Harris County ESD No. 11 issues counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS for $20 million

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 filed a counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS on Jan. 22. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 filed a counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS on Jan. 22. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 filed a counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS on Jan. 22. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 has filed a counterclaim against Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, according to the district’s special counsel, Brian Trachtenberg.

Trachtenberg said the district filed the counterclaim Jan. 21. According to the counterclaim, the district is suing the EMS for about $20 million in “missing and stolen taxpayer funds.” The district points to alleged overbilling and unaccounted funds cited in an audit from PKF Texas, which showed evidence of employees being coded as under different departments on payroll, unequal payroll allocations from ESD No. 11, inefficiencies in CCEMS’ operations when compared to competitors, billing anomalies such as overpayments and overrefunds, and about $10 million in unaccounted funds.


“CCEMS cannot get away with this scheme to line its coffers just months before its contract with the District is set to terminate and its public funding is cut off for good,” the claim said. “Therefore, the District brings these counterclaims to put an end to CCEMS’s abuse of its taxpayers’ money.”

CCEMS CEO Wren Nealy has said the audit was limited and that many of the issues it found could have been answered if CCEMS had been asked to help. In a Jan. 22 press release, Nealy criticized the counterclaim as a misuse of taxpayer funds.

“We still have not been given the [PFK audit] report, nor have we been given the opportunity to answer any of the questions raised by the auditor that have simple explanations,” Nealy said. “It is blatantly obvious to us that regardless of the outcome of this PKF audit, commissioners were going to find any excuse to spend more taxpayer dollars suing us, a non-profit entity, beyond the millions they have already spent to needlessly stand up their own 911 service.”



CCEMS originally filed suit against the district when the commissioners voted to withhold 30% of CCEMS’ monthly payments for not complying with district orders and outstanding employee insurance payments. A judge ruled the district may not withhold payments Nov. 30.

By Andy Li
Originally from Boone, North Carolina, Andy Li is a graduate of East Carolina University with degrees in Communication with a concentration in Journalism and Political Science. While in school, he worked as a performing arts reporter, news, arts and copy editor and a columnist at the campus newspaper, The East Carolinian. He also had the privilege to work with NPR’s Next Generation Radio, a project for student journalists exploring radio news. Moving to Houston in May 2019, he now works as the reporter for the Conroe/Montgomery edition of Community Impact Newspaper.


MOST RECENT

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The gumbo pie is a House of Roux original. (Courtesy House of Roux)
House of Roux coming soon to Old Town Spring

The new cafe will offer traditional Cajun cuisine for lunch and dinner with menu items ranging from boudin to gumbo pie—a House of Roux original.

The concept, which is subject to change, would provide walking trails, a running track, pavilions for gathering, barbecue equipment, workout equipment and possibly a dog park facility, Walkoviak said. (Courtesy Cy-Champ PUD)
Cy-Champ Public Utility District places $5.6M park bond on May 1 ballot

The proposed bond is a continuation of a $7 million park bond previously approved by voters in 2005 that fully funded the development of Cy-Champ Park, which opened at the intersection of Cutten and Hargrave Roads in 2008.

The project included the addition of newly landscaped areas, complimentary surface parking, LED lighting and new entry signage as well as the removal of several former retail and multipurpose buildings on HCA's 21-acre campus to allow for more green space near the hospital's main entrance. (Courtesy HCA Houston Healthcare Northwest)
HCA Houston Healthcare Northwest unveils multimillion-dollar campus beautification project

The project included the addition of newly landscaped areas, complimentary surface parking, LED lighting and new entry signage as well as the removal of several former retail and multipurpose buildings on HCA's 21-acre campus to allow for more green space near the hospital's main entrance.

Officials said the district has spent millions on pandemic-related needs. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Cy-Fair ISD: Federal stimulus funds needed to help cover $227M in unexpected pandemic-related expenses

According to data from Cy-Fair ISD, the district has incurred nearly $227 million in unexpected costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Homes priced above $750,000, such as this one in the Heights, saw a surge in sales in March, with almost twice as many properties sold. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Average Houston single-family home price jumps 20% in March

The average sale price for a home in March was $370,847.

Following Tuesday's unanimous board approval, the 2021-22 instructional calendar for Clark Primary and Clark Elementary schools will run July 19-June 22. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Spring ISD extends 2021-22 instructional calendar, school day for select campuses

Following Tuesday's unanimous board approval, the 2021-22 instructional calendar for Clark Primary and Clark Elementary schools will run July 19-June 22.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

Spearheaded by state Rep. Gene Wu, D-Houston, the new court, if established, would expand the capacity of the county's criminal court system in hopes of reducing its backlog, which stood at 70,951 total cases pending before criminal district courts in Harris County as of April 8. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Harris County supports creation of new criminal district court to tackle case backlog

If the efforts are successful, this would be Harris County's first new criminal district court since 1984 when the 351st District Court was created.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.