HOUSTON - There is a bare knuckle quality emerging in the race for the top job at Houston's City hall.
Today Chris Bell took another swipe at Adrian Garcia's competence.
Bell says there's evidence from new criminal indictments that the former Sheriff failed to impose promised reforms after mentally challenged inmate Terry Goodwin was found living in his own filth at the troubled Harris County Jail.
"Just days after the Goodwin matter had been brought to light Sheriff's Department employees were again allegedly tampering with government documents pertaining to a mentally ill inmate Mr. Garcia's record of misdirection and covering up is troubling to say the least," said Bell.
As Bell attacked Garcia, Ben Hall was taking aim at Sylvester Turner.
"I mean he has become a millionaire while in public office. He has to answer for that," said Hall.
Hall says records show Turner's law firm and title company have been awarded a fortune worth of business by public entities for which he has oversight as a senior state lawmaker.
In recent years Turners businesses were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for collecting city of Houston fees and a land transaction for Houston ISD.
"In my opinion he's a compromised career politician because he's using his office to line his own pockets with money," said Hall.
By e-mail Adrian Garcia offered this response:
“Houstonians deserve a fiscally responsible leader who knows how to balance a budget, reform a large bureaucracy and keep our families safe. That’s exactly the leadership I’ve provided and these are the values I will bring to the Mayor’s Office. Rhetoric in the recent weeks demonstrates the clear difference between candidates who have had to vote on a budget versus a leader who has had to balance one.”
Bell says the payments are part of Turner's record.
"If there is the appearance that you are then trading on that office in order to feather your own nest or your personal finances then it raises a question and there's nothing maybe illegal about it, but some people find it ethically wrong," said Bell.
The Turner campaign issued the following response:
"The idea that the city or HISD has gotten special treatment from the legislature because of Sylvester Turner’s work is preposterous – in fact, he has often been one of their harshest critics.
This is another sad attempt by a desperate candidate to distract from his losing campaign. Mr. Hall has no evidence to support his claims and, frankly, no credibility. He is quickly building a track record of making false accusations based on shoddy research.
Sylvester Turner remains focused on what Houston really needs: safer neighborhoods, better roads and more economic opportunity."