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Kelley also drafted a letter to the brother-in-law's attorney, Stuart Whitaker, with wording that sounds like a preview of Kelley's own rejection by voters last November: "I am very disappointed at your absolute refusal to even attempt to come to any sort of agreement. I fear your total lack of cooperation forebodes a contentious and unproductive adversarial relationship throughout the upcoming proceedings."
While Kelley has denied doing private legal work on city time, a stack of papers left behind at the controller's office reveals that one of his top aides, Bill Stephens, who practiced law in the same building as Kelley, tended to Kelley's personal interests while both were on the taxpayers' tab at City Hall.
An August 30, 1996 letter from attorney John Culver for Heard, Goggan, Blair & Williams, the delinquent property-tax collection firm, notified Stephens of adjusted tax amounts due on Kelley's personal tax account. "Per your conversations with this office and pursuant to a court order by Judge Mark Davidson," reads the missive, "the adjusted tax amounts are $9,373.09 for Harris County and $14,056.56 for HISD." Also found by Garcia's aides were canceled checks from the law firm of Cohen & Raymond to pay Kelley's property taxes, which, according to notations on the checks, were "paid under protest." The Harris County Tax Appraisal District later rejected Kelley's protests.
The papers also chronicle Stephens's extensive efforts on behalf of Kelley to delay the demolition of the Woodland Heights house that Kelley was to renovate for his own use. For his labors on Kelley's behalf, Stephens had his wrist slapped by the city's Ethics Committee.
Meanwhile, Garcia is trying to figure out what to do with the high-priced video and sound equipment Kelley left behind on the eighth floor of City Hall, including an RCA big-screen TV, Pioneer speakers and an entertainment center complete with a CD player, a VCR and a tape deck. In a back office are three more televisions equipped with matching VCRs, apparently so that Kelley could record the news on Channels 2, 11 and 13 simultaneously.
An intern who worked in the office under Kelley told Garcia's newcomers that the video-and-sound system was often used to entertain the kids in the office. It was unclear whether the intern was referring to Kelley's staffers or Weaselboy's natural offspring. Garcia is considering donating the entertainment center to the downtown library, which presumably will make more fitting use of the taxpayer-funded equipment.
Call The Insider at (713) 624-1483 or (713) 624-1496 (fax), or contact him by e-mail at Insider@houstonpress.com.