Port of Corpus Christi Commissioner pushes to buy $215,000 TV

Listen for yourself and hear Port of Corpus Christi Commissioner David Engle speak out against the $215,000 TV. Then ask yourself why Port Commissioner Cathy Hilliard would push to give Port boss Sean Strawbridge a $215,000 “spectacular” TV for his new offices? You read it correctly folks! CEO Sean Strawbridge just bought himself a $215,000 television set with your public tax money.

Our investigators also uncovered documents that this same Port of Corpus Christi Commissioner Cathy Hilliard and her husband donated $40,000 to Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales campaign shortly before being appointed by Barbara Canales to the Port Commission.

After breaking the news, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and Port CEO Sean Strawbridge spent $800 Friday nights at the swanky Hotel Zaza and this gross tv purchase, we believe these relationships need to be further investigated. No public entity needs a $215,000 television screen.

Watch Cathy Hilliard push for the spectacular $215,00 TV at the Commissioners meeting


According to a public information requests of the U.S. Energy Stream Report from the Port of Corpus Christi, CEO Sean Strawbridge met in Houston, Texas at the luxurious ZAZA Hotel to meet with Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and Long Beach, California vendor Ruben Garcia.

Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales and CEO of the Port of Corpus Christi, Sean Strawbridge meet in Houston, Texas at the luxurious ZAZA Hotel

On October 10, 2020, during the height of COVID-19 restrictions, the Port of CC payed $823.54 for two nights of hotel stay for County Judge Barbara Canales. Note that Barbara Canales is no longer a Port Commissioner. What was the purpose of this trip? Why is the Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge using public monies in the amount of $1,573.64 for one dinner for four people at Vic and Anthony’s Steakhouse? Why is the Port paying for Sean Strawbridge to live in West Palm Beach?

If Judge Canales was there in an official capacity, why didn’t the county foot the bill? If she was there in another capacity, the cost of room would violate “gift laws” for public officials. We couldn’t find any reference in Commissioners Court minutes from October about this trip.

Most public servants are subject to one or more prohibitions on the acceptance of “benefits” from persons subject to their jurisdiction. Penal Code § 36.08. For example, a public servant in an agency performing regulatory functions or conducting inspections or investigations may not accept a benefit from a person the public servant “knows to be subject to regulation, inspection, or investigation by the public servant or his agency.”

Keep in mind, the lowest rate in Houston, Texas for a four star hotel stay is $61.

Stay tuned for more in our Crònica Investigative series to come.