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?

Kevin Moran lives in Galveston.

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(10) comments

Lisa Blair

I also wondered why Quiroga is once again trying to bring his good old boy network back to power. It seems that some folks have either rewritten history or have very short memories of the many questionable “deals” that Quiroga burdened our city with. Watch the council meeting where the Transort deal is pitched by Quiroga. It is so outrageous, the claims so overblown, the numbers so unrealistic, you’d have to be willfully ignorant or attempting to pull off a con job, to stand up in public and advocate for it. Desalination plants need a deep water port and we’ve got one. Quiroga owes the citizens some clear answers about his business ties with Hellenic and he should have disclosed them at the start of his campaign.

Clinton Stevens

If this is the best hit piece you can come up with it’s going to be a long four weeks.

Lisa Blair

Well there’s also his campaign to repeal collective bargaining for police and fire. Or to fund police raises by taking money from the fire budget. Those are interesting also.

Lisa Blair

By definition a “hit piece” contains Faldo or misleading statements. I guess I can start posting links and you can prove them false, if you’d like to go there.

Lisa Blair

false

Ellen Morrison

I recall a similar instance about a railroad to Pelican Island. He and also former mayor Barbara Crews were pitching like crazy, but had no concrete plans to show.

John E Sr. Macrini

Big League Dreams comes to the Island .

Bill Broussard

I think this non-disclosure is significant and just simply rotten. It was enough to turn me away. Lisa noted a couple of other things that weren’t to much of a bright spot on this candidate also. I’m just sorry I’m finding out about this so late in the game. Thanks Kevin and

Lisa

Ron Shelby

Go pick through Quiroga's campaign filings to see who's been giving the money.

Virginia Stone

He seems to be a little too sneaky for me.

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