HOUSTON - A controversial Houston Airport system internship approved by Mayor Sylvester Turner also included extensive domestic and international travel at taxpayer expense.
City records released by Mayoral Challenger Tony Buzbee show that in addition to his $95,000 salary, executive intern Marvin Agumagu traveled to nine different cities, including Berlin and Manila, on city business.
The $35,000 in expenses were accumulated in 35 days of travel.
Buzbee says the records indicate Agumagu was staying at luxury hotels and flying "business class" at a time most city departments were enduring a hiring freeze.
"We are paying this person $95,000 dollars 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?" said Buzbee.
Buzbee again questioned the nature of Turner's relationship with Agumagu.
"I know for a fact that this mayor and this intern 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," said Buzbee.
Turner has said his relationship with Agumagu was the same as with any other city employee.
While the mayor's press office declined to comment, his re-election campaign did respond to the latest allegation.
"News flash: Airport employees travel on airplanes. This is pathetic. And a distraction from the multiple lies that Buzbee won’t answer for," said Sue Davis, Turner's campaign spokesperson.
Buzbee pledged to ban all non-essential city travel and impose an 18-month hiring freeze for all city departments aside from police and fire.