Wayne Dolcefino and Dolcefino Consulting were featured on a FOX 26 KRIV Randy Wallace report.
Consultant claims city and county agencies have secret dome deal
“The amount of things that the city and the county are trying to keep secret from the public is growing every day,” said consultant Wayne Dolcefino.
In 2013, the managing partner of the tax collection firm Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson signed a government document claiming the law firm of Barnes and Turner was one of several minority firms getting a piece of a lucrative $8 million HISD contract.
In 2014, an audit showed Linebarger had inflated reported payments to the Turner law firm to his. Sylvester Turner refused to comment when the Houston Chronicle asked him about it. The audit raised real questions about whether the minority community had been cheated out of their promised share of the Linebarger contract.
In May of 2015, records released by HISD show the Barnes and Turner law firm had been paid $370,000. Those records are available for review on dolcefino.com.
Sylvester Turner now is talking, and says all those reports by Linebarger are lies, okay.
If Linebarger lied about their dealings with the Barnes and Turner law firm, why is Sylvester Turner still cashing $10,000 payments every month?
If the HISD records are bogus, what minority firms are getting 25% of the Linebarger HISD contract? If the minority community is being cheated, why has Sylvester remained silent?
Sylvester Turner has benefited from government contracts while in the state legislature, plain and simple. Take Linebarger, a law firm that makes a living suing Houstonians who can’t pay their taxes. What exactly did Sylvester Turners law firm do for the money? Whose home did they help take?
“People are just sick and tired of these career politicians cashing in on public service,” says mayoral candidate Ben Hall. “I have promised Houstonians this nonsense will stop on day one if I am honored with the mayor’s office.”
That is why Ben Hall is once again tonight calling on Sylvester Turner to tell Houstonians what other government agencies have paid his law firm or his title company. What other government contracts does he benefits from?
Maybe it is just a coincidence that Sylvester Turner has made a great living off government contracts and taxpayers money. Maybe it’s not.
The report also provides staggering evidence the project is not what was sold to Houston City Council.
Uptown claimed the buses would run every five minutes. The new Metro report has the buses travelling to stops up to 12 minutes apart. Imagine Uptown workers wearing a suit in 100 degree Houston summer waiting in that heat. All so they could take two buses to a Park and Ride Lot and then get back in rush hour traffic in Katy to go home.
Uptown claimed travel times for this bus adventure that we now know will be 12 minutes longer than they claimed.
Uptown claimed trips from Park and Ride buses that no longer exist. Metro now says there will be 20% fewer buses stopped at the Park and Ride lots for the first trip to the transit centers.
Uptown is now telling Metro they do not have the money to build the parking spaces they originally promised at the proposed Bellaire Uptown Transit Center. The original Uptown plan said 700 parking spaces at just one center, now there are plans for only 100. That will make it virtually impossible for a commuter to drive to a transit center for just one bus ride into Uptown. But of course, that is logical and this is a government project.
Metro still predicts there will be 12,050 boardings by 2018, even without any work to alleviate congestion on the freeways going into Uptown. So let’s accept that magical number for the sake of entertainment. In human speak that means 6,000 people will be taking the bus…ALL DAY LONG.
You want further proof that the Metro ridership model is just WRONG?
Metro’s ridership model forecast is for 14,600 boardings per day by 2018, with the added benefit of that elevated bus flyover over the freeway. Just one problem, Metro knows that flyover won’t exist in 2018.
That tells you all you need to know.
“This just confirms what we have been saying from the start”, says Jim Scarborough of the Post Oak Business and Property Owners. “Even Metro can see there is no longer any need to tear up a beautiful street and destroy the sales tax base of an entire city. This is a real estate deal and it is time for the people who misled City Hall and Uptown property owners to quit. We will not stop until they do.”
Representatives of the Post Oak Property Owners are available for media interviews.
Ben Hall has said it bluntly.
