Home News COVID-19 Situation Best accuses Oropesa of reporting local business

Best accuses Oropesa of reporting local business

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A Roswell city councilor denied he reported a COVID-19 business violation to the state and challenged his accuser — another City Council member — to prove he did. He later said his wife had sent emails with concerns about a local business to the state.

Ward 3 City Councilor Jeanine Best wrote a post on her personal Facebook account Monday accusing Ward 1 Councilor Juan Oropesa of trying to close down a business and saying he was hurting the local economy.

Best wrote in a public Facebook post Monday on her personal account, “When your City Councilor calls the ‘Snich’ line, to turn in a business ‘TWICE’ to closed them down.(was confirmed) You have voted for the wrong man. …”

She also shared the post, which was accompanied by a photo of Oropesa, in several Roswell-oriented Facebook groups.

When asked if he reported any business, “No, not at all,” Oropesa said Tuesday afternoon.

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He challenged Best to show how she had confirmed that he had.

“I would like for her to produce whatever proof she says she has that I personally did that. I don’t think you can prove something that hasn’t happened,” he said.

“I can make up a story about her and say it’s confirmed. It’s pretty easy to say that,” he said.

Best told the Daily Record on Wednesday morning the business owners had confirmed verbally to her the report came from Councilor Oropesa. She did not see any documents with that information and would not name the business.

“I had two confirmations. Two different people,” she said.

“If you want to call it word of mouth, but they’re very trusted sources that I’ve done business with for years,” she said.

Best is a fourth-generation Chaves County rancher and has owned and operated several businesses in Roswell.

Oropesa contacted the Daily Record Wednesday morning to clarify his wife, Corrine, who had sent emails through a personal account concerning a local business.

“She’s a person that has every right to speak out in this community and I don’t curtail her right to do that,” Oropesa said.

“We don’t have a relationship where she has to ask my permission to do something,” he said, adding he did not worry about the political repercussions of his wife’s opinions.

Best said that while at City Council meetings, she and Oropesa show no animosity, they do differ in their thinking and she criticized him in her post as “killing the economy.”

“If you want to say Democrat versus Republican, you can kind of say it that way. But I am for all of the citizens of Roswell. I am for all of Roswell, to keep Roswell moving forward, like I said in my post,” she said.

Best wrote that Oropesa “is working against you and the growth of Roswell. He always wants to make things free, low cost to the public.”

She continued, “Little does he know if these business falter, close that there will no longer be taxes paid. Whether it is property tax, GRT, city license, etc. … these Businesses will be lost forever.

“He is killing the economy! He is slowly killing Roswell. He is not for you, the people. BUT … We are stuck with him for 4 more years. Thank you Ward 1 voters,” Best wrote, and mentioned that much of Ward 1 includes downtown Roswell.

Oropesa said he took an oath to abide by federal, state and city rules, and that he represents more than just the businesses of downtown Roswell.

“I also said that I would represent all the constituents in a fair and equitable manner. I have to look at the people I’m getting calls from that are very afraid that people are not wearing masks. I have to think about those people as well,” he said.

Statistics about COVID-19 have shown the elderly and minorities are especially at risk for the disease, Oropesa said.

“Those are the kinds of things that I’m taking into consideration when I look at the situation as far as economics is concerned. Truthfully, if people die off, it doesn’t matter whether the business is open or not. They’re not going to have a clientele anyway,” he said.

Best said it’s important to allow businesses to open to keep the tax base supporting the city’s services, including quality of life offerings, which she suggested at the May 15 City Council meeting might have to be temporarily shut down or begin charging fees until the economy recovers.

“We have to keep our people working and the tax base rolling because Roswell is a business and the business has to have income,” she said.

“We’re in a situation where we’re running blind and our ancestors didn’t leave us anything to follow,” she said. “We’re kind of learning it ourselves and yes, he should not turn the people in.”

Oropesa, who was recently re-elected to a third term, said he would not respond on Facebook to Best’s accusations but would discuss it if she brought her proof to a City Council meeting.

“I don’t want to waste my time playing little games like that. If she has proof, then put it on the table,” he said. “I don’t want to get into an argument over social media. If she has something to say, then say it at council and let the public decide for themselves.”

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.