Dolcefino Consulting has notified Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg we are filing a criminal complaint filing against Mayor Sylvester Turner, accusing him of illegally withholding public e-mails.
The e-mails at question involve Turner’s communications with his political confidante Maya Ford, who detailed possible ethical misconduct by city garbage boss Harry Hayes and big landfill companies.
Houston City Council today approved the recycling deal, despite evidence the city rigged the bid to exclude a company called Ecohub. Even the day before the bid was released, top city officials were warning it would exclude companies.
Ecohub founder George Gitschel had worked with the city for nearly six years on a plan to reduce garbage routes and save the city up to $40 million dollars a year. Gitschel even offered to share profits with the city to help get pay raises for Houston Firefighters.
“The Mayor has betrayed taxpayers today,” says Gitschel. “I worked with the city for years in good faith and kept my word they would be the first Ecohub in the country. I am disgusted and will fight to uncover the truth. Houstonians should be outraged at the secrecy. This deal is smellier than a landfill.”
Ecohub hired Dolcefino Consulting in December of 2016. For more than a year, the city has fought the release of records on city garbage contracts, even ignoring a Judge’s order to produce them for inspection last week. Instead, the city is using your tax-money to fight the release of records.
“Let me be clear. This is not the final chapter of this fight,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “I heard the Mayor says no one has questioned his transparency and fairness. Well we are, and we have notified the Mayor we are asking the District Attorney to do her job and subpoena these records immediately. We have proof he is hiding damaging records that protect his communications on an e-mail account registered to his law firm.”
On November 30, 2017 Dolcefino Consulting requested all e-mails sent between Turner and Maya Ford on any device since January 1, 2016.
The Mayor provided just a handful of e-mails.
“We have a smoking gun that he didn’t give them all to us,” says Dolcefino. “This is a mayor who didn’t fire his press secretary when she was caught covering up e-mail evidence she ran her production company on city time and city equipment. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
City council approved the 20-year deal with foreign recycling company FCC. Only council members Brenda Stardig, Mike Knox, and Michael Kubosh voted against the contract.
Councilman Michael Laster, who chairs the city council committee that reviewed the deal said he would have voted no as well, if he had been at the meeting.
“Every Council member who voted for this contract while this charade of secrecy exists will wear this ethics vote,” says Dolcefino.MAYOR-TURNER-CRIMINAL-COMPLAINT-01-10-2018
COH RESP DOCS 12-6-17
4 - Re TWEF Vendor Inclusion
a - Fwd CONFIDENTIAL IMPORTANT Full Story
b - Fwd FOLLOW UP ONE BIN FOR ALL
c - Fwd Thank You!
– Company asks for criminal investigation into Turner’s handling of emails Email
– Criminal complaint filed against Houston mayor after controversial $37M recycling contract approved for company
WHEN: 10:00 am, January 8, 2018
WHERE: Law Office of Lynn, Pinker, Cox and Hurst
2100 Ross Avenue, Suite 2700, Dallas, Texas 75201 (MAP)
A major news conference is scheduled at the law offices of Lynn, Pinker, Cox and Hurst Monday morning to announce the filing of a lawsuit in Lubbock against Texas Tech University.
The lawsuit accuses the University of withholding public records regarding the controversial firing of Mike Leach, which includes communications of the Board of Regents and former
Chancellor Kent Hance.
The lawsuit will be filed by Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting, the Houston based investigative communications firm hired by the former Coach to uncover the truth.
Attorneys Michael K. Hurst of Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst and Julie Pettit of The Pettit Law Firm will represent Dolcefino Consulting and detail the lawsuit at the morning news conference.
Michael K. Hurst says, “This case represents an example of abuse of power entrusted to Texas Tech as a governmental body, and about demanding accountability.”
“The public—including students, alumni, and taxpaying citizens—have a legal right to see the emails and investigative notes surrounding Coach Leach’s improper termination,” states Julie
Under Texas law, the writ of mandamus to gain access to public information is to be filed in Lubbock County, where the public records are located.
There is growing evidence Texas Tech fired Coach Mike Leach without a promised investigation, manipulated the firing, and the sworn affidavits of employees. An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has already uncovered new questions about the preparation of sworn affidavits created after the firing to justify the action, a questionable pay day for former Chancellor Kent Hance, and documents showing Regents were kept in the dark about the depth of fan protest after the controversial firing.
