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Come Clean, Gene

Adam Harris, Annise Parker for Mayor campaign manager, issued the following statement today in response to Gene Locke’s attack on Parker:

First, Annise Parker is the only mayoral candidate who has ever voted to cut property taxes. Mr. Locke is the only mayoral candidate who left taxpayers holding the bag for an expensive bailout after promising taxpayers they wouldn’t have to pay for Reliant Stadium.

Second, if there are budget problems, Mr. Locke is part of the problem, not the solution. He and his firm have soaked the city and public agencies for more than $17 million in the last six years by billing more than $604 an hour.

Third, Mr. Locke is the one who led the negotiations that created hundreds of millions of dollars of public indebtedness. Our grandchildren’s tax dollars will paying off the debts that Locke incurred on our behalf.

The fact is that Mr. Locke still refuses to come clean and answer serious questions about his conflicts of interest. The conflict remains, and it is massive.

The city’s ethics law specifically prohibits any city official from holding a financial interest, directly or indirectly, that would even “tend to create a conflict between the public trust held as an official of the city and the official’s private interests.”

Locke has not pledged to publicly release his divestment plan from Andrews Kurth and, if elected, not to return to the firm after his tenure as mayor. He did not pledge to recuse himself from votes on giving city business to his law firm. Nor did he pledge to prohibit the firm from doing city work as long as he is mayor.

This much is clear: If Locke is elected mayor, he will serve under a cloud of impropriety.

As Annise Parker said yesterday, “The voters deserve an answer to these questions by Mr. Locke”:

1. Will you release within one week your divestment and payout plan with Andrews Kurth? Will Andrews Kurth’s future income affect the size of your payout? Will you retain any interest in a pension or retirement plan or any other interest tied to the income of Andrews Kurth?

2. Will you permanently resign from Andrews Kurth if elected mayor and enter into a legally-binding agreement never to have a financial interest or association with the firm or any relationship with the firm after you leave the office of mayor?

3. Will you as mayor recuse yourself on all questions involving clients of Andrews Kurth, including all business with Metro, the Sports Authority and the Port Authority and bond transactions and other business done by Andrews Kurth for the City?

4. Will you prohibit Andrews Kurth from representing the city and affiliated public agencies during your tenure as mayor, so as to avoid the inevitable appearance of impropriety involving any city business done with your partners and firm?

“Our city spends literally billions of dollars each year,” said Parker. “It cannot function in the best interest of taxpayers if a cloud of impropriety hangs over major financial decisions. The voters deserve an answer to these questions by Mr. Locke.”

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