Sylvester Turner betrayed the African-American community when he flip flopped on the 2012 Bond Election. He was against it before he was for it, and he did not get guarantees to protect historically important schools.
It is time for Sylvester Turner to disclose all his ties to HISD.
Sylvester Turner’s law firm is a tax collector for HISD. Since April 2011, the Barnes and Turner firm has been paid $370,000 in taxpayer money as part of a contract with Linebarger, Goggan, Blair and Sampson, a firm often accused of hiring politicians to seek government contracts.
When asked, HISD says it has no records of a single lawsuit filed by the Barnes and Turner law firm, but that is why it is time for Sylvester Turner to answer the questions.
What was he promised in 2012 to gain his support? Are there any other payments, direct or otherwise, that the Turner companies have received through HISD? It is time to disclose?
Ben Hall is not a career politician. He is an independent businessman who wants to level the playing field. Let us end the political games that put special interests over the interests of all Houstonians.
That is the way to move Houston forward.
Whether you are on the tear it down crowd or the turn it into an indoor park crowd, I bet you agree the public has every right to know how much of our tax money is going to be part of the Astrodome deal.
So why are public officials trying to keep the negotiations secret?
What are we missing? Don’t you own the place?
Dolcefino Consulting has learned that as much as $30 million in city tax money may be used to help fund an Astrodome deal, part of some kind of trade of assets between the Houston First Corporation and the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, who will then use the money to renovate the Dome.
For those losing track of the growing number of corporations set up by Houston City Hall and Harris County Commissioners to spend our money, here is a scorecard.
Houston First is a government corporation set up by Houston City Hall to run the convention center/theatres and spend hotel tax money.
The Harris County Sports Corporation is a government corporation created by Harris County and runs NRG Park, home of the Dome.
In recent days, both agencies have refused to give up e-mails between Sports Corporation President Edgardo E. Colon and Houston First Chairman Ricard Campo. The Sports Corporation first had an outside law firm tell us we would get the e-mails from Houston First. Then Houston First withheld the Dome dealings, and days later the Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan declared every e-mail between the two public officials were some big secret. We would expect nothing less from the distinguished County Attorney, who fights every request Dolcefino Consulting makes.
Houston First isn’t a bastion of total open government either. Dolcefino Consulting filed a criminal complaint this week alleging Campo and others met in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act, another one of those silly transparency laws.
“It is time for the Mayor and County Judge to come clean so the public knows what this deal will cost” says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting. “Not after the deal is done, but before. Maybe it is a smart investment? Maybe the county corporation will eventually repay the city corporation from all the money they make. What is with all the secrecy? These are two government agencies who work for us.”
Just think, a renovated Dome may spur on all kinds of development around the Astrodome, which may be exactly what some of the players are betting on.
Houston Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall says the African-American community is outraged at the destruction and removal of historically black schools, and he pointed an accusing finger of blame at Sylvester Turner.
Turner was against the $1.9 billion HISD bond campaign before he was suddenly for it. Hall opposed the bond election and says HISD is compromised with “pay to play” politics.
“Mr. Turner has betrayed the black and brown community,” says Hall. “He was a political panhandler during the 2012 HISD bond election, got the black community to vote for it and then sat silently when HISD broke its promises.”
On the Fox 26 broadcast Tuesday afternoon, Turner is suddenly criticizing the very bond deal he helped pass.
“If you are going to be the cheerleader for a bond campaign like Turner did you better do your homework before you get out the pom-poms,” says Hall. “I am not going to stand by and allow Mr. Turner to cloak himself in innocence when he had the opportunity to know better. You have to wonder why he sold out.”
Hall says another mayoral candidate, former tax collector Bill King also has some explaining to do. King was a lawyer on the payroll for HISD at the same time he was running the bond campaign.
“Bill King has already been the Mayor of Kemah and Sylvester Turner has been a politician for decades,” says Hall. “It is time for the public to start looking at their records to follow the money. People are fed up with career politicians.”
