Bonusgate scandal stays in the news

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The new communications team advising embattled Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado can’t be happy with today’s publicity.

Then again, they helped generate some of it by insisting on the following correction in today’s Chronicle:

In an interview for a story that appeared on Page B1 Wednesday about the $66,000 increase in the mayor pro tem budget for fiscal 2006, Houston City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado said, “I don’t know why this $50,000, or $60,000, is such a hot issue.” A word in her statement was misquoted.

Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado

Certainly, quotes should be accurate, but the difference between “hot” and “big” as a modifier for “issue” is so negligible that one wonders why expensive bigshot communications advisors would insist on the correction and keep the issue in the news.

That was just the morning dose of bonusgate. Later in the day, Councilmember Addie Wiseman revealed a letter to Mayor White that asks some very pointed questions as to why Council (not to mention the Harris County District Attorney and the general public) has largely been kept in the dark on the matter to date. Jim Thompson helpfully posts the letter on KHOU-11’s news blog.

KTRK-13’s Miya Shay proved nimble enough today to track down one of the four suspended staffers, but he didn’t have a comment:

Christopher Mays is one of the four workers in the mayor pro tem’s office accused of accepting improper bonuses. He’s been suspended since the scandal broke, but he broke his silence with Eyewitness News.

It’s been a difficult week and a half for Mays and the other employees who’ve been on suspension. There are lots of unknowns and rumors swirling around. Mays is reluctant to say much.

“It’s pretty hectic,” he said. “There are some pretty serious accusations, but I would just like to withhold any comment until the matter is fully investigated.”

Not to get overly philosophical, but is it really breaking silence when one announces he will have no comment?


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Kevin Whited
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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX