Port of Houston Hires Rusty Hardin to Guide Them into Scary New World of Transparency

One thing you can say about the Port of Houston -- they don't like questions. Any reporter in town who's tried to deal with them on anything but a fawning story quickly finds that getting straight and full answers can often be a struggle.

The Port currently finds itself in a spot of bother over allegations that its CEO has a conflict of interest and misused Port property for personal use; as a result, some investigations are underway.

In response, the Houston Chronicle reports, today the Port hired Rusty Hardin, noted defender of Roger Clemens and Victoria Osteen, to represent it.

Hardin told the board he will coordinate things so that the county attorney and the district attorney get all the information they think they need.

"[The] charge I've been given is to make sure that everything is totally open and that everything is transparent and that everything is done in public so that the public can be more comfortable with what the response is and should be to these different allegations," the Chron reports Hardin as telling the board.

You need to hire the city's most prominent criminal lawyer to make sure you hand over all the info law-enforcement agencies need? Okay, we guess.

The county attorney's office has announced it is looking into what seems to be fairly straightforward allegations: "the port's compliance with state laws on conflicts of interest, open meetings, open records, procurement procedures and financial reporting."

If hiring Hardin is indeed a step towards openness, as opposed to a defensive measure, it's a welcome move.

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Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly