Whether you are on the tear it down crowd or the turn it into an indoor park crowd, I bet you agree the public has every right to know how much of our tax money is going to be part of the Astrodome deal.
So why are public officials trying to keep the negotiations secret?
What are we missing? Don’t you own the place?
Dolcefino Consulting has learned that as much as $30 million in city tax money may be used to help fund an Astrodome deal, part of some kind of trade of assets between the Houston First Corporation and the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, who will then use the money to renovate the Dome.
For those losing track of the growing number of corporations set up by Houston City Hall and Harris County Commissioners to spend our money, here is a scorecard.
Houston First is a government corporation set up by Houston City Hall to run the convention center/theatres and spend hotel tax money.
The Harris County Sports Corporation is a government corporation created by Harris County and runs NRG Park, home of the Dome.
In recent days, both agencies have refused to give up e-mails between Sports Corporation President Edgardo E. Colon and Houston First Chairman Ricard Campo. The Sports Corporation first had an outside law firm tell us we would get the e-mails from Houston First. Then Houston First withheld the Dome dealings, and days later the Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan declared every e-mail between the two public officials were some big secret. We would expect nothing less from the distinguished County Attorney, who fights every request Dolcefino Consulting makes.
Houston First isn’t a bastion of total open government either. Dolcefino Consulting filed a criminal complaint this week alleging Campo and others met in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act, another one of those silly transparency laws.
“It is time for the Mayor and County Judge to come clean so the public knows what this deal will cost” says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting. “Not after the deal is done, but before. Maybe it is a smart investment? Maybe the county corporation will eventually repay the city corporation from all the money they make. What is with all the secrecy? These are two government agencies who work for us.”
Just think, a renovated Dome may spur on all kinds of development around the Astrodome, which may be exactly what some of the players are betting on.