Challenger calls Mayor Parker a "shakedown artist" - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Challenger calls Mayor Parker a "shakedown artist"

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In the shadow of City Hall, the prime challenger for the job of running Houston did some serious name calling.

"The City of Houston is a victim of a mayor who is a shakedown artist," said candidate Ben Hall.

The allegation was made not just once or twice, but over and over.


"You cannot self deal as mayor. You cannot be a shake down artist as a mayor," repeated Hall.

The evidence turned up by Hall's "investigators" is circumstantial, but potentially compelling for voters. Detailed campaign records show Parker appointees and vendors who sell goods and services to the city poured at least $1 million dollars into the mayor's re-election fund.

Hall claims that in exchange Parker steered her donors $65 million worth of City contracts, a practice many call "pay to play".

"I can tell you if I was City Attorney and I had seen these kind of numbers I would have turned my boss over to the District Attorney. This is criminal conduct," said Hall.

In one example, the Parker campaign accepted a $2,000 contribution one day and the contributor won a $1.7 million dollar city contract a day later.

It is a potentially illegal mistake the mayor's campaign has acknowledged.

"This is shocking conduct. It is absolutely shocking. It was so shocking I told my investigators to go back and re-check these numbers," said Hall.

"To say the Mayor is steering contracts to people is ridiculous. Everything we do is legal. There may be some little glitches or mistakes now and then that we've made, but when we find them, we correct them," said Sue Davis, spokesperson for the Parker campaign.

Davis calls the charges a political stunt designed to divert attention away from Hall's history of tardy tax payment and controversial record while serving as City Attorney.

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