Even a sacred cow like the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo can’t two-step around the law.
Dolcefino Consulting has filed a sworn criminal complaint Wednesday afternoon against the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, accusing the charity of illegally withholding public information.
“The rodeo only gives 10 percent of the tens of millions of dollars they get every year to help kids, and they think they can bull their way through our legal requests for charity information,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Sorry, that dog won’t hunt.”
The stonewalling began when Dolcefino Consulting sought financial records to find which big-wig Houston law enforcement officers are on the charity’s payroll. HPD and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department says they can’t find a single crime report during the entire rodeo event, even though more than two million folks go to the concerts each year. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo also wants to keep secret any payments made in the wake of sexual assaults or sexual harassment allegations.
Lawyers for HLSR have even gone to court trying to hide their charity records, worried our questions could hurt them in a case involving the brutal rape of a woman at a Los Vaqueros trail ride warm up event. There’s evidence Rodeo officials let one of the suspects keep riding in the parade even after learning about the criminal case.
Dolcefino Consulting expanded our investigation in recent days, asking for financial records that will expose the millions the Houston based charity is investing in foreign countries, instead of Texas.
Our new requests for charity information include a closer look at the $1 million dollars the Houston rodeo spends every year on lobbying politicians.
The rodeo doesn’t dispute that only a dime out of every dollar really goes to help get Texas schoolkids scholarships. In a recent interview with the Texas Monitor, a Livestock Show spokesmen admitted their core mission really isn’t scholarships but promoting agriculture.
“I’m a Texan and I have cows living right next to my subdivision in Katy, so I am a huge fan of agriculture, says Dolcefino, “But tax returns tell me the Rodeo is worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars, so perhaps they could squeeze out a few more scholarships for needy kids next year instead of investing all that money in the Caribbean, don’t you think?”
Former Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson filed criminal charges against the Cypress Creek EMS charity when it refused to turn over financial records. It will be interesting to see if Kim Ogg follows the law too.