Best Lobbyist (2003)
Veteran campaign consultant and lobbyist Bill Miller, of the Austin-based Hillco Partners, has represented a lot of tough clients, one of the more demanding being Les Alexander. The Houston Rockets owner is legendary for trying to exploit every angle of a deal, and he pushed the envelope this spring by trying to maintain control of the food and beverage concessions at the new downtown arena -- in violation of a campaign promise that minority enterprises would receive 30 percent of the arena's operating revenues. Miller did what he could to control the damage, and helped design a strategy of utilizing local minority politicians, including state Senator Rodney Ellis and state Representative Sylvester Turner, to push the Rockets' case. Under pressure from a lawsuit, Alexander finally saw the light and cut a deal with local civil rights groups to end the controversy. Miller also represented Four Families in its upset victory at Houston City Council in the hotly contested "Food Fight" for Hobby Airport concessions. In the process, he whipped last year's best lobbyist, Dave Walden, to earn the 2003 crown.