Stephen Costello by danzmark


									ETHICS , INTEGRITY , Anybody?

 ‘Renew Houston’, a „Specific Purpose Committee‟ was created to influence the passage of
Houston ballot measure „Proposition 1‟ Drainage Fee. While the majority of the list of
contributors are prima facie in violation of Texas Statutes and Houston Codes covering
financing ballot measures, none stands out more blatantly than Houston City Councilman
Stephen Costello; a „public official‟ pushing a ballot measure that will greatly enrich him

Per Houston City Attorney, David Feldman, ‘Mission Statement’ :

“Integrity & Candor - Acting with a commitment to honesty and ethical behavior,”

I submitted the particulars on Costello to Mr. Feldman, and he wasn‟t interested; suggesting I
direct my efforts elsewhere. I then pointed out that ordinary Houston citizens don‟t have to call
the Police Chief to report their car stolen, any officer of the law will suffice; and, per his
„commitment‟, he should be capable of forwarding my complaint to the proper authorities. He
apparently isn‟t.

I then submitted my complaint to the Harris County District Attorney, and the results are
pending. Since violations of Texas Statues on ballot measures are involved, I copied all my
submissions to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott; Mr. Abbott apparently isn‟t interested

It‟s a sad day for the citizens of Houston when enforcement of the law is controlled by public
servant „good old boys‟ covering up for each other.


(1) Name of party complained of: Stephen C. Costello , City of Houston, Texas Councilman,
At Large 1, Phone 832 393-3014

(2) Name of complaining party: Daniel Warvelle Harbaugh, Houston, Texas 77061.

(3) N/A

(4) Offense: Violation of State and Houston ballot measure laws

(5) Dates of offense: Prior to and including public voting on Proposition 1/Houston Drainage
Fee on City of Houston November 2010 ballot measure.

(6) Location of offense: Harris County, Texas

(7) Brief summary: Councilman Costello funded „Renew Houston‟, a „Specific-Purpose
Committee‟, $90,000 to influence Proposition 1 ballot measure. Per Texas Ethics Commission
Title 15 ,1-253.033: (a) A candidate, officeholder, or specific-purpose committee may not
knowingly accept from a contributor in a reporting period political contributions in cash that in
the aggregate exceed $100.

Councilman Costello is a city officeholder and a prime promoter of Proposition 1. His company
Costello Inc. has been a participant in over $55 million in City contracts, including $21 million
solo. A City Councilman funding $90,000 to promote a city ballot measure designed to enrich
him personally is prima facie against the law and a conflict-of-interest.

(8) Details: See Documents Submitted (9)

(9) (a) Houston Ordinances and Texas Codes. (b) List of contributors to Proposition 1
passage. (c) Notarized Affidavit of complaining party.

(10 thru (13) Covered elsewhere in this submittal.

(14) Other agency reported to: Houston City Attorney David Feldman, City of Houston Legal
Department,900 Bagby, 3rd Floor, Houston, TX 77002, PHONE: 832.393.6491. No action

(15) No complaint to suspect person or agency.

(16) No knowledge of any pending lawsuits.

WHEREAS, Chapter 18 of the Code of Ordinances currently contains several
provisions that serve as general guidelines in addressing impermissible conduct of city
officials; and
WHEREAS, it is the policy of the city that all city officials shall conduct themselves
with integrity and credibility in a manner consistent with the best interests of the city and
the public's trust; and
WHEREAS, the city is steadfast in its endeavors to strengthen the ethics standards
applicable to city officials in an effort to eliminate conflicts of interest and opportunities for
city officials to derive any personal gain or advantage as a result of their status as a city
official, including the provision of any preferential treatment to any person, business, or
organization in whose welfare the city official is directly interested; and

WHEREAS, it is recommended that City Council adopt the proposed amendments
to Chapter 18 to provide greater transparency, increased awareness, and a heightened
standard of accountability concerning the ethics standards incumbent upon all city officials
in their service to the city and its citizens; NOW THEREFORE,
Section 1. That the findings contained in the preamble of this Ordinance are
determined to be true and correct and are hereby adopted as a part of this Ordinance.
Section 2. That Sections 18-1,18-2 and 18-3 of the Code of Ordinances, Houston,
Texas, are hereby amended to read as follows:
Sec. 18-3. Standards of conduct.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any city official to:
(1) Engage in any business or professional activity that conflicts
with the discharge of official duties.
(2) Invest or hold any investment or interest in any financial,
business, commercial or other transaction that creates a
conflict between the public trust held as an official of the city
and the official's private interests.

A political committee is defined as “a group of persons that has as a principal purpose
accepting political contributions or making political expenditures.” Section 251.001(12),
Election Code. “Person” includes a corporation. Section 311.005(2), Government Code.

Person means an individual, corporation, partnership, labor
organization, unincorporated association, firm, committee, political
committee, club or other organization or group of persons whether
associated with a political party or element thereof or not.

TEXAS ETHICS COMMISSION Title 15, Election Code Regulating Political Funds and
Campaigns Effective September 1, 2007 (Revised 09/01/2007 )

1§ 253.033. Cash Contributions Exceeding $100 Prohibited

(a) A candidate, officeholder, or specific-purpose committee may not knowingly accept from a
contributor in a reporting period political contributions in cash that in the aggregate exceed $100.

Note Costello Inc. - $10,000 (4th down from top)

Note Stephen Costello - $50,000; Stephen Costello - $30,000.

Comment: The total lit of 102 contributors is not included; only those with Costello‟s
contributions are shown. Numerous of the above contributors to promote the passage of
Proposition 1 ballot measure are in prima facie violation of Houston Ordinances and Texas
Codes; however, none but Houston City Councilman Stephen Costello are apparent as a public
servant with conflict-of-interest.


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