Important Message from Bob Lemer re: Pending Houston-Harris County Sports Authority Collapse
AN EXTREMELY CRITICAL MESSAGE TO HOUSTON VOTERS, REGARDLESS OF your POLITICAL AFFILIATION. (YOUR PROPERTY TAX BILL AND YOUR WATER & SEWER BILL DON’T ASK YOUR POLITICAL AFFILIATION, THEY JUST SAY—SEND MONEY!)
from Bob Lemer Retired Partner, Ernst & Young LLP
The October 27, 2009 Houston Chronicle article on the pending financial collapse of the Houston-Harris County Sports Authority has a great deal of relevance to the November 3, 2009 City of Houston mayoral election.
The Sports Authority is a prime example of Gene Locke’s touted ability to bring politicians together to raise public money and spend it. That we don’t need. What we need is a mayor who can recognize a financial crisis, warn us about it on a timely basis, and address the problem, not create one.
The financial design of the Sports Authority was greatly flawed from the outset and the current meltdown in the financial markets just accelerated the inevitable. The Sports Authority has been losing money on the real (accrual) basis of accounting since inception. Even before the financial market meltdown, the Sports Authority was deferring payment of interest expense and adding it to debt principal. Harris County (illegally in this legal layperson’s opinion) transferred millions of dollars of toll road fees to the Sports Authority in order to keep it from failing, before the financial market meltdown.
So Gene Locke is not the person to be Houston’s next mayor. And neither is Annise Parker nor Peter Brown. For they have been complicit in the City of Houston becoming financially broke after having operating losses totaling $1.5 BILLION over the last five reported years, before the recession. You can verify the $1.5 BILLION of losses with the City’s independent audit firm, Deloitte & Touche LLP.
Annise Parker has not warned us about the $1.5 BILLION, even though her City controller’s department prepares the annual CAFR and she personally certifies it. Peter Brown was a City council member all that time and incredibly still says the City’s finances are in great shape. Gene Locke refuses to talk about the $1.5 BILLION.
Retired Lt. Colonel Roy Morales is the only mayoral candidate willing to talk about this enormous problem. Thus it is crystal clear that Roy Morales should be our next mayor. We need a captain to steer the City through these troubled financial waters. Better yet, we have a Colonel!