New criminal complaints have been filed today against Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and here is a real shocker. It’s his simple refusal to follow Texas law on your right to know.
The latest round of sworn complaints from Dolcefino Consulting deal with the Mayor’s communications with his lobbyist pal Cindy Clifford. You often see her fingerprints on big city contracts these days.
Clifford claims she hasn’t spent a penny trying to influence the Mayor and his family, but her boasts on Facebook prove that’s not true. Clifford has hosted more than one event for First Daughter Ashley Turner.
We complained to the City Attorney Ron Lewis. He obviously doesn’t care.
The other e-mails Turner is hiding involves Bobby Singh, a board member of the Houston First Corporation and the beneficiary of city business from Mr. Turner. The Singh family has given Turner nearly $20,000 in campaign contributions. Singh has gotten more than $2.2 million in city contracts.
Here is the really sad part.
If history is any judge, the Harris County District Attorney will send these complaints to a black hole.
“The DA Kim Ogg has proven absolutely useless in prosecuting public corruption cases,” says Wayne Dolcefino, president of the Investigative firm Dolcefino Consulting. “So, I wouldn’t be shocked if this complaint gets flushed down the toilet like all the others about Mayor Turner. By protecting Turner, Ogg turns the other cheek to the pay to play nonsense going on.”
Want a case in point?
Last May, Singh refused to turn over his phone records detailing his calls about Houston First Business. We filed a criminal complaint on what is a clear violation of the law. The case has still not been presented to a grand jury.
The criminal complaint against CCEMS for withholding charity records has been reset more than 25 times. Other criminal complaints against the Mayor have never been sent to a grand jury.
“If Ogg can’t protect the public’s right to know, then she ought to find a new line of work,” says Dolcefino. “My company helped her in good faith to win the election but based on her refusal to do the right thing for taxpayers, we regret supporting her and will work to find a District Attorney who respects public integrity.”
We will keep you posted on the latest complaints.
Timing is a funny thing.
On Monday March 11th, 2019 Dolcefino Consulting detailed the advanced age and mileage of Galveston patrol cars to warn island residents first responders need help.
What did the City of Galveston do?
They took away take home patrol cars from veteran police officers, including SWAT officers, we are told. Before this week, senior officers who lived on the island got access to the cars to improve response times in case of a disaster.
Sounds like the folks in the Galveston City Manager’s Office have thin skins. In December, Galveston Deputy City Manager Daniel Buckley questioned the take home cars, asking if they were being used by officers for their second security jobs, but look what peaked his interest.
“There was an article in the Galveston Daily News this morning saying our benefits (pension) are substandard. I think we may need to quantify all the perks they do have.”
“So, let me get this straight,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Houston-based Dolcefino Consulting. “The city manager’s office seeks to punish police every time someone exposes the crappy way they are treated?”
“I find the timing of this decision stinks and it could jeopardize public safety,” says Dolcefino.
“What if, God forbid, there is a school shooter or a terrorist event? Don’t you want veteran cops to have their patrol cars, lights and sirens ready in a second? I sure hope they didn’t loan their car to their teenage son or daughter, and now have to call Uber to respond.”
In his December email, suggests some police officers were working security at the Port of Galveston. Buckely complained city hall wasn’t being compensated.
“I’ve got a better idea,” says Dolcefino. “Why doesn’t city hall use the growing revenues at the Port to pay the police, who have to protect all the tourists who come to the island to take cruise ships?”
The retaliation against the police comes after Dolcefino Consulting donates Galvestonblue.com to help educate folks on the poor pension and salaries being paid to Galveston Police. Galvestonblue.com is now live and there is a petition to show support to island first responders.
“Galvestonblue.com was meant to help first responders, just like we helped firefighters in Houston,” says Dolcefino. “ Both police and firefighters have helped save my life and rescued my mom and grandmother once. I have never hesitated to bust them when I was a reporter and I also won’t hesitate to call out the city manager for petty retaliation.”
If you’ve driven in Galveston recently, you may have seen the sarcastic billboard put up Galveston Municipal Police Association.
