Port Comissioners attack City Council for desalination plant

Port Executive Director Sean Strawbridge is publicly attacking Corpus Christi City Council members saying they are not looking out for the ratepayer on water desalination development. But City Manager Peter Zanoni is firing back, defending the City saying the Port’s accusations are unfounded and they have no business in the water business under state law.

This after the City Council passed the strongest resolution ever telling the Port Commission to get out of developing high priced water. But disloyal city-appointed Port Commissioners David Engle and Rajan Ahuja didn’t heed the direction from the City Council that appointed them. Instead, disrespectful Commissioners David Engle and Rajan Ahuja doubled down against the city, passing a hard-hitting Port directive against City leaders. This after the Port Director Sean Strawbridge and Port “outside” lawyer Doug Allison, husband of embattled Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales attacked the city desalination to the State Office of Administrative Hearings. The Port then lied to the EPA about supplying water to the city. Port Commissioners voted to become a regional water producer in competition with the city and they lied in a $500 million dollar SWIFT loan official application saying the City of Corpus Christi is their customer, they are not. To make matters worse, they never notifying the City Council about the half a billion dollar loan application. Time and time again, Port Commissioners David Engle and Rajan Ahuja have been placed on notice by city leaders, the Port is not a water producer, Sean Strawbridge has destroyed important regional relationships, the Port is failing to develop countless announced projects, the Port is making public decisions in secret Executive Sessions, the Port is suing their biggest customer, and there is massive, unchecked overspending by Strawbridge. 

The Crónica believes that Commissioners David Engle and Rajan Ahuja have breached the trust placed upon them by City leadership. The citizens of Corpus Christi and the region created the Port of Corpus Christi thorough their hard-earned taxpayer dollars. The Port is also supported by massive state and federal tax dollars. Never in the history of the City of Corpus Christi, has the Port of Corpus Christi attacked them. The Port is attacking the City relentlessly. The Port is attacking the City in writing to federal agencies, in hearings before state agencies, in the newspaper to the media, in person to other local entities, and most seriously, to the ratepayers who are the voters. And Port Commissioners David Engle and Rajan Ahuja are completely responsible. 

Port Commissioner Rajan Ahuja has made it clear, he will always vote against the City of Corpus Christi, no matter if they appointed him. He refuses to listen to City leaders and does not appear to understand that the City can and will remove him. Commissioner Rajan Ahuja has lost so much credibility, he has as much a chance of being reappointed as Mickey Mouse. But Commissioner Rajan Ahuja still doesn’t seem to care, he just got back from a world wind Port junket and brags that he is best “social” friends with Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and her “husband” Doug Allison, who is making a million dollars off the Port. Ahuja was even a “special guest” at Barbara Canales’ daughter’s wedding in Mexico. It was very apparent at the last City Council meeting that Commissioner Rajan Ahuja is in way over his head and it was especially clear to seasoned Crónica readers that Commissioner Rajan Ahuja is doing exactly what “Barbara and Doug” tell him to do and that’s all that matters to him. 

Port Commissioner David Engle’s refusal to appear before the City that appointed him has caused him to lose serious credibility with the business community. Commissioner Engle’s reputation has been tarnished by his overly aggressive actions approving the Port’s attack against the City of Corpus Christi and his overall lack of leadership on the board. Commissioner Engle is further diminished because of his failure to publicly oppose Port Executive Director Sean Strawbridge and the Port’s attacks against the Cites of Portland, Port Aransas, Ingleside, and now Corpus Christi. Commissioner Engle has presided over a highly litigious Port that is employing 22 attorneys and suing its largest Port industries customer, he has approved Port budgets that clearly delineate massive overspending, and countless failed projects. The business community of Corpus Christi and the region no longer supports David Engle as a Port Commissioner because he votes against the city that appointed him.  

The Crónica believes that Commissioner Rajan Ahuja and David Engle should be immediately terminated as Port Commissioners. We continue to investigate the Port of Corpus Christi for corruption and there is more to come on Commissioners Rajan Ahuja and David Engle. If you have any leads on Port corruption, the Crónica promises full confidentially to our sources.