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Former HCC Lawyer: Trustees Wanted to Make Multimillion-Dollar Bond A “Private Slush Fund”

The Houston Press writes about a whistle blower claim filed by Renee Byas: . . . Shortly after joining HCC as general counsel in 2008, the college, one of the country’s largest community college systems, was rocked by allegations that board members shuffled contracts to family members and demanded kickbacks from vendors. She hired an outside firm to launch an internal investigation, which found that several trustees abused their office.

By 2012, as HCC prepared a record $425 million bond package that voters would ultimately approve, the board of trustees promised change. Byas helped draft new rules meant to quash any hint of favoritism in handing out contracts – the new rules banned vendors from giving gifts to trustees, limited financial contributions from vendors to trustees’ political campaigns, and expanded conflict-of-interest questionnaires, among other things.
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