Plans to build a 15-story garbage dump along Highway 6 near Hempstead have suffered another major blow tonight.
The Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has filed court papers saying the current landfill application hearing must be dismissed because now everyone knows it did not meet state environmental rules.
Lawyers for the Citizens Against the Landfill in Hempstead and the City of Hempstead have proven the landfill application was garbage, because it showed the shallow hole for the trash would be dug into the ground water.
That is what residents have been warning about for years, that the landfill site will contaminate the drinking water.
The State Office of Administrative Hearings has not yet ruled, and the TCEQ boss made it clear this is only for the current application before the judge.
“This is just one more nail in the coffin of a landfill deal that stinks more than the trash ever will,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “It is time for those Georgian garbage peddlers to pack their bags and leave the good people of Hempstead alone because they won’t stop fighting…ever.”
Dolcefino Consulting is also calling on Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healy and his band of special prosecutors to stop obstructing the truth. Both a Waller County Judge and the District Attorney have asked for Healy’s special prosecutors to turn over the results of their investigation into the landfill so a new criminal investigation can occur. A Waller County Jury ruled last year several officials held illegal meetings and votes.
“It is sad Mr. Healey and his top prosecutors just don’t want the truth to come out,” says Dolcefino. “I know Fort Bend County voters don’t have a stake in a Waller County landfill investigation, but they should remember this prosecutorial stonewall. The Waller County DA needs to stop stalling and seek a court order. The people of Waller County are being shortchanged by.”
Last October, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson filed formal criminal charges against the Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services for violating state charity transparency laws. Nearly two months ago, the same District Attorney’s office issue a subpoena for the payroll records of the ambulance service.
After all, taxpayers pay most of the salaries.
Cypress Creek has ignored the subpoena, and this week, Cypress Creek lawyers delayed another pre-trial hearing on the case. That makes eight times this court case has been delayed. It is set again for September 10, 2015.
Meanwhile, the ESD #11 Commissioners you elected to watchdog your money have demonstrated a bizarre refusal to actually do their job.
“It is time for all this pretty please with sugar on top stuff to stop,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The District Attorney ought to execute a search warrant today to get these records because these are the tax-payers records.”
Dolcefino Consulting has spent more than a year investigating the financially bloated ambulance service, from the expensive entertainment habits of the top administrator to questions about possible bid rigging in a lucrative medical billing contract.
“Taxpayers should not have to file lawsuits to see how their money has been spent, and the ESD Commissioners should be ashamed of themselves,” says Dolcefino. “CCEMS talks about all the awards it gets for great ambulance service, but they forget they would be out of business without this government contract.”
They also forget who is paying the bills. Why shouldn’t they stall, wasting tens of thousands of dollars of your money that should be spent on bandages?
If this was a game of chicken, it is pretty obvious who is winning!
You should remember that when you vote.
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.
“If I am elected mayor, I will revisit this project and the benefits and the costs before committing a single penny of tax money for such a limited public purpose. Houston has serious financial problems, and it is time to use our money wisely. Our streets are in deplorable conditions, and we need more police and first responders to address crime problems.
I oppose the planned Post Oak Bus Lane Project. My opposition is based on multiple grounds. My principal opposition arises from my conviction that tax dollars are needed for other purposes and the benefits of the bus lane do not justify the expected cost. While there are limitations on how TIRZ dollars are to be used, such limitations should never be allowed to justify imprudent expenditures. While the Galleria area is heavily traveled, the proposed bus lane does not meaningfully address this problem. Finally, the process by which the project has been developed– without full input from all stakeholders and nagging suggestions of hidden appraisals and friendship deals– does not serve the public trust. It simply does not pass the public scrutiny test!
It is time for the city to adopt reasonable guidelines and policies to govern the use of TIRZ dollars. As mayor, I will make implement more controls over the proper use of TIRZ tax dollars and advocate for more responsible use of such funds for the public good.”