Harris County Judge grilled following 'bid rigging' allegations

Four days after search warrant affidavits filed by the Texas Rangers implicated at least three senior advisors to Judge Lina Hidalgo in what appears to be an $11 million bid-rigging scheme, the leader of Harris County did her best to convince reporters "it’s not what it seems."

"A lot of what was released this past Friday was out of context. It was private messages, private e-mails providing a single side of what took place. Of course, it sounds alarming, because it's meant to sound alarming," said Hidalgo.

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Hidalgo made the claim of "no wrongdoing" while not answering key questions as to why a little known, one woman firm with deep Democratic ties was funneled "inside information" by the judge’s key Lieutenants prior to the contract going out for bid, or why her current chief of staff ordered "the door slammed" on the University of Texas Health Science Center after the well-known institution outscored eventual winner, Elevate Strategies, in the initial evaluation.

RELATED: Serious questions emerge around $11 million Harris County COVID-19 contract

Hidalgo insisted she was following her attorney's advice in not responding.

"Judge, you say you are a straight shooter, and you said last year, from Commissioner's Court that you barely knew who Felicity was. Now I'll use another term you use which is 'the documents are the documents.' The documents from the Texas Rangers show you did know who she was. You were aware of her activities and you were helping her get the contract. Respond to that. Is that not true? Is that misleading? Is that out of context?" asked FOX 26 Political Reporter Greg Groogan.

"That is misleading, and unfortunately I can't explain how and eventually all the facts will be public," answered Hidalgo.

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According to multiple legal experts, the Texas Rangers affidavit offered what appears to be clear and convincing evidence of "misuse of official information" and "tampering with government documents."
both of which are serious criminal offenses.

Hidalgo was also asked if she planned to fire the three staffers implicated in the affidavit.

"From the facts, as I know them, what I've seen, there isn't information that warrants that," said Hidalgo.

Under very heavy fire, Hidalgo canceled the $11 million contract back in September.

RELATED: Harris County Commissioners unanimously vote to cancel controversial $11M contract

At the urging of Commissioner Jack Cagle, the Harris County Attorney's Office is seeking to claw back more than a $1 million that was paid to Elevate Strategies before the deal was nixed.