“Texas Tech has chosen to spend taxpayer money to keep the Leach records secret from students, parents, alumni, donors and Texas taxpayers,” says Dolcefino.
Leach filed suit against the University after his firing, but the case was dismissed because of a 100 year-old law in Texas called sovereign immunity. Leach says he was cheated out of $2.5
“A law that gives a public school the right to just cheat a coach, or a company out of money they are owed is beneath Texas,” says Dolcefino. “Regardless, it is time for the secrecy in
Lubbock to end. What are they afraid the public will see?”
The University has refused to release Regent phone records, details of expenditures of the football team, and e-mails between Hance and Kelly Overly, a former Tech foundation official.Petition_Filed
On Wednesday, January 3, 2018, Mayor Sylvester Turner wants Houston City Council to approve the secretive recycling contract with a foreign company FCC.
This $37 million-dollar, twenty-year deal is riddled with secrecy. The Mayor has illegally withheld public records, even from his own e-mails.
Dolcefino Consulting and ECOHUB filed a lawsuit to compel production of the records. The Mayor is spending tax money to fight the Judge’s order. The Mayor has refused to release the scoring sheets, or the names of the City employees who chose the company the Mayor wants. The proposed contract with FCC is being kept secret too.
ECOHUB isn’t the only company raising questions. Waste Management has headquarters here. 1,000 employees. They want to know how the world’s largest recycling company lost out in experience to FCC.
New court documents show the Mayor’s confidante, Maya Ford ignored legal requests to see her records. Ford called the court motion “silliness.” Ford e-mails already show she made allegations of possible ethics violations against City garbage boss, Harry Hayes. A court hearing to compel the records is set for January 30, 2018.
“Any City Councilmember who votes to approve this contract while the Mayor fights to keep this smelly deal secret is making a choice that will haunt them.” That is a promise, says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting. “Council should delay this vote until the records are made public. Taxpayers have a right to know the truth, whatever it is.”
Dolcefino Consulting has confirmed the FBI has begun interviewing former city employees involved in the recycling case, including the Mayor’s former Press Secretary, Janice Evans who fielded questions from the media about possible bid rigging in the contract.
ECOHUB was finalizing a contract to save the city up to $40 million dollars a year in garbage costs by recycling all the trash into new products when Turner came into office and killed the tax saving contract. There is evidence the Mayor wanted the company to be cut out of a new bid.
ECOHUB had almost $800 million dollars in private financing to build their plant, at no cost to Houston taxpayers, and promised to share profits.
“We will watch to see if any member of Council moves to delay this vote until the Mayor comes clean with the records”, says Dolcefino. “It is time to see who has the ethics to fight for taxpayers.”
New Houston City Hall e-mails detail efforts to rig a scandal plagued recycling bid set for a vote next week.
The e-mails obtained by Dolcefino Consulting offer the latest evidence Mayor Turner wanted to exclude Houston based ECOHUB from even having a chance to compete, despite the promise of hundreds of jobs and drastic reductions in the cost of garbage pickup.
Just one day before the City Hall issued the bids, Economic Boss, Andy Icken, had been kept in the dark about the final language. “RFP for recycling out tomorrow. Want to be sure this encourages maximum participation including ECOHUB.” Hours after the Icken e-mail, there was more evidence key City officials had been ignored. Icken writes, “Can we discuss concerns raised to me by Chris B and Steve Costello?” The proposal would have required ECOHUB to have an existing plant. The Mayor knew they did not and ultimately would be disqualified.
Deputy Director, Chris Butler, had been paid through a Bloomberg foundation grant to lead the ECOHUB effort, complained the terms in the proposal “cause some concern as they may be used to exclude certain proposals.”
ECOHUB founder, George Gitschel, filed a complaint just days after the City issued the proposal. The Turner administration simply ignored the protest for four months, never even responding to the detailed bid rigging complaint.
“Doesn’t that sound familiar,” says Dolcefino Consulting President, Wayne Dolcefino. “This is a Mayor who is fighting the release of e-mails that will document possible misconduct in the garbage department, is spending your tax money even fighting a Judge’s order to produce e-mails kept secret for a year.”
