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First, Judge Lina Hidalgo. Now, Mayor Sylvester Turner - Allegations of Corruption / Bid-Rigging.

Updated: 5 days ago

First, we had Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo's highly dubious award of $11 million dollars in pandemic relief funds to "Elevate Strategies LLC", reportedly a "one-woman" company created by, and utilizing, former and current Democratic political operatives. The resulting media scrutiny and political fallout from the implied contract bid-rigging and cronyism forced Judge Hidalgo to later rescind that contract. As far as I know, this matter is not currently under investigation (but it should be). For more details, please click on the link below:


Of Concern: County Judge Lina Hidalgo and the $11 Million Dollar "Elevate Strategies LLC" Contract (harriscountydemocrats.com)


Now, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's own Housing Director, Tom McCasland, publicly accused the Mayor of contract bid-rigging. In summary, McCasland alleged Mayor Turner bypassed the competitive bid process (and a superior bid) in order to award a $15 million dollar housing development contract to benefit his former law firm partner, Barry Barnes. In response to this "whistle-blower" complaint, Mayor Turner immediately fired Director McCasland and then denied any wrong-doing. This bid-rigging complaint is now under investigation by the Texas General Land Office, which has oversight authority over the housing development funding source (Hurricane Harvey relief money). For more on this story, please see the links below:


Houston Housing Director Fired After Accusing Sylvester Turner Of Awarding $15 Million To Favored Developer – Houston Public Media


'No Fraud. No Conflict,' says Mayor in response to bid-rigging allegation (fox26houston.com)


Editorial: Tell the truth, Mayor Turner. Why the 'charade' over wasteful housing contract? (houstonchronicle.com)


Houston Mayor orders review of controversial housing deal (fox26houston.com)


Grieder: Houston City Council should insist on answers from Mayor Turner in housing deal flap (msn.com)


Frankly, I am very concerned about the lack on transparency in the contract selection and procurement process in both city and county government. Based on these media reports, it appears our local officials are circumventing the established competitive bid process and anti-corruption safeguards in order to funnel millions of federal relief dollars to their cronies. So, are these corruption allegations true? If so, are these isolated incidents, or just the tip of the iceberg? To restore public confidence in local government and our elected officials, I urge Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg to investigate these allegations and let the chips fall where they may. Before the upcoming 2022 election season, Harris County voters need, and deserve, some candid answers.


UPDATE 10/5/21: Good news. The Harris County District Attorney's Office is now looking into the City's procurement policies. Please click on the link below for more information.


13 Investigates: Harris County District Attorney's Office opens probe into city of Houston's procurement policies - ABC13 Houston


UPDATE 10/11/21: After intense media scrutiny and the launch of a probe by the District Attorney's Office, Mayor Sylvester Turner has now decided to drop his support for the controversial housing development contract (see link below). I fully support that decision. After all, attempted corruption is better than completed corruption, right?


Mayor Turner drops support for controversial housing deal (yahoo.com)


13 Investigates: City hides details in documents as council passes on housing probe (msn.com)


Houston Council Member Calls for Texas Rangers to Investigate Mayor Turner's Housing Department | The Texan


UPDATE 11/23/21: The Texas General Land Office (GLO) completed their review and found that the City of Houston's current affordable housing program competitive bid process is not fair or open, with the City (Mayor Turner and/or his administration) ignoring their own bid scoring system and awarding development contracts to whomever they want (thus the corruption scandal above). The GLO will require the City of Houston to implement significant reforms before receiving more federal funds under the Hurricane Harvey housing program. For more information, please click on the links below:


Millions of dollars at risk in Houston after GLO review of Houston housing (msn.com)


GLO review finds city Harvey housing program ‘undermines’ competitive process (houstonchronicle.com)


FOR MORE POSTS, please routinely check HarrisCountyDemocrats.com.

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