Linebarger must be laughing

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What are the odds two candidates for Mayor of the City of Houston would have cashed in from the very same government contractor?

It is time for Bill King and Sylvester Turner to spill the beans about their dealings with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson, LLP.  The tax collection firm is linked to ongoing federal corruption investigations in both Houston and Dallas, and was the target of a CNN Money investigation earlier this year.

The article details Bill King as one of the tax collectors who cashed in big time when he left LGB&S. The story features a picture of King on his yacht named “Hard Times.” Ironically, King made his money from a company that took homes from working families who had fallen on ‘hard times.’

King also managed the 2012 HISD Bond election. A Linebarger lobbyist was a key figure in securing campaign contributions from school contractors who stood to benefit from the bond.  E-mails show King also played a role in monitoring how much school contractors were handing over.

“Bill King has never fully explained why he was on the payroll of HISD while working on the bond campaign,” says Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall. “And his conduct in the HISD bond election only demonstrates he is willing to play in the ‘pay to play’ culture that we must reject.  Is that the way he would run Houston City Hall?”

As managing partner of Linebarger’s Houston Office, was King involved in payments to Houston lawmakers?  The media should find out.

In 2003, the Texas legislature allowed tax collectors to add a 30% fee to unpaid court fines for things like speeding tickets.

Sylvester Turner’s law firm Barnes & Turner, has cashed in as a result. It’s collected more than $800,000 dollars from City of Houston contracts from municipal court collections.

For years, Turner’s firm was listed as an affirmative action contractor for the HISD contract. Linebarger claimed it was sharing 25% of the multi-million dollar contract with minority and women owned firms.

Last year, HISD discovered the Linebarger reports were false, and since then the company hasn’t shared a penny of their big contract with a single minority firm.

You would think Sylvester Turner would be demanding that stop.  Instead he has been silent.

In 2012, Sylvester Turner opposed the HISD Bond election, but then suddenly changed his mind.  He should disclose if he met with the Linebarger lobbyist trying to help HISD pass the bond election.

It is a small world, isn’t it?

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