in Houston, Texas
City appeals records request for investigation docs into Houston City Councilman Stephen Costello, who was cleared of any wrongdoing or conflict of interest
Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011, 01:01PM CST
By Steve Miller
Houston City Hall

A citizen’s request for information relating to city contracts held by Houston City Councilman Stephen Costello has been referred to the state Attorney General’s office.

 

The April 4 request from David Welch, a Houston pastor, seeks documents and communications relating to the recent inspector general's investigation of Costello for “potential conflicts of interest or violations of the city charter.”

 

Costello was cleared of any wrongdoing in March.

 

City Attorney David Feldman said there have been a number of investigations conducted by the office of the inspector general, some involving city employees. But in terms of what is public record in both sustained and unsustained allegations, “we’re still looking for that middle ground, that happy medium,” Feldman said. “Maybe the attorney general will help us in that regard.”

The notice of appeal from the city to the AG’s office cites a broad section of Texas Government Code, which the city will break down in a subsequent filing.

 

Costello and his office did not respond to e-mails.

 

Welch is part of a group of critics of the city’s voter-approved Proposition 1 measure, which levies a tax on residents and businesses for road and infrastructure improvements. The measure was approved in November and will generate $125 million a year. The tax is set to be levied beginning in July.


Foes of the measure pointed to its strong financial backing from engineers, including Costello, and the possibility they could benefit from passage of Prop 1, referred to by proponents as Renew Houston.

 

***

Editor's Note: This post was updated at 6:35 p.m. April 20 to include comments from City Attorney David Feldman.


Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.


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Photo of Houston City Hall by flickr user eschipul, used via a Creative Commons license.

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