Taxpayers got charged for a Houston Airport System intern to travel to nine different cities in the past year, including Berlin and Manila, at a cost of $35,000, FOX 26 reported on Thursday.
Mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee released records that showed the costly trips taken by executive intern Marvin Agumagu as part of his job, in addition to his $95,000 salary.
Mayor Sylvester Turner, who is running for re-election, approved the internship. However, when first asked about the internship, he denied knowledge of it.
Buzbee said the records show that Agumagu stayed at luxury hotels and flew first-class, during a period when city departments were dealing with hiring freezes.
Buzbee also questioned the personal relationship between Turner and Agumagu, telling the TV station that the two “were exchanging text messages at 11 o’clock at night on a Sunday and according to the city, those texts were not city or city business-related.”
“We are paying this person $95,000 a year as an intern. He spent, since November of 2018, 35 days traveling all over the world. We are paying him to, quote, as he says, ‘learning the business of aviation,’ because he knows nothing about aviation whatsoever. Do you wonder why we can’t put more police on the streets?” Buzbee told the TV station.
Turner’s office declined to comment, but his campaign spokeswoman, Sue Davis, responded.
“News flash: Airport employees travel on airplanes,” she told FOX 26. “This is pathetic.”
If elected mayor, Buzbee said, he would ban non-essential city employee travel.