Dolcefino Consulting is now asking State District Judge Kristen Hawkins to hold the city of Houston in contempt for its continued conspiracy to hide the public records of the Mayor’s smelly recycling deal.
The city is not only ignoring her court order from March, but also hasn’t released the records, even though the First Court of Appeals says the fight belongs in Houston.
The City of Houston continues to hide e-mails showing how the Mayor and his garbage boss buddy, Harry Hayes, decided to stop contract negotiations with ECO-HUB, a company offering to take all of the city’s trash and turn it into new products, eventually eliminating the need for expensive landfills.
Not only was the company offering to save the city tens of millions of dollars a year, but ECO-HUB had more than $800 million of their own money to build a plant.
The deal wouldn’t have cost taxpayers a penny!
Dolcefino Consulting is asking for fines and legal fees of more than $25,000. By seeking criminal and civil sanctions, Judge Hawkins could decide to put someone at City Hall in jail.
Isn’t that what they do with folks found in contempt?
“We eventually need to have a hearing under oath to find out who at City Hall is directing this illegal behavior. My guess – it’s Sly Turner. If we have to put him in jail to get the truth so be it,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
EcoHub founder George Gitschel had even offered to share profits with City Hall to help for raises for Houston firefighters.
That would come in handy right about now.
Mayor Turner has ordered a hiring freeze on Houston firefighters after voters overwhelmingly approved a big pay increase for them at the ballot box.
“I’ve got an idea Mayor Turner,” says Dolcefino. “Stop whining that we don’t have enough money to pay our first responders while you waste more taxpayer money and precious legal resources fighting to hide the truth.”
Dolcefino Consulting wants the City fined $50 a day until they comply with the court order.
They’ve been ignoring the order for 228 days already.
The money would go to the District Clerk, but it should go to reimburse the ridiculous cost of having to have an election to give our first responders fair pay.
The new legal action was filed by Stewart Hoffer, a lawyer with the Houston based Hicks Thomas law firm. Hoffer has waged a year-long courtroom effort to help Dolcefino Consulting expose the truth.
Doesn’t it make you all warm and fuzzy during the holiday season to know that your Mayor is wasting tax payer’s money on a simple request for public information?
Mayor Turner has tried to hide records of his controversial recycling contracts for nearly two years. The First Court of Appeals has now dealt his secrecy a major blow.
Turner had chosen to ignore a ruling by State District Judge Kristen Hawkins to show her the e-mails City Hall wanted to hide from the public. Now the case goes back to the same judge.
The e-mails will chronicle the Mayor’s efforts to deny ECOHUB the contract to recycling all of the city’s garbage. The company had promised to save the City millions and share profits to help pay for Houston firefighter pay raises.
“The Court of Appeals ruling proves what we felt all along, the City’s appeal was a meritless waste of taxpayer funds strategically designed to throw a wrench into the trial court’s laudable efforts to promote the public right to know,” says Stewart Hoffer of the law firm of Hicks Thomas.
Dolcefino Consulting already has e-mails showing City Garbage Boss Harry Hayes soliciting a foreign company, FCC, to come to town to build a recycling plant even while the City was finalizing a contract with ECOHUB. ECOHUB envisioned the end of expensive landfills and had 800 million dollars in private money to build a plant to convert trash into new products. There are other e-mails detailing Turner’s efforts to kill the contract.
“We can now go back to the business of unmasking what really happened behind the scenes on the City’s approach to the ECOHUB deal,” says Hoffer.
“Mayor Turner needs to come clean today. He is wasting tax dollars that we can use to give our firefighters the fair pay they deserve,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “This Mayor has made a mockery of the public right to know.”
Dolcefino Consulting also wants the Mayor to release a detailed account of the companies and consultants making money on the FCC deal.
“I have said for months this deal stinks worse than the garbage in your trashcan”, says Dolcefino. “Remember the Mayor now says we can’t afford to give our firefighters the pay they deserve because we don’t have the money. The only one to blame for that is Mayor Turner.”
