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City attorney cites potential impropriety with upcoming port appointment

Port of Corpus Christi
Posted at 3:00 PM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 20:04:02-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi City Attorney Miles Risley says there are allegations of impropriety with the city's pending appointment to the port commission, according to a document exclusively obtained by KRIS 6 News.

An email sent today by the city attorney to the mayor and other city officials doesn't specify the allegations, but says they were forwarded to law enforcement.

However, two-high level sources tell KRIS 6 News one council member was approached with a bribe.

The Port of Corpus Christi is governed by a commission of seven members who each serve three-year terms. Three are appointed by the Corpus Christi City Council, three by Nueces County commissioners, and one by San Patricio County commissioners.

One Corpus Christi seat is up for consideration, and is set to be decided Tuesday.

When reached by phone this week, several councilmembers say this appointment is the most difficult appointment they have ever had.

Here are the current applicants, with statements supporting their nomination directly taken from their applications:

Current port commissioner Rick Valls has applied to be reinstated: "I have been involved in international trade my whole working life in one facet or another. I understand the business of the Port and the role it plays for the users and the companies that rely on it to survive and thrive. I am uniquely more qualified in that regard than any other candidate. It is the reason the Port Industries supported me to replace Bob Kostelnik with Citgo when he stepped down. I cannot stress enough the importance of having at least one of the commissioners on the Port board come from a Port industries background. The Port industries are the true drivers of the success of the Port, and they deserve to have representation. It is these industries that fund the Port's operations, not taxes."

Armon D. Alex: "As an experienced active member of the community in Corpus Christi, I understand the role public service has in guaranteeing our community health and safety. Participating in a Port position would mean representing the hard working citizens that don't typically get a seat at the table. I have no connections to the Port of CC which means I hold an unbiased approach to development and base judgement on what's best for the greater good."

Isabel Araiza: "I believe the representation on the Port of Corpus Christi Commission lacks the public's voice. Appointees have historically been dominated by people with business interests directly related to profiting from the fossil fuel industry. The commission needs representation that will deliberate from the public good's perspective, where ALL the consequences of the port's decisions are considered."

Kenneth L Berry: "As a long time local business owner, I am a community volunteer, having served on the Port of Corpus Christi Board and been Chair of the Hospital District. I have the background and experience to ensure proper management and ethical practices resume at our Port. The Port is vitally important to our economy and it’s time that we had the leadership to bring forward this change."

Eduardo O Canales: "I want to represent the City of Corpus Christi residents and represent an environmental perspective and not degrade our natural resources."

Diane Gonzalez-Cibrian: "To bring to bear my background and experience to represent the city and assist in developing our economy."

Gabe Guerra: "The Port of Corpus Christi is the primary economic engine fueling the growth of our region. As Past Chairman of the Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation, it was under my tenure that we were able to attract the Gulf Coast Growth Ventures Project (Exxon Mobil/SABIC). I have had first-hand experience working alongside Exxon Executive Rob Tully and SABIC Executive Jim Ellis, developing community support for the new multi-billion dollar GCGV Project that attracted 600 high paying jobs and thousands of indirect jobs for our region..."

Kimberly J Lane: "I have a long history of volunteering in the communities where I reside and enjoy participating in decisions that shape and create policies."

Eli McKay: "I am ready to give more to my city than tax dollars, and my opinions on social media. I see the beauty and potential that our city has, and want to do all that I can to be a part of that progress. I am a homeowner in District 1 and am ready to join the process of what makes our city an amazing place to live. Please consider me for a position."

Leah Pagan Olivarri: "I have enjoyed serving the City on the Type A and B corporate boards, but have an interest in expanding my contributions to our city and region through representing the City of Corpus Christi as one of your appointed representative to the Port of Corpus Christi Port Authority."

Cristian Radaneata: "I would like to work to improve the community for all citizens in the Coastal Bend area."

Sandra Love Sanchez: "I heard the Port committee presenting at a city council meeting once and I was very intrigued of the content that was discussed. I have a great appreciation of how they presented rules and criteria to the council and also how they debated when necessary so that the council could better understand."

Lamont C. Taylor: "I have a desire for public service and my skillset will provide another opportunity for diverse input for the future growth in our community."

Elgin Wade Williams PE: "I believe in serving the community and have skills that will add value to decisions made. When I moved to Corpus Christi as a young Engineer I personally conducted the underwater survey of damage to our Seawall and L-Headff-Head structures with Goldston Engineering. The resultant reports and design proposal was adopted by the city and is in place today. Furthermore I was instrumental in collecting and presenting data to Congress that brought the Homeport to Corpus Christi. I worked on the GCCA Redfish hatchery and King Ranch Shrimp Farm in the 1980. I went on to work in the International Oil and Gas Industry as an engineer and progressed to VP of a Major Supplier of Equipment and Services Worldwide..."

This is a developing story, and we'll bring you more information as we get it.