Houston school board member Larry Marshall received a $25,000 check from a contractor doing business with the school district, and didn’t report it on his campaign financial disclosure forms, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.
Marshall received a $25,000 campaign donation in 2009 “a few days after Marshall went into a runoff election,” and failed to report it – which is illegal – the Houston Chronicle’s Ericka Mellon has reported.
Arturo Michel, Marshall’s lawyer and a former Houston city attorney, told Mellon that the donation “should have been reported and used for permissible purposes.”
A Houston construction firm, the Gil Ramirez Group, alleged in new federal court filings this week that the check to (Houston Independent School District) board member Larry Marshall's campaign was part of a bribery and conspiracy scheme meant to benefit certain companies.
The check to Marshall's campaign in November 2009 came from David Medford, who runs Fort Bend Mechanical. The Stafford company has received millions of dollars from the Houston Independent School District for construction work.
"Anytime you see a $25,000 contribution to a school board member from a company that does business with the school district - and that large contribution is not reported as required by law - one has to conclude undue influence is at play," said Chad Dunn, a Houston attorney.
Dunn represents the Gil Ramirez Group.
Questions about Marshall’s actions as a board member have circulated for months.
He twice accepted offers fromstate Rep. Borris Miles to travel for free Costa Rica. He held a fundraiser in Costa Rica on one of those trips. And he introduced district officials to a Houston doctor who almost received a $640,000 no-bid contract – despite the absence of a job description for Wells’ proposed district work.
District officials halted negotiations on that contract due to questions from Texas Watchdog and the Houston Chronicle.
Contact Mike Cronin at email@example.com or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at@michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.
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