator Ted Cruz this election cycle, not only seems to be raking in donations, he may be selling off his assets and laundering money, illegally, to bloat his campaign and woo Texas democrats and sponsors.
O’Rourke, who is already behind Cruz by 11 points in the latest polls out of Texas, may sink even more as several of his financial documents revealed that he may be coercing donations from close members of not only his family, but also his financial planner and lawyers.
This site released an article in March about Beto O’Rourke’s turbulent personal life and his conflicts of interest between El Paso relations and his relative’s company, Paso Del Norte, which attempted to re-develop El Paso and kick businesses and residents out of their homes and select certain companies to head construction.
Coming from an anonymous source, there are several ethical issues between O’Rourke and his close associates such as his financial planner, lawyers and his former co-workers and close friends who had connections to the USSR government during the 1980s and early 1990s.
As like the first article, Beto O’Rourke has failed to mention to the people of Texas about his funds as well as his relation to certain donors that have given major amounts to his campaign.
How It Began
On May 7th, an anonymous source tipped off the website about Beto’s Mother, Melissa, her relationship with the Charlotte’s furniture business in El Paso and her financial planner, Cotter White, who also happens to be Beto’s financial planner as well. Cotter White had also managed several asset accounts for the O’Rourkes for years at Morgan Stanley.
From the first article, Melissa was caught utilizing her business as a money laundering front for reasons unknown, in which resulted in a case against the IRS. The case was settled out of court:
In May of 2010, Melissa O’Rourke pleaded guilty to federal structuring violations and was ordered to pay $250,000 and the company was put on 5 years probation, according to a 2010 KVIA article based out of El Paso.
The article also referenced the following details from court proceedings and documents:
Charlotte’s, Inc., represented by its owner Melissa O’Rourke, pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to a one count Information charging the company with structuring transactions involving more than $630,000 in order to evade financial reporting requirements…
O’Rourke admitted that on 15 different occasions from May 2005-Oct. 2006 one or more of the company’s employees separated cash transactions for merchandise with each transaction ranging from $22,000 to $50,000. Each transaction was separated into multiple receipts.
No receipt amounted to more than $10,000 so that IRS reporting requirements could be avoided.
Details about a potential money-laundering operation, or where the unreported money went were never referenced, and the business shuttered in August of 2017.
Upon researching, through an obituary from the El Paso Times, it was found that Melissa O’Rourke may be more than business partners, they are allegedly married deriving from what the obituary hints at.
To potentially confirm this, both were seen together in 2012 at an El Paso gallery that was featuring an exhibit by Soviet-born Aleksander Titovets and his wife, Lyuba. The gallery reportedly accepted sales of their paintings for money, which would benefit the local symphonic orchestra.
In another photo, Cotter White is seen with El Paso Community Foundation Senior Program Officer Gary Williams, who funds the arts programs in El Paso, especially galleries and music exhibits. All funds directed to the symphonic orchestra are funneled through that programing.
Remember however, that Aleksandr Titovets was a USSR-born artist who utilized his artistry in his homeland to rank up though the communist government, becoming a member of the prestigious Union of Artists of the USSR, which commended artists who utilized their art to depict the then-failing USSR in a positive light culturally.
In retrospect, The building it was being housed in, the SOTOA building in El Paso, had been events to numerous projects and events pertaining to the Community Rebuilding Project. In one tenant is Beto’s company, Stanton Street, a web designing company, that got the tenant thanks to Paso Del Norte, the group spearheading the redevelopment project.
Paso Del Norte got $300,000 from the group to fund a Northern El Paso clinic, and likely received more money in the following the dispersing of grants in 2010 from the group, mainly focusing on the arts.
Whether the Paso Del Norte Group utilized their 360 groups and members to disperse grants among themselves, whether they received a grant at all, or whether the Titovets, former USSR cultural appointees, received money is unknown, but it is not out of the question.
Conflicts of Interest
Upon further investigation, it was found that Cotter White had, in fact, donated to the House Campaign Committee of O’Rourke in 2011 while working as Melissa’s financial planner during the Charlotte’s incident. While the amount was only up to $290.00, it was also found that White was the Vice President of the Morgan Stanley Smith and Barney brokerage firm, overseeing all of the brokers of the asset accounts.
