There is an old adage that says, “If you don’t really want to know the truth, then don’t ask.” But, unfortunately for Port CEO Sean Strawbridge and Port lawyer Doug Allison, “common law” husband of Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales, the Crónica sources have been challenged. Doug Allison has even gone so far as to call it all a “fairytale.” The Crónica has the documents to prove it all, see them below, and sadly for the taxpayers, the Port of Corpus Christi’s insider dealings are looking more like a nightmare. One million bucks of cold, hard Port cash is poised to line the household pocketbook of County Judge Barbara Canales via Doug Allison’s Port invoices. Port Commissioner’s Rajan Ahuja, Bryan Gulley, Catherine Hilliard, Charlie Zahn, and Rick Valls refuse to stop Sean Strawbridge from paying the County Judge’s “common law” husband Doug Allison, even though she appoints Port Commissioners. Do any of them think this is a massive conflict of interest? Let’s examine exactly how this works, the County Judge appoints Port Commissioners, they hire Sean Strawbridge, and he hires the County Judge Barbara Canales “common law” husband and pay him close to a million dollars. And not one of the Port Commissioners will stand up to Sean Strawbridge? The question is, why? Now the Crónica has learned that the Port’s legal department expenses have ballooned out of control, the highest they have ever been. With Strawbridge and his buddy Allison hiring even more lawyers to serve as “outside” legal counsels. Is Doug Alison also getting a referral fee from these attorneys? If he is not, why doesn’t he just tell us himself. Even worse, official court documents show that Port of Corpus Christi attorney Doug Allison was hired by his employer Sean Strawbridge to be his personal divorce lawyer. See the official court documents that some say didn’t exist, below.
New information just rolling in: The Crónica has learned about a $15,000 dollar contribution Port Commissioner Catherine Hilliard and her husband gave County Judge Barbara Canales. We are also hearing about swanky parties with high dollar wine they have hosted with Barbara and Doug. And what has Barbara Canales done for Catherine Hilliard? Let’s explain exactly how that works: Barbara Canales runs for County Judge, Catherine Hilliard and her family give the Barbara Canales Campaign $15,000, Barbara Canales wins and votes to appoint Catherine Hilliard to the Port Board, now Port Commissioner Catherine Hilliard gives Port CEO Sean Strawbridge a big fat raise to up his annual salary to $650,000 a year, and Sean Strawbridge hires Judge Barbara Canales’ “common law” husband to be the Port’s lawyer–and now Doug Allison is set to make a million bucks. After that, Catherine Hilliard votes to give Strawbridge even more money in a $50,000 bonus. To make matters even worse: Doug Allison then works as Sean Strawbridge’s personal divorce lawyer. But wait, none of these Port Commissioners see any of this as a conflict of interest? Oh the tangled web they weave.
But it’s really the divorce documents that busted open pandora’s box that Sean Strawbridge and the Port Commissioners are unable to shut down. Because the documents tell a wicked tale of Strawbridge’s Port expense account reimbursements and the fact that Doug Allison is Sean Strawbridge’s personal attorney. The divorce decree even specifies that Strawbridge’s family appeared to have access to the Port accounts and that the Port was essentially paying Sean Strawbridge to commute from guess where? The country of Panama. What employer allows that? If this isn’t true, why won’t the state agency Port of Corpus Christi turn over all of Sean Strawbridge’s expense accounts? Why are those expenses been hidden in five different Port general ledger accounts? The divorce petition makes us all wonder as to why Sean Strawbridge is allowed to run the Port with no oversight by Port Commissioners Rajan Ahuja, Bryan Gulley, Catherine Hilliard, Charlie Zahn, and Rick Valls. At the Crónica, we wish they were just not so smart volunteers, asleep at the wheel, but sadly we believe there is much more to this story. Port Commissioners Rajan Ahuja and Rick Valls recently fought hard against Corpus Christi City Council oversight even demanding to bring legal counsel–guess who? Doug Allison to their regularly scheduled and very public Corpus Christi City Council meetings.
Trust that the Crónica is also watching the campaign contributions that are rolling in to Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales’ campaign for potential conflicts of interest. This election cycle, the Crónica will be watching and if Barbara Canales accepts monies from Nueces County or Port Commissioners, lawyers, contractors, engineers, their family members, or developers seeking business with any of the public entities where she has oversight and a conflict of interest may exist, you will be the first to know. There are also a few Corpus Christi City Council members who have caught our eye regarding campaign contributions. It seems that some City Councilmen have been curiously voting lock step with the Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and Port CEO Sean Strawbridge, and not their constituents at the City of Corpus Christi. These City Councilmen appear to be partners in promoting Canales’ absolute control over the Port and refuse to provide oversight over the city appointed Port Commissioners. And they too are turning a blind eye to the fact that the Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales’ “common law” husband Doug Allison is set to collect a million dollars off the Port of Corpus Christi and bring it straight into the Allison/Canales household.
Tune in at 12:00 noon and we will tell you all about the City Councilman who the Crónica readers are asking questions about…