A question of ethics


Early on in the Highway 6 landfill fight, Hempstead Mayor Michael Wolfe says he had two visitors representing garbage company Green Group. Wolfe says they came to convince him to support the proposed 17 story tower of trash. The Mayor didn’t.

One of the visitors was Patricia Shipton, then a registered lobbyist for Green Group. Shipton is now Chief of Staff to the Texas Speaker of the House.

The other was Houston State Representative Senfronia Thompson.

Ask yourself this question? Why would an African- American lawmaker want to help a garbage company put a giant dump in a place that would help ruin the economic future of places like Hempstead or Prairie View, predominantly minority communities? Green Group has been accused of environmental racism, and not just there…

Remember hundreds of Prairie View students marching in protest against the dump?

Could it have been the money?

We know Green Group has already spent millions in the quest to darken Highway 6 with a huge landfill. We know they have a lot of former TCEQ Officials on the pad.

What taxpayers should now is how much, if anything, they paid Senfronia Thompson, and are there other lawmakers that have been, or are on Green Group’s payroll?

We tried to ask Representative Thompson how much she may have been paid by Green Group to use her influence, but shockingly she did not call us back.

But we’ve still got lots of questions.

Don’t expect the state financial disclosure laws to help. In our view, they are intentionally useless.

We checked six years of Rep Thompsons Financial Disclosures. No mention of Green Group.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.

There is also no mention of the tax collection firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson.

A CNN Money investigation claims Thompson has been paid 2 million dollars as a minority subcontractor by the tax collection firm.

By law, State Lawmakers must disclose if they have lobbied a state agency, but they don’t have to disclose the work they do for local governments on state disclosure forms, and that’s where a lot of the big money seems to be flowing.

Look at contracts at the Houston airport, HISD, The City of Houston, Harris County Community College.

Don’t be surprised if you find a politician getting a piece of the affirmative action pie. Big slices.

Imagine if lawmakers, especially the lawyers, had to disclose every client that paid them, who also could be affected by legislation or the action of state agencies they regulate. That would be actual transparency.

What we have now is a joke.

A check of Harris County court records show Thompson has only been the lawyer on one civil, family or criminal case filed since 2006. One lawsuit in ten years.

Anytime Senfronia Thompson wants to chat about Green Group, we will be glad to update.