in Houston, Texas
More bribe checks to Larry Marshall may be hidden in HISD contractor's warehouse: Court filings
Monday, Oct 24, 2011, 01:48PM CST
By Mike Cronin
Checks cashed sign

More checks to bribe Houston school board member Larry Marshall could be hiding among the boxes of information that Fort Bend Mechanical refuses to release, despite a subpoena ordering the company to do so, according to court documents filed today.

“There may be additional checks made payable to Larry Marshall or his campaign which were in the files but not documented on Larry Marshall’s campaign finance report,” read the documents filed in the court of U.S. District Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt today.


The Gil Ramirez Group, a rival Houston schools contractor, “believes that there were other checks to Larry Marshall or his campaign” among files that the Stafford-based firm is withholding, the documents say.

The Ramirez Group, a Houston construction company, said in court documents filed earlier this month that a $25,000 check Marshall received from David “Pete” Medford, who runs Fort Bend Mechanical, in 2009 was a bribe. Marshall represents the District IX of the Houston Independent School District. He did not report the donation as a contribution in his campaign financial-disclosure forms, which is illegal.

Fort Bend Mechanical, which does construction, maintenance, and heating-and-air-conditioning service, has done millions of dollars of business with the Houston Independent School District.

Houston lawyer Chad Dunn represents the Gil Ramirez Group and Gil Ramirez Jr.

Michael McGann, a Houston lawyer who is representing Fort Bend Mechanical, did not return a call for comment.

The lawyers appeared to have reached an agreement last week when Fort Bend Mechanical had agreed to release all relevant information covered by the subpoena, according to the documents filed today.

Due to that apparent agreement, Dunn and his team were prepared to drop contempt-of-court and compel motions they filed earlier this month.


But Fort Bend Mechanical officials on Wednesday refused to hand over the files containing copies of Medford’s $25,000 check to Marshall, so the Dunn team will press forward with the contempt-of-court and compel motions, today’s documents say.

Hoyt may take as long as he’d like to issue a ruling on those motions.

Medford did not return a message left on his voicemail.

Questions about Marshall’s actions as a board member have circulated for months.

He twice accepted offers from state 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 mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.

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Photo by flickr user daquella manera, used under a Creative Commons license.

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