Newspaper Sues For Details After Port Authority Hires Blake Farenthold Without Public Notice

May 22, 2018

From Texas Standard.

Former Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold, who recently resigned his seat after it was discovered he had paid a $84,000 sexual harassment settlement with taxpayer money, is now in hot water back home in south Texas.

Farenthold is at the center of a suit filed by the Victoria Advocate on Monday against the Calhoun Port Authority. The paper alleges the port is violating state law with its lack of transparency regarding the recent hiring of Farenthold.

Chris Cobler, editor of the Victoria Advocate and president of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas says Calhoun Port Authority violated the Texas Open Meetings act when it did not properly post notice of the meeting at which Farenthold was hired by the agency.

“Emails that we obtained showed a conversation between Mr. Farenthold and the port’s executive director about his hiring, and about the fact that the board needed to approve his contract,” Cobler says. “But the port says that it did not need to have the board take any action.”

Cobler says elected officials are supposed to notify the public when they take such actions.

News of Farenthold’s new job came during a south Texas radio appearance, where the ex-Congressman announced he would be working for the port. That came as a surprise to many, since there had been no public announcement or notice given. The port board later confirmed that Farenthold will receive a $160,000 annual salary.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.