We have always suspected the deal to lease 23,000 acres of Galveston Bay to just one company for oyster harvesting was a classic case of home cooking.
Now we have the proof.
The General Manager of the Chambers Liberty County Navigation District (CLCND) admits under oath that officials of Jeri’s Seafood were allowed to be part of executive sessions closed to the public to present their oyster plans.
“The Texas Attorney General needs to send a task force of Open Meetings experts to Anahuac to help these yahoos,” says Wayne Dolcefino, the spokesman for oyster companies challenging the backroom oyster deal.
CLCND’s top executive Mary Beth Stengler also claimed she didn’t even know there were private companies given state permits to harvest oysters in the area, and never bothered to seek any competitive bids because she didn’t know there were any other oyster companies in Chambers County.
“The really sad thing for taxpayers is that these commissioners were played like a cheap fiddle, unless there was something else going on.”
CLCND leased the 23,000 acres to Sustainable Texas Oyster Resource Management (STORM), the company Jeri’s Seafood created for just $3.00 an acre.
The State of Texas has sued CLCND and STORM for cooking up the “illegal” lease, and STORM has already spent thousands of dollars lobbying legislators and paying legal bills.
“This is what happens when local bureaucrats let home cooking interfere with the best interest of taxpayers,” says Dolcefino.