The US Conference of Mayors wants to stop Dolcefino Consulting from videotaping a big speech Monday at national conference on garbage.
Guess who’s speaking? Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is still fighting to keep secret his e-mails on a recycling contract widely criticized for the way it was bid and the company who won.
Curiously, Turner’s luncheon speech is sponsored by Waste Management, the Houston based garbage giant who bitterly complained when Turner chose a foreign company to get the lucrative city contract.
Recycling costs are skyrocketing around the country, but it’s likely Turner won’t want to talk about how he cheated the company ECOHUB.
ECOHUB had hundreds of millions of dollars in private money and had offered to share profits with the city by turning garbage into new products. Houston taxpayers would have saved millions in garbage costs.
Turner’s speech comes just weeks before the election for fair pay for firefighters. ECOHUB had promised to use some of the profits to help underpaid Houston firefighters. Turner’s decision to cancel a planned contract with ECOHUB and then hide the e-mails showing why is one of the problems with the Mayor’s claims that the City doesn’t have the money to pay firefighters like cops.
“I have said it before. This recycling scandal will haunt Houstonians”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Taxpayers lost millions in potential savings in this deal and the Mayor and the company that got the controversial deal will not Identify the Houstonians who will make money on this contract. Maybe the Mayor will confess in his speech?”
The US Conference of Mayors denied our request for media credentials, saying we are not a “traditional” news outlet. Dolcefino Consulting has a growing list of clients who have funded our media investigations into landfills, garbage and recycling contracts. In Houston, even the Mayor’s closest aides have complained in e-mails of possible corruption in Houston garbage and landfill deals.
“The US conference of Mayors wants to protect Mayor Turner, even though this is a conference about garbage that we all pay for”, says Dolcefino. “That’s garbage, but our Mayor likes secrecy.”
Dolcefino Consulting has notified Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg we are filing a criminal complaint filing against Mayor Sylvester Turner, accusing him of illegally withholding public e-mails.
The e-mails at question involve Turner’s communications with his political confidante Maya Ford, who detailed possible ethical misconduct by city garbage boss Harry Hayes and big landfill companies.
Houston City Council today approved the recycling deal, despite evidence the city rigged the bid to exclude a company called Ecohub. Even the day before the bid was released, top city officials were warning it would exclude companies.
Ecohub founder George Gitschel had worked with the city for nearly six years on a plan to reduce garbage routes and save the city up to $40 million dollars a year. Gitschel even offered to share profits with the city to help get pay raises for Houston Firefighters.
“The Mayor has betrayed taxpayers today,” says Gitschel. “I worked with the city for years in good faith and kept my word they would be the first Ecohub in the country. I am disgusted and will fight to uncover the truth. Houstonians should be outraged at the secrecy. This deal is smellier than a landfill.”
Ecohub hired Dolcefino Consulting in December of 2016. For more than a year, the city has fought the release of records on city garbage contracts, even ignoring a Judge’s order to produce them for inspection last week. Instead, the city is using your tax-money to fight the release of records.
“Let me be clear. This is not the final chapter of this fight,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “I heard the Mayor says no one has questioned his transparency and fairness. Well we are, and we have notified the Mayor we are asking the District Attorney to do her job and subpoena these records immediately. We have proof he is hiding damaging records that protect his communications on an e-mail account registered to his law firm.”
On November 30, 2017 Dolcefino Consulting requested all e-mails sent between Turner and Maya Ford on any device since January 1, 2016.
The Mayor provided just a handful of e-mails.
“We have a smoking gun that he didn’t give them all to us,” says Dolcefino. “This is a mayor who didn’t fire his press secretary when she was caught covering up e-mail evidence she ran her production company on city time and city equipment. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”
City council approved the 20-year deal with foreign recycling company FCC. Only council members Brenda Stardig, Mike Knox, and Michael Kubosh voted against the contract.
