Check out our report on what adviser William Park had to say.
Embattled City Council Member Helena Brown, ending weeks of silence amid growing ethical concerns over her decision-making -- from altering employees' time cards to taking publicly funded vacations to Asia -- has lashed back in a string of announcements this week. And not only has she called Mayor Annise Parker a saboteur, but she's also not happy with the Houston Press.
Earlier this week, her press office released an exhaustive, five-page statement -- more manifesto than press release -- that was supposed to be the "rest of the story" regarding her trip to Seoul, Beijing and Taipei earlier this month.
She said she never met with any Korean airlines -- which was why she said she went in the first place -- but it's only because Parker tricked her. Brown said she was asked to go to South Korea to visit airlines, so she bought an $11,000 airline ticket with public money, but days before she left, she was told the meetings had been cancelled by the South Korean airlines.
Brown didn't believe this, alleging it was actually the city that cancelled -- not Asiana Airlines. "Cancellation is neither customary, nor proper protocol among the Asian communities." (It's unclear how Brown came to this conclusion considering this was her first trip to Asia, a continent that's home to 32 countries and hundreds of cultures.)
"The mayor did everything to undermine and sabotage the planned trip," Brown's office said in the release. "Mayor Parker had no intention to cooperate in any capacity with CM Brown's efforts to serve the constituents, as Mayor Parker continues to place political expediency above the responsibilities of public office."
Mayor Parker's press office responded, in an e-mail to the Press: "Council Member Brown's trip to Asia was handled the same as any other trip. The mayor's assistant for international trade and development was assigned to help and provide support. The mayor even offered to help the council member in rescheduling the trip once Asiana Airlines sent notice it would be unable to accommodate a meeting."
It gets better. Yesterday, Brown got on the Matt Patrick show, and her target this time? Us.
Some background: Earlier this month, we published a cover story that explored Brown's volunteer "senior adviser" William Park's connections to the councilwoman. We found that on April 25, 2011, the Federal Industry Regulatory Authority banned Park from the investments industry after he did not comply with an arbitration award -- namely that he didn't pay a woman who had successfully sued him. Last April, the woman, Sonie Kim, who still hadn't been paid, took her case to county court in Los Angeles, and that court entered a judgment confirming the arbitration award.
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Meanwhile, United Equity Securities, which Park owned, was caught up in other litigation in which it sold investments on behalf of Provident Royalties -- a company involved in the oil and shale business -- to at least 13 people in what turned out to be a $485 million, nationwide Ponzi scheme.
Here's her denial alongside documents showing Park's past:
Patrick: William Park. You've got to tell me what's going on with William Park. Why are you hanging out with this guy? Did we pay for him to go with you to Asia? Who is he?
Brown: You should have him on your show. William is feared by city hall. Because he has substantial experience and a tremendous background in the business sector--
Patrick: He didn't pay a woman that he owed because of a faulty investment!
Brown: That is all untrue.
Patrick: So he did pay her then?
Brown: The allegations and the story is completely untrue. The fact that we are even giving any level of credibility to all of this slanderous (sic)...
Patrick: But Helena, you have to understand. Listen, I'm a conservative. You're a conservative. These are the things you gotta address. You've got to speak to it and put it away. They're going to keep rolling him out. He was ordered to pay this woman $133,000 in damages and penalties. I'm just asking you straight up, did he give her that money or is he still failing to comply?
Brown: That's the story that's been published and you need to find out if it's a true case--
Patrick: I'm asking you!
Brown: That entire narrative is untrue.
Patrick: So that story is a lie, then?
Brown: Yes, sir.
Patrick: What about the other allegations? You're judged by who you associate with. We've got to explain it away.
And if you don't believe the documents, go ahead and Google them: Provident Royalties, United Equity Securities, William Park.