I just got off the phone with Mitchell Rasansky, and the council member had two things to say about David Dean, the lobbyist who's gotten about a million from the city to work on the Trans-Texas Corridor.
First, Rasansky says, after Wednesday's contentious 7-6 vote that gave Dean $515,000, he went straight to City Auditor Craig Kinton for a private chat. "I want to make sure all the expenses are justified," Rasansky says. The fiscal watchdog wants to know how Dean's spending your money, and he's gotten quite a lot of it. Like $250,000 in 2004. Then, in 2005, $300,000, plus $70,000 in expenses. And $515,000 on Wednesday, plus $25,000 in additional expenses, plus even more should he go through that. (I know I would. Why not? Free money. Daddy needs a new pair of pants. Seriously.)
Rasansky's also trying to get one of the council members who voted for the contract with Dean--those would be Bill Blaydes, Elba Garcia, Gary Griffith, Pauline Medrano, Ron Natinsky, Ed Oakley and Steve Salazar--to call for a motion to reconsider the deal. Should the motion pass (heh), it would come up for a vote again (hah). The city charter does allow for such a thing, but it's a narrow window of opportunity: If one of them doesn't bring the motion to the council by Wednesday's council meeting, Dean will get his dough. And it's unlikely that five of the seven who said yes would bring the motion or vote against it given a second chance. Blaydes, Griffith, Natinsky, Oakley and Salazar have all traveled with Dean to sell the Trans-Texas Corridor, and, says one city official, what incentive do they have to turn off the travel-dough tap--especially Blaydes, Natinsky and Oakley, who all went to China on the city's dime over the summer?
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"David Dean could sell P.T. Barnum an elephant," says Rasansky. "Now it has surpassed a million dollars, and it's just crazy. As I said Wednesday, there's no bottom to this." --Robert Wilonsky