Mayor Turner tries to hide use of hurricane disaster money

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Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner now wants to hide the use of payments to the biggest disaster contractors in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The City of Houston Legal Department is asking the Texas Attorney General to withhold details of how money has been spent by contractors Tetra Tech and DRC, including who is on their payroll.

“This Mayor is officially a serial abuser of the public right to know,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “He hides phone records, he hides emails and now he seems to think taxpayers and hurricane victims don’t have a right to make sure this disaster money is properly spent.”

So far, the City of Houston has spent $139 million. More than half, $75 million, has gone to outside contractors. Two of the biggest recipients are Tetra Tech and DRC. Dolcefino Consulting requested documents detailing the use of the money and who was paid with the money.

“This request is based on documented history of political funny business in hurricane money. After Hurricane Ike, relatives of both the Liberty and Chambers County Judge benefited from disaster money,” says Dolcefino. “We already know Mayor Turner’s long-time law partner will be paid millions from money to help Hurricane victims. This process must be transparent now that more than a billion more dollars are being delivered to this Mayor.”

Investigations by Dolcefino Consulting already show Mayor Turner gave contracts to hurricane vendors who gave campaign money before the storm, and he is still accepting contributions from contractors benefiting from disaster funds.

The Mayor has accepted more than $100,000 from vendors benefiting from Hurricane Harvey contracts, even though only a tenth of the money has been allocated.

New campaign reports are due out this week.

“Obviously City of Houston contractors will get much of this money, and that’s the way it should be,” says Dolcefino. “Taxpayers have a right to account for every dime of it.”