Crónica readers may recall, it was a year ago this week that we reported that open records revealed the Port of Corpus Christi was paying tens of thousands of dollars to KRIS 6 News and other local media outlets. The Crónica believes the Port pays local media to kill bad Port stories. We blew the whistle that Port Director Sean Strawbridge was one of Katia Uriarte’s current husband John Philipello’s bosses at the Buc Commission. In our report, we detailed Katia Uriarte’s conflicts of interest and openly questioned why she was running five different puff pieces on one of her husband’s bosses Port Director Sean Strawbridge? KRIS 6 News stories on Strawbridge mysteriously disappeared after the Crónica blew the lid off the “Katia Conflict of Interest” report.
Since this time, KRIS 6 News fired an Emmy Award winner and Chief Investigative Journalist after he requested Port Director Sean Strawbridge’s credit card bills for the entire year and made it known that he was investigating the Port for corruption. A powerful news director was also let go over an alleged conflict of interest. But news anchor Katia Uriarte seemed untouchable.
Crónica readers know all about the damaging relationships. The Port Director Sean Strawbridge pays Doug Allison, the “husband” of Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales almost a million dollars. Port Commissioners Rajan Ahuja, David Engle, Charlie Zahn, Catherine Hilliard, and Bryan Gulley have shown they will not stop Port Director Sean Strawbridge’s massive overspending. Port Director Sean Strawbridge even appears to be controlling City appointed Port Commissioners Rajan Ahuja and David Engle, who now vote against their appointed body, the City Council. It is well known that Katia Uriarte and her husband Johnny are personal friends of Sean Strawbridge, Barbara Canales, and Doug Allison. The Crónica has believed that so long as Sean Strawbridge keeps paying Barbara Canales’ “husband” Doug Allison and she controls the Port votes, there is nothing the taxpayer or the viewer can do. Full stop. Enter KRIS6 News Investigative Division.
In a short amount of time, the KRIS6 News investigative department has put Katia Uriarte in a difficult personal position, forcing her to report on story after story about her embattled friend, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales. Katia Uriarte and her team had to report that County Judge Barbara Canales as Executive Director of “The Ready or Not Foundation,” accepted what we believe is an illegal contribution from a County contractor, that she lied saying locals died during the freeze, and that she raised County taxes.
Reporting on Barbara Canales’ failures has become a nightly feature for Katia Uriarte with Canales threatening the loss of over 300 acres of Padre Island, grossly failing to oversee the medical examiner’s office, and her mishandling of the Fire Marshall situation. Canales also suffered a 14-1 vote against her, effectively being thrown out of the City/County Health department. The news also reported on Barbara Canales’ vaccine “free” lunches, but perhaps the most damaging to her politically, was that she unilaterally closed our public beaches against public outcry, many, many times. With each story, Katia Uriarte seemed to Crónica readers to be visibly upset and “off her game.”
The 44 year old Katia Uriarte looked tired and unhappy to many of our readers. Is this why insiders have told us Katia left the station in tears, essentially walking off the job? We believe that her journalistic integrity was compromised due to her Port of Corpus Christi conflicts and her close personal friendship with Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales. Was Katia Uriarte giving Barbara Canales and Sean Strawbridge inside information on news stories?
The once untouchable Katia Uriarte is out and local media personalities should pay close attention and beware on conflicts of interests, because in the end, they always catch up to you. The Crónica continues to investigate Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and the Port of Corpus Christi for corruption. More to come on this developing story, as we turn our investigative focus to City of Corpus Christi appointed Port Commissioners Rajan Ahuja and David Engle.
The Crónica wants to know exactly why two City Council appointees are voting against the very City Council that appointed them.