The Tab for Mayor Turner’s Secrecy
For more than two years, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner fought to keep e-mails about Houston’s controversial recycling deals a secret from taxpayers.
Houston taxpayers may soon have to pay for the Mayor’s game.
Attorneys for Dolcefino Consulting have asked 11th District Court Judge Kristen Hawkins to order the City of Houston to pay $125,000 in legal fees for the lawsuit that was filed after the City violated the Texas Public Information Act.
“I think the Mayor should have to use his own money to pay this bill,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “His deception is to blame for this two-year long fight.”
Houston City Council has not been kept updated about the growing costs of the legal battle.
The e-mail court battle began after Turner trashed a deal with a company called ECOHUB that wanted to recycle all of Houston’s garbage into new products and share profits. The Bloomberg Foundation had awarded the city a $1 million grant to pursue the technology that promised the need for only one garbage bin and to eventually end the need for expensive landfills.
Dolcefino Consulting was hired to investigate and expose the back-room deal.
The emails Dolcefino Consulting has uncovered show Mayor Turner’s garbage director Harry Hayes was already soliciting a foreign company FCC to build a recycling plant in Houston – nearly a year before the city even issued a request for bids.
FCC, a company headquartered in Spain, won the bidding war despite allegations by City Council members of potential favoritism by the Mayor.
In 2017, Mayor Turner falsely claimed he was unaware of any emails being withheld. Since then, Mayor Turner has gone so far as to ignore a court order to release the documents. The city’s legal department finally released the rest of the hidden e-mails over the last several weeks.
No date is yet set for the judge’s decisions on legal fees.