E-mails we do have, show an effort from the beginning to exclude ECOHUB from a fair shot at the contract, even though the company promised to save Houstonians $40 million dollars a year.
In April, former Chief Procurement Officer, John Gillespie was told Solid Waste Officials were against expanding the scope of the proposal, as it was their understanding, the Mayor did not support a “One Bin” type proposal. Hours later Houston garbage boss, Harry Hayes reported the “Mayor had declared One-Bin dead.”
The big question is WHY? ECOHUB had won an exhaustive bidding process unanimously, promising to reduce the wear and tear on garbage trucks by two-thirds, even offering to share profits with the City by recycling all trash into new products.
Houston City council members, Michael Kubosh and Steve Le ignored political threats to delay the vote before Christmas. Several council members want the e-mails released, but the Turner administration ignored State District Judge Kristen Hawkins’ order to produce the documents for her review.
The Mayor continues to illegally withhold government e-mails sent or received on his personal e-mail account, including warnings from a top advisor warning about possible sweetheart deals for landfill companies.
In June, the Mayor announced he wanted to award the contract to a foreign company called FCC, even though the contract would violate Houston First provisions. Waste Management, with thousands of employees and headquarters in Downtown Houston are also publicly complaining about the recycling deal.
“The Mayor has chosen secrecy over transparency. You got to ask yourselves. Why? says Dolcefino. We don’t even have the names of the City employees who evaluated the deal, or their scoring sheets. They should be released immediately. I’ll hold my breath.”
The vote on the 20-year recycling contract is set for next week. The e-mails identified in this report are available to the media upon request.
Mayor Sylvester Turner has now doubled down on secrecy, fighting a Judge’s order to turn over e-mails about a controversial recycling contract
The City Legal Department filed a notice of appeal late Thursday, clearly trying to hide the records until the 37-million-dollar contract with FCC is voted on by Houston City Council sometime next month.
‘The Mayor is showing his true colors. If this 20-year contract is such a great deal for Houstonians, let’s see the records”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. The Houston based Investigative Communications Firm sued the City to release records.
‘Every voter should be outraged. He’s spending your tax money to hide e-mails sent on computers you paid for, written by people who work for you”, says Dolcefino. “Maybe the Mayor has forgot who he works for.” Shameful.”
The recycling contract has stirred dramatic showdowns at Houston City Hall. A growing number of councilmen are saying they would support delaying the contract until the documents are released.
Dolcefino Consulting was hired to investigate and expose possible bid-rigging for this new contract. E-mails already show Mayor Turner and Solid Waste Boss Harry Hayes led an effort to make sure Ecohub couldn’t win the contract if they tried to bid. Ecohub was in the final stages of negotiating its own contract with the City before Turner came into office.
EcoHub had private money to build an 800 million-dollar plant that would have employed hundreds of Houstonians. The company wanted Houston’s garbage to recycle into new products, saving up to 40 million dollars a year by using just One Bin. Ecohub had even offered to share profits with the City to help pay for Hurricane Harvey cleanup and critical needs in the Houston Fire Department.
Instead, the Mayor killed the deal, kept Ecohub in the dark while bidding a new deal. The Mayor wants FCC to win the contract, a Spanish company owned in part by Democratic financier George Soros.
No word on when the appeal will be heard.
Dolcefino and Ecohub are being represented by Attorney Stewart Hoffer, of the law firm Hicks-Thomas.
“We know the City has been illegally keeping public records a secret, sometimes ignoring requests for months, says Dolcefino.
The vote on the FCC Contract is scheduled for January 3, 2018.
Dolcefino is available for interviews on Friday, December 21, 2017.
ECOHUB press conference video to delay Houston recycling contract vote with George Gitschel joined Houston attorney Stewart Hoffer and Wayne Dolcefino.
ECOHUB Founder George Gitschel joined Houston attorney Stewart Hoffer and Wayne Dolcefino, President of the Dolcefino Consulting firm at a Friday afternoon news conference to press for transparency before City Council is scheduled to vote on the deal.
Gitschel, The founder of Houston based ECOHUB, wants the scandal ridden Recycling contract vote delayed.
