'I don't believe he acted on his own:' Houston City Councilman reacts after Mayor's aide is federally charged

A Houston City Councilman is speaking out about a former Mayor’s Office employee who recently pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges. 

City Councilman Michael Kubosh says he believes more city employees could be charged and that William-Paul Thomas pleading guilty to federal charges may be just the beginning.

BACKGROUND: Former senior aide to Houston mayor pleads guilty to federal charges

"I will say this, I do not believe he acted on his own," says Councilman Kubosh. 

The federal court documents show that Thomas is accused of getting paid thousands of dollars to help one bar remain open during the COVID shutdown by operating as a restaurant. The documents also show he helped another business quickly get a permit to re-open also during 2020. 

Kubosh says that doesn’t seem like the type of power a city of Houston Director of Council Relations would have.  

"I do not believe, as a liaison for the mayor, that he has the authority to do what he has been accused of doing. It seems like that authority came from somewhere else, either a director, perhaps somebody higher up. (So even if he called and said ‘hey this is coming from the mayor,' could you see something like that happening?)  Well, that’s altogether possible," Kubosh answers. 


City Attorney Arturo Michel announced Wednesday the city is launching an investigation to figure out what happened. 

"The City Attorney is appointed by the Mayor, and he answers to the Mayor. So that always worries me whenever we say we’re going to do an investigation in-house," says Kubosh. 

Thomas has worked for the city for 14 years, even before Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner was elected. Mayor Turner has made it clear he did not know about these claims, and he says this should not be a black eye for the city’s 22,000 employees.

"I’m concerned about what’s going to happen in the future. What’s going on, what other people are involved? I just pray for the best for our city," the councilman adds.  

Thomas, nor his attorney, could be reached for comment. Thomas is expected to be sentenced in November.