Mayor Turner says budget is balanced, no more cuts needed

On Tuesday in America's fourth largest metropolis, a tale of two cities emerged.

The first comes from its leader Mayor Sylvester Turner, who presented a $5.1 billion spending plan for the coming year.

"We are holding back on things that are not deemed priorities," said Turner.

Despite a projected 3 percent increase in revenue, it is a budget Turner claims he balanced by filling a $179 million deficit through spending cuts and more than 334 lay-offs necessitated by voter approved pay parity for firefighters.

Last week, Turner claimed a contract proposal extended by the firefighters' union would break the City financially and on Tuesday. he doubled-down.

"What I have said is as long as I am Mayor we are not going to bankrupt this City," said Turner.

But two hours later, the competence and integrity of Turner's administration were being challenged by opponent Tony Buzbee who tells a much different tale about the state of the City.

"You would call that fraud," said Buzbee of his revelation.

Buzbee alleges a major City vendor selected to deliver $66 million in Hurricane Harvey home restoration submitted the names of minority sub-contractors as partners to meet an equal opportunity mandate.

Trouble is, some of those minority partners like Leonard Wiggins never knew it, never signed a contract and haven't received a dime.

"That's just like someone stealing your identity and taking it and using it for their gain and that's what the City did to me, that's what these contractors did to me," said Wiggins, who, together with his wife, own Blessed Enterprises and are City certified Minority-Women-Small Business Enterprise sub-contractors.

"This is not just misappropriation of their status and their names, this is also in my view criminal activity," said Buzbee.

In a statement received by Fox 26, a spokesperson for the Turner campaign said, "To say that campaign contributions affected the awarding of a city contract is ludicrous. Mr. Buzbee’s accusations were vague and he provided no proof." 

The spokesperson also noted substantial political contributions to the Mayor from Buzbee, his wife and members of his law firm.