This is no Aesop’s fable. It is yet another story about Houston City Hall and how it is making deals with your money you never get to see.
So who is the goose that laid the golden egg?
It is the growing Houston First Corporation, the city tourist bureaucracy that has been loosening the definition of the mission in the last year. It now owns much of the theatre district, and the appointed officials in charge are now directing money to economic development, helping develop lucrative retail shopping around an expanding convention center.
They are spending a lot of your money, even though politicians like to tell you hotel tax money we get from out of towners is kind of like play money, not really yours.
But because they are spending your tax money, Houston First has to comply with the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Today, Tuesday August 25, 2015, Dolcefino Consulting has filed a formal criminal complaint with the Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, alleging Houston First officials have engaged in a conspiracy to avoid transparency.
An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has uncovered significant evidence top officials of Houston First have a “secret committee,” illegally meeting to direct the spending of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.
“You will love the name of this committee,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The Master Plan Selection Committee. Sounds like the people who named it must think it is pretty important. All the more reason to know what they do.”
And that is part of the mystery. Houston First will not tell Dolcefino Consulting how the committee was formed. Who picked the members? There meetings are not posted. There are no certified agendas. No minutes. Yet we have found documents that prove the Master Planners may be running more of your city that you know with the knowledge of Houston First lawyers.
We do know the committee includes the Chairman of the Houston First Corporation Ricard Campo. The committee had as many as five Houston First Board Members on it, along with Andy Icken.
You should know his name, because he is the most powerful unelected official in town. Andy Icken is the Chief Development Officer for Mayor Parker, and oversees just about everything, including Houston First.
It is Andy Icken who calls Houston First “the goose that laid the golden egg.”
Maybe it is because they do such a good job promoting Houston. Maybe because Houston First is part of the growing city bureaucracies that City Hall hopes you don’t see.