METRO put out a press release yesterday announcing that outgoing chairman David Wolff “has asked UHY Advisors… to conduct an independent investigation into allegations that public funds were misused at METRO because of an inappropriate relationship.” The press release also contained this laugher:
METRO’s Board of Directors and staff have worked very hard over the past six years to improve mobility in Houston and build the public’s confidence in their transit agency. An independent investigation is necessary to maintain that trust….
Improve mobility? Build public confidence? Maintain trust? Right!
The Chronicle, which describes the coming “probe” of Frank Wilson’s alleged relationship (to borrow from Cory Crow, YUCK!), managed to find out that the independent investigator will be charging METRO $310/hour. Apparently, local media were not able to obtain an exact, contractual description of the work to be performed (or at least no such document has been published).
Here is what Wolff, who commissioned this “probe”, details of which apparently have not fully been shared with local media, had to say about Frank Wilson to the Chronicle in 2004, when Wilson was under investigation by New Jersey’s capable, independent Commission of Investigation:
“He’s not just a visionary but a person who has operated and constructed every form of transit in cities all over the country,” Metro Chairman David Wolff said Thursday. “He’s the best. Everybody loves him.”
Wolff dismisses Wilson’s critics, noting any political appointee is bound to garner enemies. The search firm Metro used to screen candidates thoroughly vetted Wilson’s background. It found nothing that would disqualify him from consideration, Wolff said, and he has the board’s unanimous support.
We’re thinking Mr. Wolff’s standards on Wilson’s performance in many areas are lower than some. Will those low expectations influence the “independent” probe?