FOX 26 KRIV’s Katie McCall reports that the Cypress Creek EMS is defying open records laws:
At a meeting with Emergency Service District 11, Cypress Creek EMS, refused to turn over its financial records to the public. Investigator Wayne Dolcefino has been fighting for the release of those records for a year. He’s asking Cy Creek EMS to allow the taxpayers to see who they hire, what they pay them, and where those tax dollars are being spent.
Dolcefino says, “The Cypress Creek EMS refuses to tell the public who they’re paying. Is that the silliest thing you’ve ever heard of?” READ THE REST
Houston Private Investigator Tim Wilson has a thousand stories to tell, but he is negotiating a deal to put one of his most famous investigations on paper.
Wilson has been approached to write a “Tell All” book about his exclusive meetings with Robert Durst, the eccentric millionaire now awaiting trial for a 2000 murder.
The Durst story has been the focus of an HBO Special and recent video of him urinating out in the open in a Houston convenience store has gone viral, but the eccentric Durst has been in the headlines for more than a decade. Durst was put on trial after he killed and then chopped up his neighbor in Galveston. His eventual acquittal has been the subject of hot debate ever since.
Tim Wilson knows details about Robert Durst no one else does. In 2000, he spent weeks talking to the eccentric Houstonian in a Pennsylvania jail cell after Durst was arrested, yet Wilson has been entangled with Durst since then.
In 2015 Durst filed suit against Wilson, angry that the private eye had given an affidavit to prosecutors. Durst claimed the disclosure had caused him great stress, anxiety and embarassment. Wilson has moved to dismiss the lawsuit, but his close encounters with Durst have attracted book publishers.
Wilson is represented by Houston Attorney Geoffrey Berg.
The meeting will be held at 10 am, Thursday July 2 at 7111 Five Forks in Spring, Texas
The elected members of ESD #11 have scheduled a special meeting Thursday that may affect ambulance service for folks who live in Northwest Harris County, from Tomball to Spring.
The meeting was called as Cypress Creek EMS continues to defy requests for public records, even from the ESD Board, which represents the taxpayers who fund the 911 ambulance service.
In the last several months, Cypress Creek has ignored criminal charges, and legal opinions from the Texas Attorney General and the Emergency Service District. Cypress Creek is even suing the Texas Attorney General to keep payroll records secret.
At the same time Cypress Creek is using public funds made from the 911 service to wage a battle for secrecy, even refusing to tell the ESD the names of the people being paid with taxpayer dollars.
The big question Thursday, will elected commissioners vote to withhold payments to CCEMS until they comply with state transparency laws.
“The ESD must enforce transparency laws,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “ It is not an excuse that CCEMS has a good response time. This is about accountability and the waste of funds on secrecy should be a deal breaker for the people who pay the bill.”
Dolcefino Consulting, an investigative communications firm led by investigative journalist Wayne Dolcefino has already spent more than $25,000 in a legal effort to force disclosure of Cypress Creek expenditures. The company is asking a Harris County District Judge to compel compliance with provisions of the Texas Public
Information Act and Chapter 22, regulating the disclosure of financial records of a non-profit corporation.
Cypress Creek even refuses to identify how much the Executive Director Brad England currently makes, even though a 2013 tax return put the figure at 180,000 a year, more than the salary for the Harris County Judge.
An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has exposed questionable entertainment spending, possible violations of Texas election law, and irregularities in bidding on lucrative CCEMS contracts.
The meeting will be held at 10 am, Thursday July 2 at 7111 Five Forks in Spring, Texas.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker appears to be the second highest paid Mayor in the country.
In 2014, her salary was $235,000 dollars. Of course, she runs an entire city.
John Breeding runs ONE single neighborhood in the heart of Houston. Just 500 acres. It is called Uptown.
Guess who makes more?
John Breeding does!
In Fiscal year 2014 Breeding was paid $326,000. Ninety thousand dollars more than the Mayor. Of course, he got a bonus.
Add another $69,433 dollars in retirement, medical and dental benefits. Nearly $400,000.
In three years, Breeding’s pay went up nearly 30%.
Of course, John Breeding has two titles, according to documents released by Uptown. He is President of the Uptown Management District and Administrator of the Uptown Development Authority. That’s where all those decisions for the controversial Post Oak Bus Project are officially made.
All three Uptown bureaucracies meet in the same conference room in their high rise office on Post Oak.
You know how much the rent is?
$300,000 a year.
Houston Mayoral Candidate Ben Hall pledged today to stop a plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to tear up Post Oak Blvd for a flawed bus project.
And Hall went farther, promising to conduct a review of all neighborhood reinvestment zones to stop abuse of taxpayer dollars.
“Like all Houstonians I have watched in amazement as a city in financial distress agrees to spend a billion dollars to improve just one park, and push to spend 200 million dollars more to tear up a street that doesn’t need tearing up, all while ignoring streets and parks in Sunnyside and Acres Homes and across Houston that desperately need attention” says Hall.
Property Owners on Post Oak are lining up against the plan to tear up Post Oak. Hall is also worried the project will destroy retail stores on the street which provide significant sales tax revenue to the City.
