Investigators seize more documents from Mayor Pro Tem's office (updated)

via KHOU-11:

For the second time Tuesday, investigators from the district attorney's office took documents from former Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado's office.

In their second trip, they took one box from the office.

Officials would not comment on what kind of documents were in the box.

Earlier Tuesday, a source told 11 News five or six investigators took about five filing cabinets' worth of documents from the office.

KTRH-740 is reporting that the DA's office is looking for more than just Bonusgate information. District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal said his office is looking for evidence that "city officials and not necessarily elected officials" may have used the Mayor Pro Tem's office to run expenses through that they didn't want showing up in their own offices' expenses. (I'm going off memory here, but that was the basic gist of what the KTRH report said.)

UPDATE: KTRK-13's story carries even more details:

On Tuesday morning, a truck full of boxes containing documents were removed from the mayor pro tem's office. Rosenthal apparently got a tip on Monday night that if he didn't remove the boxes by Tuesday, they would disappear.

"There have been allegations made over the years that that office has also been used by some city officials to use their budget to do some things that officials didn't want to do on their own budget," said Rosenthal.


We asked Rosenthal to give us an example of what he might look into. He says over the years, he's heard rumors that perhaps an elected official would want to take a trip that wouldn't appear proper going through that person's budget. Rosenthal says he's heard that the official would funnel the trip through the mayor pro tem's budget.

He says he's heard those allegations for years, but never had an opportunity to investigate. Now he has that opportunity. Rosenthal says he plans to look back as far as the statute of limitations allows, which could stretch back to the Lee Brown administration.


KEVIN WHITED ADDS (10:40 pm): Charles Kuffner points out in the comments that the linked KTRK story has changed, and is now different from the excerpt reproduced above. That's really annoying when that happens.

KHOU-11 reports the following:

The DA's investigators came without warning, armed with a letter making a request from the embattled mayor pro tem's office.

They wanted documents, lots of documents.

The file cabinets are now empty at the mayor pro tem's office.

There were thousands of pages seized Tuesday.

"They pretty much took everything," said Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal.

That's because Rosenthal says his investigation is moving well beyond the four city employees fired in the "bonus scandal".

Rosenthal confirmed they were talking about multiple city departments and multiple elected officials being affected.

The investigation's speed picked up Monday evening after a phone call to the DA from a person he said he trusts.

"It was his contention that there may be documents in the file cabinets in the mayor pro tem's office that would disappear," Rosenthal said.

KPRC-2 runs a similar report.

Hang on folks. This could get much more interesting.

UPDATE (03-15-2006): KRIV-26 reporter Isiah Carey posts to his blog (here and here) some comments from and about Harris Country District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal that didn't show up in the MSM accounts linked above.

BLOGVERSATION: Houblog, More Houblog, Off the Kuff, Isolated Desolation, Lone Star Times.

Posted by Anne Linehan @ 03/14/06 03:59 PM | Print |

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