Texas: Officials Use Toll Fund For Meals, Bonuses, Decorating

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper

So far, a total of $2m has been generated by a $1 fee assessed to Harris County motorists accused of not paying a toll. (The fee is part of the $34 fine levied for each alleged instance of toll skipping. Most pay the fine even if they have been wrongly accused due to faulty equipment.) State lawmakers intended the $1 fee to cover the administrative expenses of the county attorney for handling the fines. A KTRK investigation revealed that Harris County Attorney Mike Stafford used the fund to throw a Christmas party at Pizzinis, an Italian restaurant, at a cost of $5625. (His office spent a total of $17k in motorist fees on Italian food in a single year.) Another $100k paid for bonuses to employees who already make as much as $225k a year. Stafford also used $196k from the tolling fund to ensure his staff could always park in county lots for free. The toll road fund paid for $122,599 for office remodeling expenses under a no-bid contract with Hermes Commercial Contractors. (Leroy Hermes is Stafford’s campaign committee chairman.)

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4 of 13 comments
  • Mikeolan Mikeolan on Oct 21, 2008

    Here's a helpful rule of thumb: all traffic enforcement is corrupt.

  • Cicero Cicero on Oct 21, 2008

    Another political rule of thumb: The government will always have a great reason for needing a little more of your money.

  • Redbarchetta Redbarchetta on Oct 21, 2008

    I hate politicians, well 99% of them. Corrupt bastards. We can prosocute shop lifters yet these guys get to steel from all of us and get away with it. We should start running for public office, Dem, Rep, Indy doesn't matter just stop the corruption and blatant steeling of our tax dollars.

  • Anonymous Anonymous on Oct 21, 2008

    Yep, Republicans are all lieing liars who lie. It's a shame that the media has us all brainwashed into thinking that voting for anybody outside the major parties is tantamount to throwing away your vote. Personally, I'm tired of holding my nose and voting for the candidate that I think will do the least damage. As a free market leaning person, I hate all kinds of welfare whether it is directed at people who don't work or people who work at destroying companies. As such, you won't find me voting Republican or Democrat this year. I only hope that more people will wake up to the realities of what aour government is doing to us and plans to do to us. Maybe then they would ignore the BS from the media and the canned answers from the major political party candidates and vote their conscience. Then again maybe we have the government that the majority both want and deserve.