Posted: Mar 15, 2013 6:21 PM by Jessica Holley - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Mar 15, 2013 6:51 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - Earlier this week port officials announced they've struck a deal that would bring a $700 million steel manufacturing plant to the Coastal Bend. It's one of the largest projects in the history of the port.
An Austrian steel plant, near Portland in San Patricio county on land owned by the Port of Corpus Christi. While technically not in the city limits of Corpus Christi,the city does have the right to annex the property and make it part of the city.
And it was a misunderstanding regarding this information that almost killed the deal.
Using the Freedom of Information Act we obtained emails from Mayor Nelda Martinez, San Patrico County Judge Terry Simpson, and Voestalpine.
An email from late November of 2012, sent from the company to the mayor addresses what they call an " annexation controversy". It says "We have come to the conclusion to suspend all project activity in Corpus Christi immediately until this issue has been resolved."
During negotiations, Voestalpine asked the city to agree never to annex that property. The possible annexation discussions concerned San Patricio County Judge Terry Simpson. So much so that he emailed the mayor saying "You need to come talk to us before you make any plans on taking any tax dollars from the residences of another jurisdiction." He also said annexation could have a "severe consequence" on progress made in the last ten years.
But Mayor Martinez says this is all a big misunderstanding.
Later that day she replied to Judge Simpson saying, "We have not proposed to annex or set up an industrial district at this time or in the predictable future." She did say however, "We simply cannot agree to never do so." That was good enough for Voestalpine.
The mayor says 48 hours later an agreement was reached. She is unable to disclose details of the agreement all parties reached since it has not been brought before the city council.
Do you have a tip, information about a breaking news story, or a story idea for 6 Investigates? Contact the KRIS 6 News Desk at 361-884-6666 or send us an email.
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