Former EPISD school board president received campaign contributions before resigning

File Photo

Congressional candidate Dori Fenenbock said she did nothing wrong, even as documents show she received contributions from district vendors while still serving as president of the El Paso Independent School Board.

The revelations about Fenenbock come after she accused school board trustee Susie Byrd of a conflict of interest.

Byrd is the campaign manager for congressional candidate and former county judge Veronica Escobar.

Escobar and Fenenbock are competing for the same congressional seat.

Two campaigns and they both have ties to EPISD.

Earlier this week, the EPISD board voted to audit Byrd.

She is accused of using her position to solicit contributions from district vendors.

Byrd denies those accusations.

Fenenbock said though she received contributions from two people who do business with the district, she says it’s different, because she had not officially announced her candidacy when they made the contributions.

Both companies do not have current contracts with EPISD.

“I voluntarily resigned in order to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest,” said Fenenbock.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Darren Woody, the CEO of Jordan Foster Construction, and Scott Bain of Bain Construction made contributions to Fenenbock’s campaign in June 2017.

Foster donated $2,500 and Woody donated $8,100.

CBS4 asked Fenebock how that differs from what she’s accusing Byrd of doing.

"My presidency ended in June,” she said.”I formed an exploratory committee, I had not made a decision until August."

Fenenbock resigned from the board on Aug. 25, 2017, to run for Congress.

But, the contributions were made in June, almost two months before her official resignation from the school board.

On Tuesday, Fenenbock told CBS4 she supported the audit into Byrd’s actions because she was concerned about the appearance of corruption.

We asked her if she thinks the same applies to her situation.

"I resigned from the board,” she said. “If I wanted to leverage my position, while raising money for congress, I would still be on the board."

Veronica Escobar released a statement to CBS4, ““We've said from the beginning that her allegations against us were baseless and a manufactured controversy. The fact that Mrs. Fenenbock was engaging in the behavior she dishonestly accused us of is the height of hypocrisy. But what is even more disturbing is that she used public resources to further her baseless political attacks. At this point, she no longer has any credibility. “

Fenenbock said auditing Byrd is the right move.

"To just give our community the peace of mind, the confidence, that there's been no leveraging a position for personal gain,” she said.

The school board will now find an external auditor to conduct the audit into Byrd.

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