For the Houston Chronicle (“A close eye on HCC” 4/18/13) to carry out their veiled threat “We’ll be watching”, they must first open their eyes. The editorial board should write their own editorials; rather than print word for word what the HCC administration submits.
The editorial states: “ As longtime Houstonian will recall, HCC’s history has been marred by episodes of HCC board members using their influence improperly to steer contracts to favored parties – whether relatives, friends or political allies.” Yes, the editorial is correct, consider this:
Mr. Schechter’s friends, Duester, Veselka, Zimmerman and others, have made millions of dollars off HCC contracts. Mr. Schechter’s daughter has worked for an HCC vendor. Mr. Schechter steered the Energy Management contract ($18 M) to Chevron over low bidder Siemens. Mr. Schechter steered the Alief Campus Construction contract ($6M) to Tribble &Stevens over low bidder Horizon. Mr. Schechter was involved in buying properties (21 acres on Westheimer, 9424 Fannin, 5201 Fannin and many others) paying 2 and 3 times the appraised value. Mr. Schechter blocked competitors from bidding on the HCC Insurance contract and steered it to State Representative Boris Miles.
Why did Mr. Schechter run for re-election, get elected, and immediately resign? Are these the actions of a man with “…a strong voice for reform…”, or the actions of a worried and nervous man abandoning a sinking ship?
Chancellor Mary Spangler’s buy out of her contract was just short of extortion. She was supposedly on medical leave and never produced a note from her doctor as to what was wrong with her. The board was so anxious to get rid of her, they gave away the farm.
Enrollment has declined 15.2 % in the last two years under Spangler’s watch. Her greatest achievement, quoting her, was opening a campus in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar at the cost of $45M , which, according to HCC records, graduated only 11 students . Her extravagant and lavish life style, at the expense of HCC credit cards, borders on embezzlement, and most likely is misappropriation of taxpayer’s funds. The school’s finances are in a shambles. (Expect a tax hike.) Should Spangler have been fired, and not given an $800,000 buyout? Now the Deputy Chancellor also wants an $800,000 buyout. Man up, and Woman up Board, just fire him.
The City of Houston gives preference to Houston-based bidders. The Houston Chronicle (HC) and the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP) support the City’s policy. Why do they oppose HCC? Even if Mr. Schechter and Ms. Perez, behind the Boards back, promised the GHP they could oversee the awarding of the Bond money contracts in exchange for their endorsement, there was never a vote of the Board agreeing to this arrangement, to my knowledge. Oh, by the way is this legal?
The Houston Chronicle does have one thing right; there is corruption among some on the HCC Board and in the administration. The HC is confused as to who are the good guys and who are the bad. I have two file cabinet drawers full of responses to open records to prove this. I will be glad to share these records with anyone. I challenge the HC and the GHP to join me in asking the State of Texas for an audit of HCC. It is time to quit drinking the cool-aid and making accusations without the facts. It is time to open our eyes.
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