HOUSTON - FOX 26 has learned the identity of the figure seen in a surveillance video - a man who entered the private property at 7700 San Felipe, exited a dark SUV, and proceeded to cut down a campaign sign belonging to Texas House District-133 Republican candidate Shelly Barineau and later stuffing the vandalized evidence behind a dumpster.
Turns out the "sign-trasher" was none other than former Houston City Council Member Greg Travis who is running against Barineau and three others in the March 1st Primary.
"I find it shocking that a City Councilman who should be fighting Lina Hidalgo and Rodney Ellis and all of their bad ideas has the time to come commit a petty crime, against my sign, my campaign, and my political speech," said Barineau.
In an email to FOX 26 acknowledging the removal, Travis justified his action claiming: "It's an illegal sign on a City-owned fence that is prohibited by City ordinance".
Not true, says the owner of the property, U.S. Builders President Chuck Mormino who produced an invoice indicating he paid $4,000 to construct the fence in June 2020 and gave Barineau permission to place her sign on his private property.
Travis challenged FOX 26 to ask Houston Public Works who exactly owns the fence.
Public Works did not back Travis's claim of City ownership of the fence, suggesting instead the former Councilman and all residents refrain from removing political placards and report suspect signage by calling 311.
In the meantime, Candidate Travis has offered FOX 26 a new statement saying, "if I did take a sign improperly, I apologize."
FOX 26 asked Barineau for her response.
"This was an intentional act by someone who is worried that I am winning. Let’s get busy solving crimes, Greg, not committing them," she said.
In yet another statement Travis claimed there was never any "mystery" and that the Barineau campaign was trying to, "milk an isolated incident...for political leverage."