“Thank you for visiting Galveston,” it reads, “home of the worst police retirement in Texas. Please support your Galveston police.”
Dolcefino Consulting was asked by a client to help educate island residents and tourists by creating the domain and website Galvestonblue.com. We donated the website to the Galveston Police Officers Association as part of our effort.
“The website is now live, and there is a petition for folks to start helping send a message to Galveston City Hall. Keep your promises,” says Dolcefino. “Since we started asking questions about the conditions Galveston Police work under people have been calling more interested to find out why I am doing it rather than what we are finding.”
“In 1997, a Texas state law was supposed to protect Galveston’s first responders when they retired after decades of risking their lives to protect the 7 million people who live or come to visit the island every year,” Galvestonblue.com reads. “Now police are demanding the city stop cheating them out of their pension. They shouldn’t have to spend their paychecks putting up billboards…”
“I first made friends with the Galveston Police when I did live broadcasts during Mardi Gras parades years ago,” says Dolcefino.
“Since I saw the billboard, I found out the highest paid cop on the island will get less than $30,000 a year to retire on. A lot of the money they have to put in the retirement account,” says Dolcefino.
“They are about the worst paid law enforcement officers in the area, considering they have to protect about 7 million visitors to the island. A lot of them drive patrol cars that are long in the tooth.”
Galveston citizens, tourists and supporters of police officers can sign a petition at Galvestonblue.com to show their solidarity with the island’s police.
“Let’s send a message to Galveston leaders by filling the petition with signatures,” Dolcefino said. “Let’s remind them that the public supports good police.”
Galvestonblue.com is live. Be sure to check it often to learn the latest news about Galveston police and our fight to get the island to beef up support, even if it means raiding island sacred cows like the Port.
ICF International is getting $36 million dollars in Hurricane Harvey recovery money from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to help people who need home repairs.
They don’t think you have a right to know who is making the money.
ICF is now refusing to reveal even the most basic information about the people on the hurricane money trail at the company.
In a letter to the Texas Attorney General, ICF claims “releasing names, emails, phone numbers, experience and the resumes of their employees and subcontractors would keep them at a competitive disadvantage.”
Huh. They already got the contract!
“Let me get this straight. They want to put their hands in the taxpayer’s pocket but not tell you who is on their payroll,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of the investigative media firm Dolcefino Consulting. “That’s a deal killer. It is time for the Houston City Council to say no play no way.”
ICF thinks the names of their hurricane employees is some kind of trade secret. “That’s insane reasoning,” says Dolcefino. “Just as insane is the fact we gave them the contract.”
“It’s well documented that ICF is accused of mishandling hundreds of millions of dollars in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. How are they punished? They get millions more from Houston.”
Funny, this contract has lots of secret. The City of Houston is fighting to keep e-mails about one of ICF’s subcontractors a secret. It’s Barry Barnes, Turner’s long-time legal partner. He stands to make $6.7 million from the deal, millions more than we were originally told he’d make.
Ever wonder how of all the lawyers in our city and ICF just happened to pick the Mayor’s former law partner for the deal?
Enough is enough. It’s high time for Turner to stop doing secret deals with desperately needed Hurricane Money.
It’s time for the District Attorney Kim Ogg to forget she’s a Democrat and stop protecting the Mayor’s hide and go seek with public records.
When tens of thousands of people flocked to Galveston to celebrate Mardi Gras, the island’s police force kept folks safe. Galveston police answered 612 calls for service from Feb. 22 to 24 and made 53 arrests.
And they likely had to respond to a lot of those calls in police cars that need replacing.
A review of the Galveston Police fleet by Dolcefino Consulting shows more than a quarter of the Island Patrol cars now have more than 100,000 miles on them. The oldest patrol car in operation was bought in 2004, making it nearly fifteen years old.
“The officials in Galveston love tourist dollars and making money off of events like Mardi Gras,” said Wayne Dolcefino, president of Dolcefino Consulting. “But when it comes to taking care of their police, the powers that be in Galveston are coming up short. They keep their officers in deteriorating vehicles rather than spending the money to update their fleet.”