Councilman Michael Laster, who chairs the city council committee that reviewed the deal said he would have voted no as well, if he had been at the meeting.
“Every Council member who voted for this contract while this charade of secrecy exists will wear this ethics vote,” says Dolcefino.MAYOR-TURNER-CRIMINAL-COMPLAINT-01-10-2018
COH RESP DOCS 12-6-17
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– Company asks for criminal investigation into Turner’s handling of emails Email
– Criminal complaint filed against Houston mayor after controversial $37M recycling contract approved for company
On Wednesday, January 3, 2018, Mayor Sylvester Turner wants Houston City Council to approve the secretive recycling contract with a foreign company FCC.
This $37 million-dollar, twenty-year deal is riddled with secrecy. The Mayor has illegally withheld public records, even from his own e-mails.
Dolcefino Consulting and ECOHUB filed a lawsuit to compel production of the records. The Mayor is spending tax money to fight the Judge’s order. The Mayor has refused to release the scoring sheets, or the names of the City employees who chose the company the Mayor wants. The proposed contract with FCC is being kept secret too.
ECOHUB isn’t the only company raising questions. Waste Management has headquarters here. 1,000 employees. They want to know how the world’s largest recycling company lost out in experience to FCC.
New court documents show the Mayor’s confidante, Maya Ford ignored legal requests to see her records. Ford called the court motion “silliness.” Ford e-mails already show she made allegations of possible ethics violations against City garbage boss, Harry Hayes. A court hearing to compel the records is set for January 30, 2018.
“Any City Councilmember who votes to approve this contract while the Mayor fights to keep this smelly deal secret is making a choice that will haunt them.” That is a promise, says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting. “Council should delay this vote until the records are made public. Taxpayers have a right to know the truth, whatever it is.”
Dolcefino Consulting has confirmed the FBI has begun interviewing former city employees involved in the recycling case, including the Mayor’s former Press Secretary, Janice Evans who fielded questions from the media about possible bid rigging in the contract.
ECOHUB was finalizing a contract to save the city up to $40 million dollars a year in garbage costs by recycling all the trash into new products when Turner came into office and killed the tax saving contract. There is evidence the Mayor wanted the company to be cut out of a new bid.
ECOHUB had almost $800 million dollars in private financing to build their plant, at no cost to Houston taxpayers, and promised to share profits.
“We will watch to see if any member of Council moves to delay this vote until the Mayor comes clean with the records”, says Dolcefino. “It is time to see who has the ethics to fight for taxpayers.”
New Houston City Hall e-mails detail efforts to rig a scandal plagued recycling bid set for a vote next week.
The e-mails obtained by Dolcefino Consulting offer the latest evidence Mayor Turner wanted to exclude Houston based ECOHUB from even having a chance to compete, despite the promise of hundreds of jobs and drastic reductions in the cost of garbage pickup.
Just one day before the City Hall issued the bids, Economic Boss, Andy Icken, had been kept in the dark about the final language. “RFP for recycling out tomorrow. Want to be sure this encourages maximum participation including ECOHUB.” Hours after the Icken e-mail, there was more evidence key City officials had been ignored. Icken writes, “Can we discuss concerns raised to me by Chris B and Steve Costello?” The proposal would have required ECOHUB to have an existing plant. The Mayor knew they did not and ultimately would be disqualified.
Deputy Director, Chris Butler, had been paid through a Bloomberg foundation grant to lead the ECOHUB effort, complained the terms in the proposal “cause some concern as they may be used to exclude certain proposals.”
ECOHUB founder, George Gitschel, filed a complaint just days after the City issued the proposal. The Turner administration simply ignored the protest for four months, never even responding to the detailed bid rigging complaint.
“Doesn’t that sound familiar,” says Dolcefino Consulting President, Wayne Dolcefino. “This is a Mayor who is fighting the release of e-mails that will document possible misconduct in the garbage department, is spending your tax money even fighting a Judge’s order to produce e-mails kept secret for a year.”
