HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner reacted strongly on Wednesday to scrutiny of a controversial $ 15 million affordable housing proposal that was awarded by order of Turner to a development group that included the former legal partner of the mayor.
“I’ve been in this business for over 30 years, 30 years and I think I have an impeccable record of integrity in the way I conduct my business,” said Turner.
It was the city’s former housing manager, Tom McCasland, who denounced what he described as “a bidding masquerade”.
FOLLOWING: ‘No fraud. No conflict, “the mayor said in response to an allegation of bid-rigging
Today at the city council, the mayor doubled this defense.
“There is no procurement. Let’s be very clear. This is not a procurement issue. There was no tendering,” Turner said.
But according to FOX 26 information obtained from the Texas General Land Office, Turner’s statement could prove problematic.
To receive Harvey’s millions of dollars in salvage, the city of Houston must agree to abide by federal guidelines which clearly state: open competition. “
The mayor’s statement that there was “no tendering or procurement” could prompt a review of past projects funded with federal relief dollars administered by the GLO.
“I welcome criticism from anyone. I welcome criticism from anyone,” Turner said.
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An invitation that led Fox 26 to a document dated June 4 – the original request for affordable housing proposals issued by the city’s purchasing manager, Jerry Adams.
“Bid proposals will be reviewed, subscribed and scored to select the winners,” Adams wrote.
So why is the mayor publicly insisting that there was “no bids or supplies” in a deal that has generated so much negative heat?
The answer to this question will most likely be sought by Council members in the days and weeks to come.
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“The allegations were so blatant. We need to clean the air,” said Michael Kubosh, a member of the Houston City Council.
As it stands in Houston, it doesn’t really matter who wins in the “competitive process, as the mayor retains the power to pick winners and losers, presumably in the best interests of the city and its citizens.”
If the Commission approves the deal in question, Fox 26 learns that the GLO will ultimately determine whether any federal procurement rules have been broken.