Port of Corpus Christi Executive Director Sean Strawbridge is leading a concerted political campaign to take out Corpus Christi City Council members and all he needs to win is one seat, to control a majority of the City Council votes. Strawbridge is in the position to demand political contributions from Port outside lawyers, lobbyists, contractors and industry. Crónica readers are reporting that Port Director Sean Strawbridge has enlisted Port Commissioners Rajan Ahuja, David Engle, Catherine Hilliard, Bryan Gulley, Charlie Zahn, and former Port Commissioners to oust City Council members and reelect Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales. Who are the primary City Council targets? Council members Roland Barrera, Billy Lerma, and Greg Smith. The reelectons of the three City Council members could be in serious jeopardy.
Port Executive Director Sean Strawbridge, Port Commissioners Rajan Ahuja and David Engle are supporting failed, former City Councilman Everett Roy, who is best known for supporting the pot hole fee added to the city’s water bill. City Councilman Billy Lerma has drawn the Port’s ire by calling out the Port corruption and an attempted bribery. Port Director Sean Strawbridge has selected Everett Roy, as shown by Roy’s fundraiser list, that includes multiple past Port Commissioners who appear to be seeking reappointment.
Political power in the City of Corpus Christi hangs in the balance. Political insiders are saying that Sean Strawbridge and Port Commissioners are desperate. They know that controlling the City Council is the only way they can hold onto power and and they are one vote short. This is why Port Executive Director Sean Strawbridge is actively holding fundraisers for his chosen candidates and squeezing vendors.
The Port seeks to determine the fate of the entire region through heavy handed political tactics. The Port’s disdain for local city officials is apparent. The Port’s lawsuits and extortion against Port Aransas and its continued illegal attempts to control the city’s water production business, by lying to build desalination, are proof that the Port Commissioners continue to ignore city directives.
Strawbridge and Port Commissioners are also attempting to control the Nueces County Judge. As seen in the contribution list and invitations, Port Executive Director Sean Strawbridge is putting up a large amount of his Port salary into the Barbara Canales’ campaign. Executive Director Sean Strawbridge is throwing the Port’s money and political power to Barbara Canales. This is a gross conflict of interest because Barbara Canales’ husband Doug Allison works for Sean Strawbridge and he is paying him almost a million dollars.
Port Director Sean Strawbridge has influence over billions of dollars of tax base. He has the ability to use undue influence to get lawyers, lobbyists, contractors, vendors, and industry to help get Barbara Canales’ re-elected. It is clear that Sean Strawbridge and Port Commissioners are desperate to maintain control of the Port of Corpus Christi and it’s 162 million dollar operating budget.
Our community must be vigilant against appointed Port Commissioners and their highly compensated Executive Staff interfering with our City Council and Nueces County Judge elections.
The Port has put its 300 million dollars of cash and influence into play in an attempt to keep Canales as County Judge and control the City Council. Now, seasoned City Council members Roland Barrera, Billy Lerma, and Greg Smith are at risk of losing their reelection. This is wrong.The Crónica is investigating the Port of Corpus Christi and Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales for corruption. More on this developing story to come.