Galveston mayoral candidate Roger “Bo” Quiroga has a potential huge conflict of interest about which he has failed to tell city voters.
In 2013, Quiroga, a former mayor and then a Port of Galveston executive, showed up at a city council meeting with a man named Michael Graham. The two pressed council to create what they called a “non-taxing infrastructure authority.”
Through it, Graham’s firm, Transort, would borrow a whopping $4 billion to build desalination, biofuel and power plants on leased port property on Pelican Island. Their own lawyer couldn’t tell the council exactly how to create such an authority under Texas law, but the two urged council to do it that very day anyway. No risk or liability at all for the city, they said.
The city would share millions in desalination plant profits and collect a stunning $17 million a year in property taxes on the desalination plant alone. That’s $1 million more than 2011’s total city property tax revenues. The project would spawn as many as 100,000 permanent jobs in the area; they claimed new jobs numbering twice the city’s population.
What a deal.
2020 mayoral candidate Quiroga’s problem is that he now works for Graham and others who promoted that $4 billion, no-risk, municipal bonanza scheme in 2013. They’re still in the same business and they claim they have a Texas project.
But months into his mayoral campaign, Quiroga has uttered not a peep publicly about being a “principal” in a company that could, almost certainly would if Quiroga is elected, come knocking on Galveston’s door with another $4 billion dollar industrial scheme.
Quiroga’s Facebook lists employment “Principal at Hellenic LLC-Gaugamela.”
Gaugamela on Facebook is “the international operations arm of Hellenic.” Want information on Gaugamela? Call managing partners Michael Graham and William Lauterbach, whom Graham named as his partner at the 2013 council meeting.
Back then, Graham said his and Lauterbach’s firm was “working with cities all over the world and all over the country.” Which cities? He wouldn’t say. (Google “Transort” today and see what you find.) After two hours of confused talk, a skeptical council told Graham and Quiroga to come up with a detailed plan if they wanted council’s action. They never returned.
On Hellenic’s and Gaugamela’s web and Facebook pages now, seven years later, Graham, Quiroga and partners cite no actual projects they’ve built or are building. They say only: “Initial locations are planned for Greece, Mexico, Guatemala (2), Virginia and Texas. Each is holistically designed with a port facility to support long-term industrial, commercial and community expansion, sustainability and without governmental subsidies.”
It’s the same concept presented in 2013. And it’s still just a plan. Hasn’t been done anywhere. But, gee, I’m glad it’s “holistic.”
And with six projects “planned,” does Hellenic/Gaugamela now need $24 billion from private investors?
Since the moment Quiroga filed, I wondered why, after 16 years, he’d want to be mayor again. Now, I have an idea. But why didn’t he tell us all?