HOUSTON — A member of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s inner circle was issued a subpoena for her emails Wednesday, as a part of the fight between the city and EcoHub, a recycling firm that believes it was unfairly shut out of bidding for a recycling deal.
Dolcefino Consulting, which represents EcoHub, issued the subpoenas for the e-mails of Maya Ford, who is close to Turner and served on his mayoral transition team. Ford also this year was an advocate for EcoHub, promoting the company that promised to take in all of the city’s waste and recycling at zero cost to the taxpayer, and saving the city $40 million to boot.
Turner has defended his administration’s actions in rejecting EcoHub’s “One Bin” recycling plan which would, if successful, allow homeowners to put all of their trash and recycling into one bin, all of which would be used to create new products, which is how EcoHub would make its money.
The company had arranged private money to finance the first plant and City Hall was on the verge of finalizing a contract when Turner took office.
Turner said it was untested and refused to sign off on the deal.
He also appeared to disregard the project because it was started and supported by his predecessor, Mayor Annise Parker.
“One Bin did not start with me,” Turner told ABC13 investigative reporter Ted Oberg in one exchange in June. “One Bin started with the previous administrations. We are under new management now. I am under no obligation to carry forth something that started with the previous administration.”
Lobbyists working with EcoHub led company officials to believe as late as August that the company was in the running.
“We know Maya Ford sent e-mails to the Mayor and other top city officials alleging Houston Solid Waste Boss Harry Hayes was ethically challenged, showing favoritism to big garbage companies,” said Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Shame on Mayor Turner for keeping secrets about the way public funds are spent. We already know this deal smells.”
Requests left with both City Hall and Ford have not been answered.
EcoHub president George Gitschel said he believes there is bid rigging and possible corruption in the awarding of recycling contracts and that the big garbage companies have too cozy a relationship with city officials.
Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.