In addition, Cotter white was an official representative and Investment adviser for Morgan Stanley in El Paso. White had been a member of the bank since 1983 and has a clean record, with no record of any ethics violations.
However, in 2013, O’Rourke approached the House Ethics Committee and admitted that he and his broker, Steven Yellen had violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK act.
Beto O’Rourke had admitted that he had participated in Twitter’s IPO in 2012, which is prohibited by law, and had participated in at least six other IPOs during the year:
O’Rourke, a Democrat whose district covers a portion of western Texas, reported the possible violation after Legistorm, an online news site that tracks congressional issues, informed him that his Nov. 15 disclosure saying he participated in the Twitter IPO earlier in the month might indicate a violation of a 2012 law called the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, or STOCK Act.
The freshman congressman also reported that, through his stockbroker, he participated in six other initial public offerings this year.
In an interview Monday, O’Rourke said he didn’t see a Nov. 5 memo from the House Ethics Committee warning members of Congress about participating in IPOs.
The memo specifically mentioned the Twitter IPO scheduled for two days later.
Morgan Stanley broker Steven Yellen purchased 100 shares of the Twitter IPO with a total value of $2,600 on O’Rourke’s behalf. Yellen sold 55 shares for $2,387 the same day and O’Rourke retains 45 shares – now valued at $1,878, according to a letter O’Rourke sent to the Ethics Committee. He provided a copy of the letter to the El Paso Times.
O’Rourke said he did not know in advance of Yellen’s plans to participate in that or the other IPOs. Yellen has been O’Rourke’s broker since 2003 and invested his money in IPO’s before O’Rourke was elected to Congress, the congressman said.
Yellen referred calls to Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Jill Richmond, who could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Upon further investigation, O’Rourke’s wealth manager for the account, Steven Yellen, had a previous disclosure in which he had violated instructions given by a client on transferring funds to their Children’s account.
In addition, Yellen had two previous contributions to democratic candidates. One of these donations was give though a site called ActBlue, an online platform for Democrats to utilize software to raise money. O’Rourke received $100 from Yellen in 2012 for his House campaign, potentially as a favor for insider trading.
Another donation was to a personal injury lawyer named Maxey Scherr who has no relation to O’Rourke, but gives insight on the manager’s loyalty to Democrats.
The Real Root of the Money
As of June of 2018, according to OpenSecrets, O’Rourke has raised over $13 million for his campaign against Ted Cruz despite scattered support around the state and a deep conservative base in the state. In the last three election cycles, O’Rourke averaged around $500,000 per cycle, so this is unusually high support for a Democratic candidate who seemingly came out of nowhere.
However, 59 percent of the donations to the campaign, contrary to Beto O’Rourke’s “Grassroots” push, have come from large contributions from individuals and corporations, or $7.7 million.
In addition, most of the donations come from large companies such as:
- Alphabet Inc
- Time Warner
- Blue Cross / Blue Shield
And many other law firms who may have connections to O’Rourke and other large industries that lobby for specific loopholes in bills.
O’Rourke reaffirmed his claim in 2017, where Politifact rated the claim “Half True” stating that while he did accept PAC money, one of it was given directly to him, as it would be in violation of FEC rules.
However, there is indication that some of the money
Being funneled into his campaign may be under the table and undetected by the FEC considering his recent real estate transaction history.
O’Rourke, besides being a congressman and his mother being a former businesswoman, now criminal against the IRS, has multiple sources of income outside of congress, according to a Texas Tribune ethics explorer database. In the database, the following notes are revealed:
Sources of Income
- O’Rourke founded Stanton Street Technology Group, a software and technology company.
- He is a partner in Imperial Arms LLC, a real estate company, which owns a rental property valued at more than $1 million. He also acquired partial ownership of Peppertree Square Ltd., a shopping center in El Paso, which was a gift from his mother.
- O’Rourke served as a member of the El Paso City Council for two terms from 2005 to 2011.
- His wife, Amy Sanders, is the director of education development for the La Fe Community Development Corporation and is the executive director of the La Fe Preparatory charter school.
- Residential property in El Paso valued at $151,187
- Rental property in El Paso valued at $8,663
- Rental property in El Paso valued at $1,181,282 (through Imperial Arms)
The database also presents a filing disclosure of the Assets and transactions of O’Rourke during the fiscal year. In 2015, there was a flurry of activity as O’Rourke geared up for another Congressional run. However, there was one explicit detail in the report that caused concern.