E-mails we do have, show an effort from the beginning to exclude ECOHUB from a fair shot at the contract, even though the company promised to save Houstonians $40 million dollars a year.
In April, former Chief Procurement Officer, John Gillespie was told Solid Waste Officials were against expanding the scope of the proposal, as it was their understanding, the Mayor did not support a “One Bin” type proposal. Hours later Houston garbage boss, Harry Hayes reported the “Mayor had declared One-Bin dead.”
The big question is WHY? ECOHUB had won an exhaustive bidding process unanimously, promising to reduce the wear and tear on garbage trucks by two-thirds, even offering to share profits with the City by recycling all trash into new products.
Houston City council members, Michael Kubosh and Steve Le ignored political threats to delay the vote before Christmas. Several council members want the e-mails released, but the Turner administration ignored State District Judge Kristen Hawkins’ order to produce the documents for her review.
The Mayor continues to illegally withhold government e-mails sent or received on his personal e-mail account, including warnings from a top advisor warning about possible sweetheart deals for landfill companies.
In June, the Mayor announced he wanted to award the contract to a foreign company called FCC, even though the contract would violate Houston First provisions. Waste Management, with thousands of employees and headquarters in Downtown Houston are also publicly complaining about the recycling deal.
“The Mayor has chosen secrecy over transparency. You got to ask yourselves. Why? says Dolcefino. We don’t even have the names of the City employees who evaluated the deal, or their scoring sheets. They should be released immediately. I’ll hold my breath.”
The vote on the 20-year recycling contract is set for next week. The e-mails identified in this report are available to the media upon request.
Mayor Sylvester Turner has now doubled down on secrecy, fighting a Judge’s order to turn over e-mails about a controversial recycling contract
The City Legal Department filed a notice of appeal late Thursday, clearly trying to hide the records until the 37-million-dollar contract with FCC is voted on by Houston City Council sometime next month.
‘The Mayor is showing his true colors. If this 20-year contract is such a great deal for Houstonians, let’s see the records”, says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. The Houston based Investigative Communications Firm sued the City to release records.
‘Every voter should be outraged. He’s spending your tax money to hide e-mails sent on computers you paid for, written by people who work for you”, says Dolcefino. “Maybe the Mayor has forgot who he works for.” Shameful.”
The recycling contract has stirred dramatic showdowns at Houston City Hall. A growing number of councilmen are saying they would support delaying the contract until the documents are released.
Dolcefino Consulting was hired to investigate and expose possible bid-rigging for this new contract. E-mails already show Mayor Turner and Solid Waste Boss Harry Hayes led an effort to make sure Ecohub couldn’t win the contract if they tried to bid. Ecohub was in the final stages of negotiating its own contract with the City before Turner came into office.
EcoHub had private money to build an 800 million-dollar plant that would have employed hundreds of Houstonians. The company wanted Houston’s garbage to recycle into new products, saving up to 40 million dollars a year by using just One Bin. Ecohub had even offered to share profits with the City to help pay for Hurricane Harvey cleanup and critical needs in the Houston Fire Department.
Instead, the Mayor killed the deal, kept Ecohub in the dark while bidding a new deal. The Mayor wants FCC to win the contract, a Spanish company owned in part by Democratic financier George Soros.
No word on when the appeal will be heard.
Dolcefino and Ecohub are being represented by Attorney Stewart Hoffer, of the law firm Hicks-Thomas.
“We know the City has been illegally keeping public records a secret, sometimes ignoring requests for months, says Dolcefino.
The vote on the FCC Contract is scheduled for January 3, 2018.
Dolcefino is available for interviews on Friday, December 21, 2017.
ECOHUB press conference video to delay Houston recycling contract vote with George Gitschel joined Houston attorney Stewart Hoffer and Wayne Dolcefino.