The press conference followed the court ordered production of e-mails the City of Houston has been fighting to keep secret, including e-mails from Mayor Sylvester Turner’s private e-mail account.
Judge Kristen Hawkins told City lawyers she is deeply troubled with the way the City has followed laws requiring the disclosure of public records. Judge Hawkins will inspect thousands of documents the City wants to withhold, including e-mails that will help show possible bid rigging and charges of possible corruption in City of Houston garbage contracts.
Following the court order, Houston City Councilmember Michael Kubosh was the first to call for a delay in the recycling contract vote until the e-mails are made public.
“It is time to find out why ECOHUB was kicked out of the chance to win this contract,” says Kubosh. “It is the right thing to do.”
ECOHUB has accused the Turner administration of rigging the recycling proposal to keep the company from participating. Turner killed a nearly completed contract with ECOHUB, even though the company was offering to save the City of Houston up to $40 million dollars a year in garbage costs.
The court order compels the City of Houston to produce e-mails illegally withheld from Dolcefino Consulting and ECOHUB by January 5, 2018. The judge has also ordered the City to turn over for her inspection, thousands of e-mails the Texas Attorney General has allowed the City to keep from the public.
“This is a major victory for the public’s right to know,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Houston taxpayers owe a debt of gratitude to Stewart Hoffer of Hicks Thomas law firm. I know we do. They have fought for transparency at Houston City Hall.”
At a court hearing this week, Hoffer proved the City was improperly hiding e-mails, including documents that detail possible bid rigging and ethical misconduct by Houston garbage boss Harry Hayes.
ECOHUB is a recycling firm that has offered to save the City of Houston up to $40 million dollars a year in recycling costs, eliminating two-thirds of garbage routes and the need for landfills. Instead of taking advantage of the offer to even share profits, Mayor Sylvester Turner has opted instead to give tax breaks to a Spanish firm and wants to give them a 20-year contract even though they will cost Houstonians millions more than necessary.
“It is not too late to delay this vote, so that Houstonians will know the whole truth,” says George Gitschel, founder of ECOHUB. “We stand ready to help Houston save millions of dollars and help the environment at the same time.”
The Mayor is scheduling a City Council vote on the controversial FCC Contract for Wednesday morning, despite growing complaints by Council Members that the process of picking the company is flawed. One of FCC’s owners is political power broker George Soros.
Judge Hawkins also reminded City lawyers the Mayor must turn over recycling records from his private e-mail account requested by Dolcefino Consulting.
“Judge Hawkins should be commended. Her ruling is a victory for the public right to know, for transparency, and for good government,” says Dolcefino.
Please contact Wayne Dolcefino at 713-360-6911 for interviews.
Dear Mayor Turner and Esteemed Council Members, we demand that you cancel the fatally flawed recycling contract being considered by the City Council. It’s a bad deal for Houston’s citizens that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. We want to support the environment, but we don’t want to pay a garbage tax to support business as usual.
We urgently request that you start a fair comprehensive zero waste bidding process, which must allow all options, including One Bin approaches, to be considered side-by-side under the same evaluation criteria.
Only then will we be assured that Houston residents are getting the best deal possible for their pocket books and the planet.
This petition will be delivered to:
Mayor Sylvester Turner
Council Member Stardig
Council Member Davis
Council Member Cohen
Council Member Boykins
Council Member Martin
Council Member Le
Council Member Travis
Council Member Cisneros
Council Member Gallegos
Council Member Laster
Council Member Green
Council Member Knox
Council Member Robinson
Council Member Kubosh
Council Member Edwards
Council Member Christie
A formal investigation of the Houston Community College recommends a criminal probe of at least one sitting Houston Community College Board Trustee, and recommends an axe be taken to exorbitant legal fees.
Dolcefino Consulting was hired in July by independently elected Board Member Dave Wilson to begin a review of HCC ethical practices.
“While we were working, HCC has already blown more than a quarter of a million dollars investigating itself, again,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “In typical HCC fashion the taxpayers don’t have a clue what they have done. It’s a swamp Washington would be proud of.”
Wednesday morning, HCC Trustee Dave Wilson was joined by Dolcefino to publicly release the first report and recommendations for an ethical cleaning of the tarnished education institution.
