| Last Thursday, Burnt Orange Report broke the story that Brigid Shea had received over $500,000 in contracts with the City of Austin over the past decade as a consultant on a number of environmental projects and programs. Shea was also part of a failed bid to serve as a public relations subcontractor in 2002 for an alternative proposed plan to construct Austin's 4th Water Treatment Plant. Since that time, In Fact Daily, the Austin Chronicle, the Austin Bulldog, and KVUE news have reported on these facts, uncovering additional consulting contracts with the LCRA worth over $125,000 (pdf).
These facts remain undisputed. Brigid Shea's response continues to evolve to the point of deliberate distortion.
In KVUE's excellent piece of "journalism" last night, reporter Morgan Chesky questioned Shea directly on her contracts. Her response is well worth the 3 minutes it takes to watch this report.
For those who can't watch the story at work, here is Shea's response (excluding her quote that we are just "desperate to not talk about the real issues addressing the city" without any further explanation as to what those are.)
When KVUE brought up this issue at her campaign headquarters, Shea said she didn't know her business was ever involved.
"So when you see 'Brigid Shea and Associates' listed as a subcontractor you did present a bid?" KVUE News asked. "Apparently I was part of that bid proposal, but like I said, I have no record of it," Shea answered.
Brigid Shea's official stance is that she has no record of 'Brigid Shea & Associates" having been a part of the 2002 failed bid to build Austin's 4th Water Treatment Plant in East Austin, but somehow she "apparently" was a part of it?
The facts are quite clear here. Brigid Shea & Associates was created by Brigid Shea, as reported by the Austin Business Journal in 2000. Environmental activist Robin Rather was quoted as saying Shea would be "the perfect person with exactly the right skills set to be providing this type of consulting service." And in case Shea misplaced her paperwork, here is the listing of her company as part of the 2002 WTP4 East Austin bid.
But even more interesting was new information uncovered by KVUE that suggests Brigid Shea may have failed to register as a lobbyist with the city in 2011. From their report which was the lead story on last night's news.
A tip to KVUE News questioned whether Shea legally registered as a city lobbyist for work performed in 2011.
In her annual statement of financial information form, Shea acknowledged Austin's American Youth Hostel paid her $11,000 last year. Shea admits she was hired to promote the hostel and raise money for it, as it struggled to keep operating on city parkland. She denies any lobbying.
"No, I did not. That was not part of my job," Shea said.
Shea admits to meeting with city officials outside council meetings on behalf of the youth hostel. Law requires you to register as a lobbyist if you trying to influence or persuade a city official. Shea, however, maintains her job was strictly an adviser.
If the law requires you to register as a lobbyist if you are trying to influence or persuade a city official, and Shea "admits to meeting with city officials outside council meetings on behalf of the youth hostel" which "paid her $11,000 last year" to "promote the hostel and raise money for it as it struggled to keep operating on city parkland"... how does that not meet the definition of being a lobbyist?
KVUE's questions, like ours, are not unreasonable. Shea has made transparency on of the central issues of her challenge to Leffingwell as stated on her campaign website.
I want a City Hall where all citizens, regardless of their status, are welcomed, and listened to. I want to cut back the influence of lobbyists and special interest campaign money. It corrupts the process when those who are financing the incumbent's campaigns are the same ones reaping millions in city contracts and deals. I'll introduce true transparency and tougher contribution limits.
Shea's campaign continues to assert one reality for 2012 that conflicts with her own actions, statements, and work over the past decade. Once again, we are left with the question- "Which Brigid is it?"
For the voters' sake, let's hope we find out before the election on May 12th.
Previously on Burnt Orange Report