in Houston, Texas
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett's company in line to earn $60K in 2009 from Port of Victoria
Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 10:42PM CST
By Trent Seibert & Lee Ann O'Neal
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett has disclosed his amount of compensation from a consulting agreement with the Port of Victoria, after Texas Watchdog raised questions last week about his work for the port.

The judge said his company, The Emmett Company, is in a position to make $60,000 this year for giving the port advice on port and rail improvements and policy. Emmett had previously told Texas Watchdog through a spokesman that he would not disclose such details about the consulting arrangement.

Emmett's company charged the Port $3,000 a month in 2008, and $5,000 a month in 2009, Emmett spokesman Joe Stinebaker said by e-mail.

"It's still our position that the disclosure is not required, but the judge wants to make sure he complies with the spirit as well the letter of the law," Stinebaker said in an e-mail late Wednesday.

The business arrangement is noted on Emmett's personal financial disclosure form, a document officials are required by state law to file annually. The documents catalogue family, business and financial connections for high-profile politicians. View Emmett's form here, with the second part found here.

Emmett

The disclosure forms do not go into great detail about financial interests, but they are useful in indicating whether politicians may have a conflict between their role as public servants and their financial or business ties.

Emmett's statement about his fees from the port goes beyond what the forms require politicians to disclose. On this page where Emmett notes the relationship with the port, the judge noted he provided services in 2008 to the "Port of Victoria" and marked a checkbox indicating the fees amounted to "$25,000 or more."

"The Port of Victoria has no business, official or unofficial, in any way with Harris County," Stinebaker wrote in an e-mail on Monday to Texas Watchdog. "And the judge declines to release more specific information on how much the company charged the Port other than what is listed on the disclosure as that is proprietary information that is neither required nor related to his position as Harris County judge."

Emmett said earlier this week that politicians should be forthcoming about their spouse names, which are listed on the form but were recently concealed by Harris County and Houston officials. Emmett said he would follow the attorney general's guidance on whether to make spouse names available and said other officials should also.

Interested in viewing other state and local politicians' financial disclosure forms? Check back at www.texaswatchdog.org, where we will soon be posting a map of state lawmakers' forms. Texas Watchdog is also posting local and state officials' forms to the blog as we receive them.

Contact Lee Ann O'Neal at leeann@texaswatchdog.org or 713-980-9777. Contact Trent Seibert at trent@texaswatchdog.org or 713-980-9776. Rosanna Ruiz contributed to this report.

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Comments
Charlie
Thursday, 05/14/2009 - 02:47PM

“The Port of Victoria has no business, official or unofficial, in any way with Harris County,” Stinebaker wrote in an e-mail on Monday to Texas Watchdog.

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I wonder if any elected or appointed official with oversight over the Port of Victoria has any business with Harris County. That would complete the circle.

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