Word on the Street | Follow the Money with Sean Strawbridge | Part Two

But, let’s go back in time. 2020 was a sad year for Sean Strawbridge and there was a storm brewing. Under Strawbridge’s direction, the Port lost the one billion dollar “Falcon” deal, Strawbridge failed in the 50 year lease agreement with the Carlyle Group to build a petroleum export terminal losing the “accretive” value in the Port’s operating revenues and thus, big time jobs. The Port was also drowning in useless spending at Harbor Island, the Port’s Administration building spending was unraveling, and Strawbridge was fighting with all the area Mayors, including Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb and Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan. Then, the bomb dropped. According to Crónica obtained divorce documents, Sean Strawbridge’s drop dead gorgeous, long time wife, who he publicly pronounced was the love of his life, filed for divorce, alleging infidelity. A desperate Sean Strawbridge turned to his employee, outside Port lawyer Doug Allison, the “common law” husband to the Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales to be his personal divorce lawyer. During this time, Port records show Doug Allison’s Port invoices to be escalating by tens of thousands of dollars rapidly. And now, Sean Strawbridge is paying Doug Allison up to $50,000 a month.

Sean Strawbridge Divorce Decree

The Crònica has questions as to why Doug Allison, who we thought was a personal injury lawyer, represents the Port of Corpus Christi in the first place. For almost ten years County Judge Barbara Canales and Doug Allison have lived in a multi-million dollar house on Ocean Drive. Could there be money problems for Canales and Allison? Why do we think this? Because there is a conflict of interest, timing problem with when Doug Allison became the Port’s lawyer. You see, well before Barbara Canales was an elected official, low and behold–she was a Port of Corpus Christi Commissioner herself.

During her tenure at the Port, she learned all about how much money the Port was making off our public waterways and federal tax dollars. She also learned that the Port pays its contractors big bucks. After Canales won for County Judge, Sean Strawbridge and her Port Commissioner buddies led by Rick Valls and Charlie Zahn hired Canales’ “common law husband” Doug Allison to be the Port’s lawyer. And on behalf of the Port, Doug Allison immediately sued all of Barbara Canales’ constituents in the City of Port Aransas. For her part, County Judge Canales has desperately sought and won full control of the Port board appointments. And interestingly enough, when hiring Doug Allison, the Port did not put out an RFQ, request for qualifications, for an outside legal counsel, which is customary with public entities like the state agency, Port of Corpus Christi. Sean Strawbridge engaged Allison directly and now the Allison/Canales household is poised to make a million bucks off the Port. The Crónica believes Doug Allison has multiple conflict of interests and should immediately resign as the Port lawyer.

As for Strawbridge’s wife? The savvy De Leon outplayed lawyer Doug Allison and Sean Strawbridge, kicking Strawbridge out of the house without his clothes, and in De Leon’s respondent’s trial exhibits, named a blonde, licensed hypnotist Kelly Crosby Heyniger, his mistress. De Leon pulled no punches, and in the exhibits beginning on page 61, Ms. De Leon, attached ten public photos as damning evidence.

Readers may recall in early 2021, during the Texas Winter Storm that ground Port operations to a near halt, Strawbridge fled with Heyniger to Mexico, with Strawbridge abandoning his Port responsibilities. For her part, Kelly Crosby Heyniger appears gainfully employed, as a hypnotist, selling personal feminine products online designed to prevent women from showing their private parts, while wearing blue jeans. But why is this important to the Crónica? Because some of our readers started demanding sources. And the steamy divorce documents spell out how Sean Strawbridge seriously violated Port policies using the Port’s expense accounts on multiple women and the reason why Port Commissioners should fire him. They also officially prove the conflict of interest that Doug Allison is Sean Strawbridge’s personal divorce lawyer and the reason why they should fire him.

For Strawbridge, the divorce was a stormy time as he had paraded his gorgeous wife all over town, traveling with her, bragging that she was a brilliant attorney, counting the President of Panama as a close friend. And as man clearly in love with his wife, he clearly made mistakes. The question becomes, did the Port of Corpus Christi pay for those mistakes? Records show that Strawbridge’s wife charged on the Port of Corpus Christi Country Club account, traveled internationally on the Port’s dime with him, and used what we believe could have been his Port rental car for personal purposes. Sean Strawbridge has now refused public open records requests to turn over his Port of Corpus Christi personal spending records. For Strawbridge, it was expensive to keep both a beautiful wife in Panama and a self-employed girlfriend in Florida. The documents clearly show that both the wife and the girlfriend traveled with him during his Port work activities. Strawbridge appeared to rarely be in town during this time, not owning a home locally. Did the Port pay all his personal travel expenses to commute to work? If they didn’t, why won’t he just turn over the records? If he didn’t get a deep discount with Port lawyer Doug Allison as his personal lawyer, let’s see the legal bills?

The Crónica is calling out the Port Commissioners who have provided no oversight over Sean Strawbridge. Port Commissioners, who are SOBs, Supporters of Barbara, have allowed unchecked and unlimited spending. The Port Commissioners have lost the prestige once assigned to the appointment. They are becoming the laughing stock of the community. Looking at you Rick Valls and Rajan Ahuja. The Port of Corpus Christi is a state agency and receives federal funding to the tune of $100 million in the FY 21 Federal Budget. The Port Commissioners are appointed by local governmental entities that oversee the agency. Every action of the Port affects the local economy of the community. The Port desperately needs strong oversight, transparency, and accountability. It’s time for the Port Commissioners to end the five hour secret, closed door executive sessions, refusal to turn over public records, questionable accounting practices, hiding of expenses by listing them in multiple accounts with different names, and end the inmates running the asylum.

Sadly, it’s the Port of Corpus Christi that appears drowning under the leadership of Sean Strawbridge and the lackey Port Commissioners. The dots are continuing to connect between Port CEO Sean Strawbridge, Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales, Port Commissioners Rick Valls, Catherine Hilliard, Rajan Ahuja, Charlie Zahn, Bryan Gulley, and who is always in the center of the storm? Barbara Canales’ “common in law” husband, Doug Allison, himself. Allison seems to be representing the Port in many capacities, not just legal. Why does Doug Allison represent the Port, Sean Strawbridge’s divorce, North Beach investors seeking government subsidies controlled by Canales, and ready for this? The Crónica has learned that Doug Allison has held himself out as the lawyer for Port Commissioners. Do you think that is a conflict?

What is equally shocking as the fact Doug Allison, the County Judge Barbara Canales’ “common law” husband, is making hundreds of thousands of dollars off the Port? Well, the word on the street, now boiling to the surface, are conflict of interest inquiries related to Barbara Canales, some of the Port Commissioners, and recent deals that have had high profile announcements and involve millions of dollars. But for the Crónica and Canales, there are one million reasons, to follow the money.

More on this story to come…

Do you believe a million dollars of Port of Corpus Christi money should be going into the household of the Nueces County Judge Barbara Canales?