The Mayor, the Developer, the Apartment, and the Park: A Group Project

Yesterday Texas Watchdog released 99 pages of emails and correspondence it received as the result of a public information request it sent to the mayor’s office in January. The collection documents communications sent and received by Mayor White concerning Discovery Green, and includes messages from and to Marvy Finger, developer of the adjacent One Park Place apartment tower.

One tidbit from that stash was yesterday’s revelation that the mayor had apparently rejected a tax abatement request from Finger Properties — and that the letter he sent out promoting the Downtown residential development was offered in part as consolation for that refusal.

Texas Watchdog is asking for help from its readers in combing the documents for other interesting leads. “If you see anything interesting that you think deserves more digging, let us know,” a reporter for the independent nonpartisan organization writes.

If you enjoy snooping through other people’s emails and memos, we hope you’ll lend Texas Watchdog a hand with that effort. But if you do, please keep Swamplot in mind. Swamplot has no use for stories that “deserve more digging,” because this website isn’t properly armed with shovels. But we do love hearing entertaining details that help expose the machinations behind Houston real estate developments.

The documents are divided into five sections, all linked at the bottom of this Texas Watchdog story. If you find any particular goodies in there that you think other Swamplot readers would enjoy reading, please send us a note with the relevant quotes. Also: please tell us where you found them, and why you think they’re noteworthy.

Photo: Serendipity Photography LLC

8 Comment

  • I wish I had time! I think some readers of BogHouston may dig through.

    Support of Texas Watchdog is critical. They have the time to dedicate to issuing TXPIA requests and following up until they get they data.

  • Am I the only one who does not really see a problem with the Mayor writing this letter? He did not do it in favor of one project over another. I have no problem with the Mayor writing a letter in support of a local project, particularly a high-end project that is an area that is being developed into a poster area such as the Discovery Green.

    Secondly, I would love to know if there was anyone who actually decided to move in based on the letter from the Mayor.

  • We known about the letter that was made public before the construction of the tower. The issue is that a letter like that doesn’t just happen, it is usually a result of various back and forth conversations.

    The subject of those conversations, which are not private, may have more information about potentially any kind of arrangement. What we may find is that nothing happened, but the Mayor held onto and took forever to respond to the TXPIA request until a furor was made.

  • Agree with mikeh.

    Bill White is too smart & honest to do something as short-sighted as everyone is implying.

  • jost and mikeh,

    Mayor White too honest? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    It took him 5 years to admit Houston was a sanctuary city and that only happened a cop was in hospital on life support.

  • Bill White makes Chuck Rosenthal look like Dudley Do-Right.

  • Look I am never going to say that any politician is always honest or says what is truly on their mind. Nobody is that way, why hold a politician to a higher standard?

    I understand that everyone wants to find some sort of smoking gun that says he got something for the letter, but what developer would be dumb enough to think the letter was worth anything?

    Every mayor should support good development. Whether you think this particular building is good or not is open to anyone’s interpretation, but the development concept – a high rise residential development next to a new major green space in a downtown area – is sound and desirable. Call me naive, I still do not see the problem.

  • The aforementioned individual never does anything that does not benefit him politically. It amazes me how many people buy into the BS people like him peddle to the sheeple. Politicians and organizations that avoid releasing TXPIA until the last possible moment always have a reason they want things out of the public eye.