Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Devil in the details....

Why Bill White didn't want to release his tax returns....

(White profited from company hired during Rita, Jay Root, AP via the Austin American-Statesman*)
As the storm was walloping Houston, White helped line up private companies to provide goods and services as part of a massive relief effort. One of those companies was Btec Turbines, where White had served on the board of directors. White said he called the company to help provide power generators to ensure that Houston-area refineries and the city of Baytown could maintain their water supply during the power outages.

The company then got an emergency contract with the Coastal Water Authority, White recalled.

A little more than a year later, White invested about $1 million in the privately held Btec, which has also provided generators to contractors in Iraq. He has reported about a $500,000 profit from the investment.

White says he made the investment for the same reason that he called the company during a crisis.

"I thought the company was good at what it did," White said. He said he considered keeping the water supply flowing to refineries a "matter of national importance." While acknowledging he has made money from Btec, White said he saw no conflict of interest in the arrangement.
White's defense is that he didn't invest until AFTER he contacted them during Rita. Whether or not that's semantics (did he have insider information on deals they had signed or not?) is something that I'm sure will be fleshed out over the coming months. If anything, a 50% ROI during a year is damned suspicious.

Then there's the thing that no-one has mentioned yet: Bill White made Billions in Oil & Gas investments while Mayor of Houston. During his time as Mayor he pressed for lawsuits against many Oil & Gas companies. Did he have investments in any of these companies or was he pressing for lawsuits against the competition, thus using his official position to potentially enhance his income? I don't expect the media to ask that question, but I'm betting you Rick Perry's campaign team will.

Regardless of the answer, Bill White's campaign team just wrote one hell of a TV ad for Perry's crew.

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