Man Crush In Kemah
I’ve heard a lot of explanations for our investigations into public officials but this is a first. A man crush?
“What are you disclosing Wayne? He’s not disclosing anything,” said WCID 12 President Matt Wiggins.
What we’ve disclosed in Kemah in recent weeks is no laughing matter. In fact, it may be a crime.
“We’ve seen our fire department assessment bill skyrocket there,” said John Bowen, a business owner in Kemah.
We listened as Kemah Diesel repair shop oner John Bowen complained about the sudden and staggering increase in the cost of fire protection.
“To suddenly spring this on somebody with this obscure little document just doesn’t seem right to, you know, business owners in this community,” Bowen said.
Kemah business owners had a right to cry foul.
“Galveston County Water Control and Improvement District 12 meeting will convene,” Wiggins said.
Matt Wiggins, the President of the WCID 2 Board had even boasted he had handmade many of the changes by himself to individual bills at the last minute.
“I’ve gone through the, our billing on commercial stuff which has been an issue for a long, long time and last Friday I found an additional 10,000 a month,” Wiggins said.
Like every other resident of Kemah, other board members were seeing these numbers for the very first time just minutes before they approved them.
“These are all, all of these?” Board member Doug Meisinger asked at the meeting.
Maybe Doug Meisinger should have made sure they were right.
“We don’t have anything to hide,” Wiggins said.
Actually by January Matt Wiggins was already hiding the growing fallout of the bad math used on a lot of fire bills. Take 1304 Kipp A. It was listed as a commercial property, the new fire fee set at $60 a month. It was a residential home. The increase, 500 percent, wrong.
“Should be ten,” Wiggins wrote in an email. “Who changed it?”
Uh, it was on that document you said you reviewed. And there’s a lot more where that came from. Our investigative report on Facebook brought out of lots of comments.
“Mine went up several hundred dollars. Can we opt out of fire support? I’ll put my own fire out,” said one commenter.
“Someone needs to be fired,” said another commenter.
“I recuse all the time. In fact, I hardly ever vote,” Wiggins said.
“Ok, but you voted on the fire thing,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
“No I think I recused myself that night. I probably did not,” Wiggins said.
The minutes of that meeting prove Matt Wiggins did not recuse himself on the vote that night, even though the cost of fire protection on some of his own properties were changed.
“Did any of your properties go down?” Dolcefino said.
“I don’t think I messed with any of mine,” Wiggins said.
Someone did. Wiggins’ properties stand to save thousands of dollars after the changes. And we found at least two of his commercial properties are billed residential rates.
“The fun never stops at Kemah Boardwalk.”
Wiggins also owned some of the land the Kemah Boardwalk sits on, some of the biggest tourist attractions in town.
Like the Aquarium Restaurant. It will somehow pay less now. The 54-room Kemah Boardwalk Inn is scheduled to save $5,000 a month.
We tried to get some answers from Chris Richardson. His law firm billed $3,600 in September and their job here is make sure all the stuff done here is done legally.
“I’m doing the best I can,” said WCID attorney Chris Richardson.
Didn’t mean to stress you out. But it’s clear Matt Wiggins doesn’t spend much time worrying about state law.
“I don’t read the statutes,” Wiggins said.
Kemah Mayor Terri Gale was at that September meeting too. She says she has no intention of asking Wiggins to resign.
Since our video we’ve been attacked too. Shanna Flynn complained, “Seems like the real mystery is why he chose to take a cheap shot.”
It’s nice to know the source of these complaints. Flynn is the girlfriend of the new fire chief who was handpicked by Wiggins.
Another poster went even farther, suggesting my real motive for exposing the chaos in Kemah was because I have a man crush on Wiggins. Yeah, that’s it.
I had investigated Wiggins after he helped deprive Hispanic families from rebuilding their homes after Hurricane Ike. Wiggins wanted to buy the properties at a discounted rate. My kind of guy.
It was nice to even see Wiggins among our viewers.
“The list still needs to be audited,” he confessed. “I will be asking the WCID 12 board to hire an outside accounting firm or law firm to examine all of my accounts to determine if there has been any wrongdoing associated with my accounts.”
“But Mr. Wiggins misses the point. If you weren’t sure the numbers were right why did you change the bills in the first place? Or maybe that’s funny too,” Dolcefino said.
The next meeting of the WCID 12 Board is Monday February 17. But if you want to help decide your water and fie bills in Kemah you have until Friday afternoon to run for office. Here’s the best news: You apparently don’t even know how to add.
Watch our previous video