Frustrated Galveston police officers recently erected a billboard calling out the city’s lousy pension plan. The billboard leading off the Island says, “Thank you for visiting Galveston, home of the worst police retirement in Texas.” Galveston appears to be violating a 1997 state pension law.
“We think taxpayers should know if their first responders need more help, better cars and a better pension after decades of service,” says Dolcefino. “We have notified the Galveston Police Officers Association that we have created a website we are donating so that island residents can help show their support for the island first responders,” says Dolcefino.
Galvestonblue.com is now live.
Green Group is trying to put towers of smelly trash in a neighborhood near you. Wait till you see how much money they are spending to influence Texas politicians.
According to the latest filings with the Texas Ethics Commission, Green Group has passed out nearly $2 MILLION DOLLARS just to lobbyists.
We’ve been keeping track.
Joey Bennett, Ron Lewis, Jay Howard and Dan Pearson continue to represent Green Group in Texas and rake in sizeable paychecks.
Joey Bennett has been on the payroll since 2012. He’s made at least $574,992.99 from Green Group. Bennett has worked on the staffs of four different members of the Texas Senate and now runs his own firm.
Ron Lewis has pocketed almost one million dollars from Green Group Holdings and Green First LLC. Lewis was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1985 to 2003. He started his own firm in 2003.
Howard’s been a lobbyist for the company since 2016 and has a max total compensation of $154,998. Howard is a partner at HillCo Partners.
Dan Pearson has represented Green Group and 130 Environmental Park since 2016. The entities have jointly paid Pearson a max compensation of $224,995. Pearson worked for the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts under Bob Bullock. He is now a partner and chief operating officer at HillCo Partners.
According to records filed with the TEC, Green Group has spent $1.9 million on lobbyists to push for garbage dumps in at least the two Texas cities they’ve admitted publicly, Hempstead and near Lockhart.
After a Green Group guy showed up in Laredo folks want to know if they are involved in the controversial Pescadito site. The developers even want to bring coal ash across the border from Mexico. It’s hard not to notice Green Group has a coal ash plant in Uniontown, Alabama.
“Green Group is using lots of special-interest cash to influence politicians and get this potentially dangerous landfill built against the wishes of the community,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting.
“Maybe it explains why the TCEQ ignored its own safety rules and granted Green Group a first round permit,” Dolcefino said. “Maybe it explains why Texas lawmakers haven’t made it a law for companies who destroy their test results, probably on purpose, to lose the right to get their permit. It is pure garbage not to hold garbage companies accountable.”
Forty thousand people call Galveston Island home, but seven million tourists flock there every year.
Our investigation has begun in the wake of a billboard erected by frustrated Galveston police officers complaining about lousy pensions.
One of our questions.
Does Galveston even have enough police cars on the streets protecting all these visitors?
Tonight, the City of Galveston is trying to keep records of police car movements from the past a secret. It will not only show taxpayers where the police cars were on busy weekends last month, but how many Galveston police officers are on the street during a busy weekend.
We’ve been told only 12 patrol cars were on the streets on the nights we tried to examine.
We think the folks who visit Galveston have a right to know about the ability of Galveston to protect them. We think taxpayers should know if their first responders need more help, better cars and a better pension after decades of service.
Assistant City Attorney Mehran Jadidi claims knowing where a police car was three weeks ago would “interfere with the ability of the Galveston Police Department to respond to events, even find criminals… a tactical advantage to any entity wishing to evade the Galveston Police Department.”
“So, let me get this straight. A crook is going to get an advantage over the good guys, knowing that three weeks ago at 5 o’clock on a Friday night there was a patrol car driving down Seawall Blvd and 6st Street?” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “This is nothing more than a way to hide the use of tax money by the City of Galveston.”
In recent weeks since we saw the police billboard leaving the island, Dolcefino Consulting began examining ways to see if there is more money that could go to actually help the police.
“A top island patrol officer risking their lives for 20 years shouldn’t have to live on a pension of less than $30,000 a year, says Dolcefino, “especially while business is booming at the Port of Galveston. We also are looking at records detailing the sorry state of some of the island patrol cars.”