An asset under the company “Peppertree Squares Ltd.” had a property in EL Paso that had an ownership investment from O’Rourke, with the assets worth up to $10 million, while earning an income of just over $1 Million for that fiscal year.
Upon further investigation, it turned out that the address listed on the disclosure lead back to his mother’s business, Charlotte’s, which was the business that was raided by the IRS after evidence of money laundering surfaced in 2010. The Business announced it’s closing shortly after O’Rourke announced his candidacy for senate.
In addition, Peppertree Square had been owned by “O’Rourke Properties”, which was owned by a company called “Wilko Partnership Ltd.” also owned by Melissa O’Rourke. Melissa was, according to a diagram from corporationwiki, receiving many other outlets of cash from the following:
- Rotary Club of El Paso Foundation
- Lee and Beulah Moor Children’s Home.
- Stanton Street Tech. (Beto’s own company.)
The money was redirected and then put into the O’Rourke company, before being redirected to the Wilko holding. O’Rourke also held a presidential seat for “E.A.E.P. Inc.”, a for-profit corporation that was closed in 2014, during the flurry of transactions by Beto. Another trading company, “Brownstone Trading”, was closed in 2007,in which Melissa owned as well.
In addition, money collected from Charlotte’s went into O’Rourke Properties, but shortly after the business was frozen by the IRS, nearly $500,000 in asset funds, shares and mutual funds were liquidated.
Another company Beto owns, called Stanton Street, was worth as much as $500,000 in 2014, and paid off in $5,000 in dividends on top of a $34,000 salary for Beto’s spouse and an undisclosed salary for himself.
Beto’s company, now run by his wife Amy, funded the company in 2000, before merging with an unknown entity in 2002, which is also owned by Brain Wancho, an El Paso businessman. The company is funded by the following entities:
- Beto O’Rourke
- Amy O’Rouke
- Melissa O’Rourke
- Brain Wancho
Alongside all of the other entities Melissa O’Rourke owns, as well as Amy’s holdings.
However, one notable entity funding his business would be “Imperial Arms, LLC”, which is a real estate holding for O’Rourke, which was worth $5 Million, as Beto was earning as much as $1,000,000 during the 2015 fiscal year. O’Rourke was seemingly using profits from his deals to fund his businesses, in which some helped fund his political career, as well as his mother’s legal costs and potentially inflate his political donation receipts.
The company was created in 2010 by Beto, which focused on an apartment complex in El Paso, selling condos within the complex and in the surrounding area. In 2012, mere WEEKS before Beto announced his candidacy for House, sold his business for cash to a wealthy donor of his, according to the FreeBeacon.
O’Rourke, first elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, announced last month after weeks of speculation that he would challenge Republican Ted Cruz for his Senate seat in 2018. The previous month, O’Rourke prepared for the campaign launch by unloading valuable property that his family had owned for more than three decades.
The Imperial Arms apartment complex, owned by O’Rourke through Imperial Arms LLC and valued by him at between $1,000,001 and $5,000,000, was sold on February 27, 2017, according to legal documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
O’Rourke acknowledged his relationship with Rogers as both a friend and donor, but denied that either played a role in his decision to sell her the property.
One of the major finances of the deal, as well as Imperial Arms and the ability to make that deal was the Lydia Patterson Institute, a Multiculturalism institution that focuses on connecting people regardless of race or culture.
It turns out, that one of the board of trustee members, Stacey Hunt, had received funding from Beto O’Rourke’s relative’s group, Paso Del Norte and helped give contributions to the institute. The amount is unknown at this time, but Paso Del Norte attempted to spearhead the 2006 redevelopment program that would wipe out urban communities in the downtown area to benefit companies and shrink housing opportunities.
In short, O’Rourke is utilizing his relative’s companies for money laundering and funding to his corporations, especially through Paso Del Norte and Charlotte’s, to fulfill his political obligations and fund his campaign and inflate receipts to woo donors and voters.
At this point in time, it seems that Beto O’Rourke may not only be utilizing cartels in Ciudad Juarez to fund his relative’s businesses and take care of personal obligations, but may also be utilizing every avenue of income and liquidating his assets quietly to fund his campaign and potentially pay off lobbyists to advocate for democrats.
We will have a lot more on this story as we continue to research about this issue…