ECOHUB Founder George Gitschel joined Houston attorney Stewart Hoffer and Wayne Dolcefino, President of the Dolcefino Consulting firm at a Friday afternoon news conference to press for transparency before City Council is scheduled to vote on the deal.
Gitschel, The founder of Houston based ECOHUB, wants the scandal ridden Recycling contract vote delayed.
The press conference followed the court ordered production of e-mails the City of Houston has been fighting to keep secret, including e-mails from Mayor Sylvester Turner’s private e-mail account.
Judge Kristen Hawkins told City lawyers she is deeply troubled with the way the City has followed laws requiring the disclosure of public records. Judge Hawkins will inspect thousands of documents the City wants to withhold, including e-mails that will help show possible bid rigging and charges of possible corruption in City of Houston garbage contracts.
Following the court order, Houston City Councilmember Michael Kubosh was the first to call for a delay in the recycling contract vote until the e-mails are made public.
“It is time to find out why ECOHUB was kicked out of the chance to win this contract,” says Kubosh. “It is the right thing to do.”
ECOHUB has accused the Turner administration of rigging the recycling proposal to keep the company from participating. Turner killed a nearly completed contract with ECOHUB, even though the company was offering to save the City of Houston up to $40 million dollars a year in garbage costs.
The court order compels the City of Houston to produce e-mails illegally withheld from Dolcefino Consulting and ECOHUB by January 5, 2018. The judge has also ordered the City to turn over for her inspection, thousands of e-mails the Texas Attorney General has allowed the City to keep from the public.
“This is a major victory for the public’s right to know,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Houston taxpayers owe a debt of gratitude to Stewart Hoffer of Hicks Thomas law firm. I know we do. They have fought for transparency at Houston City Hall.”
At a court hearing this week, Hoffer proved the City was improperly hiding e-mails, including documents that detail possible bid rigging and ethical misconduct by Houston garbage boss Harry Hayes.
ECOHUB is a recycling firm that has offered to save the City of Houston up to $40 million dollars a year in recycling costs, eliminating two-thirds of garbage routes and the need for landfills. Instead of taking advantage of the offer to even share profits, Mayor Sylvester Turner has opted instead to give tax breaks to a Spanish firm and wants to give them a 20-year contract even though they will cost Houstonians millions more than necessary.
“It is not too late to delay this vote, so that Houstonians will know the whole truth,” says George Gitschel, founder of ECOHUB. “We stand ready to help Houston save millions of dollars and help the environment at the same time.”
The Mayor is scheduling a City Council vote on the controversial FCC Contract for Wednesday morning, despite growing complaints by Council Members that the process of picking the company is flawed. One of FCC’s owners is political power broker George Soros.
Judge Hawkins also reminded City lawyers the Mayor must turn over recycling records from his private e-mail account requested by Dolcefino Consulting.
“Judge Hawkins should be commended. Her ruling is a victory for the public right to know, for transparency, and for good government,” says Dolcefino.
Please contact Wayne Dolcefino at 713-360-6911 for interviews.
Dear Mayor Turner and Esteemed Council Members, we demand that you cancel the fatally flawed recycling contract being considered by the City Council. It’s a bad deal for Houston’s citizens that will cost hundreds of millions of dollars. We want to support the environment, but we don’t want to pay a garbage tax to support business as usual.
We urgently request that you start a fair comprehensive zero waste bidding process, which must allow all options, including One Bin approaches, to be considered side-by-side under the same evaluation criteria.
Only then will we be assured that Houston residents are getting the best deal possible for their pocket books and the planet.
This petition will be delivered to:
Mayor Sylvester Turner
Council Member Stardig
Council Member Davis
Council Member Cohen
Council Member Boykins
Council Member Martin
Council Member Le
Council Member Travis
Council Member Cisneros
Council Member Gallegos
Council Member Laster
Council Member Green
Council Member Knox
Council Member Robinson
Council Member Kubosh
Council Member Edwards
Council Member Christie