“We have spent a lot of time fighting with the Houston Community College over records. They don’t want you to see the truth, cuz it is ugly,” says Dolcefino. “We decided it was time to go public. Some of the fixes would be obvious to a kindergarten student.”
“I have paid for this review out of my own money because I respect being a public servant,” says Wilson. “HCC will remain a sick institution if we do not find our ethical compass. I am just one vote, but I promise to be a loud one for transparency and accountability.”HCC_REPORT
Expensive secrets. Why?
Why are Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten, and Patricia Murphy, the Presiding Judge of all the Ventura County Superior Courts fighting the search for the whole truth about the cost of a decades old court case?
“It’s time California taxpayers start asking some real tough questions,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of the Houston based investigative communications firm Dolcefino Consulting. Dolcefino is a long time investigative journalist who has exposed public corruption in dozens of cases. “Both the Judge and the District Attorney have some explaining to do.”
Dolcefino Consulting has been investigating how much California taxpayer money has been spent in the last few years fighting to keep secrets about a 28-year old misdemeanor court case. You have probably never even heard of it.
Now you will.
Sean Mireskandari was one of England’s most powerful lawyers and was investigating public corruption in London when his trouble started. The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA), the English version of our state bar, took away his license, in part because they claimed Mireskandari was a convicted criminal based on a 28-year old fraud case suddenly unearthed in Ventura County, California.
But what really happened?
Mireskandari called the investigation by the SRA in England a hit job, even accusing English investigators of perjured testimony. A criminal complaint was filed here in Houston. There’s even harsher criticism for the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, allegations they falsified the true results of the case. Mireskandari says he simply admitted not properly registering a company, hardly a reason to take away his law license.
Mireskandari has accused members of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office of accepting payoffs from England to help frame him. There is a big fight over whether the Ventura County court records are even real. Mireskandari has spent over a million dollars in the legal fight to prove he was framed.
“If there’s nothing to see here, why is the District Attorney’s Office playing so many games to keep records on this case a secret. We have been fighting with Ventura County for months. Why? Makes you real curious,” says Dolcefino.
Ventura County has spent an awful lot of California taxpayer money fighting to keep the whole Mireskandari story a secret, fighting our requests for public records, withholding important e-mails. Why fight, if there are no secrets?
One of the mysteries in the Mireskandari case is the old court record itself. Mireskandari hired top investigators to try to find it. They couldn’t. It was gone. Suddenly, more than a year later, those key court documents reappeared, supposedly found by a veteran Ventura County prosecutor by the name of Linda Groberg.
When did the old court records turn up? Right as Groberg was being forced to give sworn testimony in the lawsuit. There are accusations the new court record was a fake.
Those are serious charges.
Ventura County District Attorney Gregg Totten says he’s tough on corruption in his own office, but when we asked to see the records of the internal investigation in this case, we got nothing. Why wouldn’t the DA order a probe to get to the bottom of the charges?
To prove the court record was a fake, Mireskandari filed suit against the Ventura County Superior Court Clerk. That federal case has lasted for years and Ventura County brought in two big California law firms, Jones & Day and Cummings, McClorey, Davis and Acho, P.LC., to defend them.
So where are those bills? Just how much California tax money has been spent in this fight? We asked the law firms. We asked the courts. We asked the District Attorney. We asked the Presiding Judge.
All we got is a rather nasty letter from the Court Executive Officer, Michael Planet, telling us that the court “does not have any judicial administrative records responsive to your requests.”
“You’d think we were asking for state secrets,” says Dolcefino. Where are the bills? Did the law firms do it free? They really are simple questions. Taxpayers have a right to know. Period.”
The legal bills from the federal case may be a secret, but we do know Ventura County taxpayers already spent $74,000 dollars paying outside law firms to represent District Attorney Greg Totten’s office in this curious case. County attorneys also spent years on the case.
We asked to speak to Totten about the corruption charges leveled against his office and the growing cost of this decades old court case. His deputy told us no. The District Attorney has so far refused to even talk with us.
“Wouldn’t you think the District Attorney would want to clear the air on this case if there is nothing to see here,” asks Dolcefino? “They aren’t. They are fighting us big time. In my world that’s a big red flag.”