El Monte Sells Old Street Signs after a Bad Business Deal

by San Antonio Attorney

El Monte lost $180,000 in a bad business deal with BMR Digital, which is now bankrupt. The city is trying to recover a portion of what it lost a year ago on a project that was supposed to install new street signs.

El Monte plans to sell the old street signs to locals for $20 per piece. Councilman Bart Patel explained that they want to give the residents a chance to have “a piece of nostalgia”. There are many people who are interested in the old street signs. They could be sold for approximately $20,000.

The city has received criticism when it became publicly known that it was spending twice the amount of what it should for the street signs replacement.

The issue began in 2010, when it paid $178,674 to BMR Digital for the 2,000 signs it was supposed to manufacture. But in spite of getting the complete payment, BMR never installed the new signs. Then it filed for bankruptcy. The city had to spend another $190,000 to pay a different company to make the street signs. Almost all of the new signs are now installed.

It was revealed that among the BMR Digital investors were four former and current employees of the city and a sibling of previous El Monte manager Rene Bobadilla. But those investors claimed they also lost money and were victims of the company’s bankruptcy. Each of them lent $25,000 or more in the company based on court documents filed. The terms of the loan included a ten percent interest for each of the investors.

Patel believes that there was collusion because city employees had a financial stake in BMR. The investigation about what happened is still ongoing.

For the time being, El Monte has filed its claims with the bankruptcy court to try to recover even just a portion of what it lost from the project that failed.

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