Hall calls for a total review of Neighborhood Tax Reinvestment Zones that are now treating tax money as a private piggy bank.
“We face real financial problems in this city, and we need to prioritize how and where we spend our money. I want to find ways to protect our people and fix our streets. We created these reinvestment zones to help troubled neighborhoods that needed investment, not to create huge bank accounts for a few developers.”
The Uptown bus project has put a spotlight on the unelected neighborhood bosses who control a lot of Houston’s finances.
Dolcefino Consulting announces today Monday, June 22, 2015 that the firm has agreed to provide media consultation services to Ben Hall in his quest to become Houston’s next Mayor.
As part of this agreement, President Wayne Dolcefino will serve as Campaign Communications Coordinator.
“Ben is a dear friend,” Dolcefino said. “We go way back, and I will help him. Ben is willing to walk away from a hugely successful law practice to run for Mayor because he wants to give Houston a Way Forward. My firm cares deeply about Houston too. We also share a strong desire to make sure Houston doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”
Dolcefino Consulting is an investigative communications firm involved in many high profile battles in the Houston area, from the Highway 6 Landfill, to the Oyster fight in Galveston Bay, to the heart of Uptown, where a $300 million dollar bus boondoggle has exposed the conflicts and out of control power of management districts.
Dolcefino Consulting is managed by former investigative journalist Wayne Dolcefino.
The ESD # 11 MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 9 AM THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015 AT 7111 FIVE FORKS, SPRING, TX.
Half a million people get emergency ambulance service from Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS).
From Tomball to Spring Harris County taxpayers paid more than 10 million dollars in tax money last year to support 911 ambulance service. Much of the money went to pay salaries.
Yet Cypress Creek EMS refuses to tell you who is on the payroll.
Thursday morning, their secrecy will lead to a showdown.
Elected Commissioners of ESD #11 now want the same public records CCEMS has refused to show for nearly a year, even ignoring the Texas Attorney General and the Harris County District Attorney.
ESD #11 homeowners pay taxes to pay the field staff on the ambulances, but CCEMS has refused to reveal the names of the people on the payroll. 6.3 million dollars and they won’t say who is getting the money. At least four of those field staff report salaries of more than $100,000 a year.
CCEMS also refuses to show exactly how they spend the millions of dollars they took in from the bills you paid for 911 service. All over Texas those funds are used to offset the additional need for property taxes, but not in ESD #11. CCEMS has kept all the money to spend as they want, and they have refused to release the records under non-profit laws.
CCEMS claims they do not have records showing how much they actually use ambulances that are supposed to be working 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Taxpayers need to pay attention. The days of heroic fire and ambulance services running to the sound of the fire bell as underpaid volunteers are nearing an end in Harris County. This is now big money.
The ESD # 11 MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 9 AM THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015 AT 7111 FIVE FORKS, SPRING, TX.
GALVESTON BAY “OYSTER WAR ALREADY CLAIMS 100,000 SACKS OF OYSTERS
Oyster fisherman worry rains from Tropical Storm Bill may kill much of the remaining young oyster population in Galveston Bay.
That’s the latest bad news from a summer that has already seen millions of dollars in oysters killed, both by mother-nature and the ongoing war over oyster rights in Galveston Bay.
A mission to save oysters in East Galveston Bay after the Memorial Weekend storm failed, and the results are devastating.
Hundreds of thousands of oysters are gone. Two million dollars-worth.
But the culprit is not just Mother Nature.
Members of the oyster industry are blaming STORM for this seafood mass killing.
“STORM boats illegally harassed our oyster boats as they tried to save these young oysters,” says Lisa Halili of Prestige Oysters. “They circled our boats dangerously close, and their constant videotaping of our fisherman scared them into resigning and refusing to enter the area.”
Before Bill came ashore, Oyster companies were moving their young oysters from legal state leases after recent storms affected salinity in East Bay. STORM boats tried to disrupt this rescue mission. The Chambers County Judge who owns STORM claims he now controls 23,000 acres of Galveston Bay because hometown politicians gave him a lease. The state has told STORM the lease is illegal.
“We have been warning the state to take action to stop the harassment of oyster boats in Galveston Bay for
weeks,” says Wayne Dolcefino of Dolcefino Consulting. “Now we have the added damage done by Mother Nature.”
Prestige Oyster in San Leon are among those oyster companies available to comment.
Lawsuit seeks to halt Post Oak bus project
Katherine Driessen of The Houston Chronicle reports a homeowner’s association is suing Metro over its involvement in plans to run bus lanes along Post Oak Boulevard, saying the project puts the agency at odds with a 2003 referendum that included adding a rail line along the corridor.
As officials celebrate Uptown transit project, opponents persist
Supporters say transit service will improve, while foes highlight conflicts of interest
A Houston Chronicle editorial says “A good bus delay”
Let’s get the facts right before breaking ground on the bus rapid transit project:
With a little digging, Wayne Dolcefino, a former television investigative reporter now working for opponents of the project, found that the 19,000 riders were based on outdated ridership numbers and overly optimistic estimates. Uptown’s rush to build while relying on these questionable statistics makes it look like the board cares more about building something rather than building the right thing.