This is from the Chron on the William-Paul Thomas bribery plea:
William-Paul Thomas, the mayor’s council liaison, was offered more than $13,000 by a local bar owner to help him pass a building inspection and fast-track a new permit to reopen a bar as a restaurant, newly unsealed court documents show.
Thomas contacted the “relevant” fire official to ensure the unnamed business owner passed the inspection in May 2020, prosecutors wrote, and then he used his position in the mayor’s office to “pressure other officials” to approve the permit in July, as well. He was paid an undisclosed amount of money for his efforts.
It is unclear whether federal investigators are looking into the unnamed city officials Thomas allegedly worked with to get the certificate and permit approved, or if they are conducting a broader inquiry into City Hall affairs.
Sean Buckley, an legal expert on federal judicial procedures, said Thomas’ quick guilty plea and his willingness to forgo a probable cause hearing before a grand jury means he likely agreed they had strong information against him. It also suggests Thomas may be part of a wider investigation by the Justice Department.
Buckley, a federal defense lawyer who represented former U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman and authored a book on federal criminal rules and codes used by trial attorneys across the country, reviewed the court documents at the request of the Houston Chronicle. He is not involved in the case.
“He’s obviously cooperating because no one who is a target in a federal investigation would ever agree to plea to a criminal information unless there have been extensive discussions between the target, his lawyer and the government leading up to that decision,” Buckley said.
“Either the government lawyers showed him what they had or he knew what they had. He knew he had everything to gain by cooperating and agreeing to plead guilty without forcing the government to get an indictment from the grand jury, and much to lose by not cooperating.”
Buckley said it also clear the investigation, by prosecutors from the public corruption unit, has been going on for months and there likely is a wider-ranging investigation underway involving multiple defendants.
“My read on this is that this person has something of value to the government,” Buckley said.
He said the documents also indicate “there is an environment in the city of Houston that allows this type of thing to take place.”
Evan Mintz tweeted this yesterday:
I don’t understand how someone can throw away their life and career for $13,000
How about for $100,000? $250,000? $1 million?
Nope! Not me. Folks will have a lot to say about Commentary when I am a goner, but crook won’t be one.
I don’t know what happened with William-Paul. Sometimes you stay in a key position too long and get intoxicated with power. Just saying.
Commentary doesn’t know much about running a newspaper. I am just a loyal subscriber to the Houston Chronicle. I believe in supporting local journalism. That being said, the Chron now have four writers covering the grub scene. Alison Cook is the restaurant critic. Greg Morago is the food editor. John-Henry Perera is the food writer. Welcome to H-Town Chron restaurant columnist, Bao Ong.
Food and restaurants are a huge part of the Houston Metro scene, so I guess four food journalists is ok by me.
Let’s expand. Instead of best burgers, best barbeque, best Italian, best fajitas, how about who serves up the best flour tortillas? My Mom used to make the best flour tortillas at home. Who has the best tortillas in a restaurant as stand alone in a stack? How about who makes the best carne guisada?
Along those lines, from “Oliver” the musical and film:
Food, glorious food!
Hot sausage and mustard!
While we’re in the mood —
Cold jelly and custard!
The Chron has a story on the old resign-to-run issue. You know, the one that applies to certain county and municipal elected officials who want to run for another office, but they still have two or more years left to serve in their current office. Here is from the Chron:
John Whitmire’s plans have been clear since November: He is running for re-election to the state Senate, and he also is running for mayor.
If all goes according to his plan, Whitmire will serve out his final legislative session in the Senate in 2023, turn his attention to campaigning for City Hall in the summer and win a new job in November or December.
City officials in Houston, though, do not have the same luxury, and it is creating political hurdles this year for ambitious council members looking for new jobs — especially those that may want to take City Hall’s top office.
Texas has a resign-to-run law meant to discourage officials from holding one office while running for another. The law dates back to a 1958 constitutional amendment, purportedly aimed at ensuring elected officials concentrate their attention on the job they already have and do not run campaigns while on the taxpayers’ dime.
The state applies the rule only to certain county and city officials, though, and not to those who serve in Austin. That is why Whitmire can, essentially, run for two jobs at the same time. Legislators have run for just about every job in the state while keeping their posts.
Here is the entire read: Why do local Houston officials have to resign before running? (houstonchronicle.com).
Here is the deal. If you are interested in running for an elected office, do your homework. This applies to those who are serving in an office with a four-year term. If down the road, you might want to run for another office, find out if the office you are currently seeking is covered under resign-to-run. It is that simple. To whine just tells me that you didn’t do your homework.
The Chron put together a Mount Rushmore for H-Town and here are the four who would make the cut:
Beyoncé, Hakeem Olajuwon, Barbara Jordan and Roy Hofheinz.
Here is who made honorable mention:
Sam Houston. Jim “Mattress Mack” McInvale, George H.W. Bush, Nolan Ryan, Ninfa Laurenzo, Simone Biles, Earl Campbell, J.J. Watt, Jesse H. Jones, Mickey Leland, and Dr. Michael DeBakey.
What about Hall of Fame greats Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. How about Jose Altuve.
Trey Mancini hit a dinger into the Crawford Boxes in his first at-bat as an Astro. Cool. I wonder if his walk-up tune is “Moon River” or “The Pink Panther Theme.” Get it?
We got back to winning and are in Cleveland for four.