Nontransparent, unaccountable quasi-government follies: Uptown TIRZ edition

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At the Texas Monitor, Trent Seibert has published an interesting report on John Breeding, the president of the Uptown TIRZ, apparently behaving badly when it comes to public transparency and accountability regarding the latest money grab involving the unneeded, $200+ million Post Oak fixed-guideway bus boondoggle:

The president of the Uptown Management District said earlier this month that his special district’s Post Oak bus project was “on budget” and “fully funded,” but documents obtained by The Texas Monitor show him saying in writing that the project is facing a “shortfall” and that Uptown needs more money for the bus line.

Uptown President John Breeding’s statements, at best, appear to be misleading to the public, when comparing his private letter to his public statements.

Be sure to click over to the Texas Monitor for the full report, which documents Breeding’s contradictory statements. Interestingly, Seibert notes, Breeding refused to answer the Texas Monitor’s inquiries about the contradictory assertions: “Breeding, through a public relations firm Wednesday, declined comment to The Texas Monitor, despite multiple requests.”

So, the guy who’s blowing through $200+ million of our tax dollars, and wants even more from HGAC, refuses to talk to the press about legitimate questions related to funding requests. AND, refuses through a public relations firm (that probably doesn’t come cheap). Such arrogance. This illustrates so much that is wrong with the TIRZ system in Houston.

But maybe not everything that’s wrong. In his latest op-ed, Bill King suggests something else about Mr. Breeding’s bad behavior:

HGAC should run, not walk, away from this request. There are already serious ethical questions regarding companies with which board members of the Uptown TIRZ and Management District are associated receiving payouts from right-of-way acquisitions to accommodate this boondoggle. But making false statements to receive federal funding is a serious crime. And if Uptown’s statements in its press release that the project is “on budget” and “fully funded” are true, then its statements to HGAC that the additional funding is to “accommodate project cost increases” and to “reduce the overall shortfall” were false. (emphasis added)

Ruh roh! Friday’s hearing at HGAC (October 27, 9:30 AM at 3555 Timmons Ln) ought to be interesting.

PREVIOUSLY: Uptown Bus Lanes Already $30 Million Over Budget (Bill King Blog)A public meeting on the Uptown light rail bus rapid transit line (Neal Meyer, blogHOUSTON).

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