The innovative recycling firm Ecohub will ask State District Judge Kristen Hawkins next week to order the City of Houston to produce e-mails sent or received by Houston garbage boss Harry Hayes.
Hicks Thomas’ attorney, Stewart Hoffer wants to view the e-mails under a protective order as allowed under the Texas Public Information Act. State law allows this type of inspection. Hoffer will not be allowed to share the contents of the e-mails with the public, or even his clients.
“It is time for the City of Houston to honor the public right to know”, says Hoffer.” If the City of Houston has nothing to hide, then they shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money-fighting to keep e-mails secret, especially after Hurricane Harvey, where fiscal responsibility will be paramount in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, the law allows our firm to inspect every e-mail that is responsive to Echohub’s numerous prior requests, and we hope that Judge Hawkins will see things our way.”
The City of Houston has fought for more than 10 months to keep e-mails about garbage and recycling contracts secret. Ecohub was chosen to turn Houston garbage into new products, but Mayor Turner never told the company he was going to start over and choose an entirely different company. The move prompted allegations of bid rigging and favoritism for the company eventually chosen.
The records were requested by Dolcefino Consulting, the Houston based Investigative Communications Firm run by Investigative Reporter Wayne Dolcefino.
“The Mayor has the power to release all these records today. In fact, there is evidence the City of Houston has provided false information to the Texas Attorney General about these records,” says Dolcefino. “The Mayor’s lack of transparency on the use of tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money is unacceptable.”
The court hearing will be held Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 2:00pm in the courtroom of the 55th District Court, on the ninth floor of the Civil Court house at 201 Caroline Street, Houston, TX.