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Locke Continues to Dodge Questions on Conflict of Interest

The Annise Parker for Mayor campaign today renewed its call on Gene Locke to say whether he will recuse himself from voting on lucrative city contracts for his law partners if elected mayor.

“Lawyer-lobbyist Gene Locke continues to demonstrate his disdain for open and transparent government and his disrespect for the voters,” said Adam Harris, Parker’s campaign manager. “He still refuses to say whether or not he will vote on millions of dollars of city contracts for his law partners if elected mayor.”

“It’s been exactly two weeks since these questions were raised,” continued Harris. “It’s time for lawyer-lobbyist Locke to come clean about his conflicts.”

Locke is a partner in the politically connected law firm of Andrews Kurth. The firm has made more than $17 million in the last six years alone from the City of Houston, METRO, the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority and the Port Authority of Houston, the same public agencies whose board members Locke would appoint as Mayor – while his law firm, Andrews Kurth, continues to bid for contracts from the city and each of those agencies.

Locke has billed local government agencies like METRO at rates of up to $640 an hour. He billed $574,000 in fees to the Sports Authority alone in the last 30 months.

“These are not theoretical questions,” Harris said. “After lawyer-lobbyist Locke left the City Attorney’s office his law firm received the biggest city contract ever, and the following year received more city contracts than any other firm in Houston. Voters need to know their mayor does not have to choose between what’s good for his law firm and what’s good for Houston.”

Harris said Locke should agree to recuse himself from votes involving Andrews Kurth or its clients, or agree to prohibit the firm from doing business with the city while he is mayor.

Locke refused to release his tax returns for weeks after Parker voluntarily released hers, and agreed to release them only after being cornered by a Texas Watchdog reporter the week before Thanksgiving.

Locke has also refused to answer a series of questions posed by Texas Watchdog eight weeks ago about his relationship with the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority. According to documents uncovered by Texas Watchdog, Locke was still involved with the authority well after he claimed to have resigned when the campaign began.

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