Articles by Kenric Ward

State Senator Carlos Uresti’s Fraudulent Schemes

State Sen. Carlos Uresti touted a “no-risk” investment opportunity to a grieving mother while raking off fees and having sex with her, the woman testified Thursday. Denise Cantu told a U.S. District Court jury that the San Antonio Democrat called Four Winds Logistics the “perfect” deal with a guaranteed return. Uresti’s sales pitches were punctuated, she said, with adult texts and sex in his office while he groomed her for a $900,000 buy-in. Four Winds, which purchased and sold sand for fracking, went bankrupt less than two years later. Cantu lost all but $100,000 of her investment. Uresti is standing…


Bush Faces Challengers, Criticism from Both Sides of the Aisle

SAN ANTONIO — Will the Alamo be George P. Bush’s Waterloo? Controversy over the Texas Land Commissioner’s plans to “Re-imagine” the state’s most famous landmark has attracted three primary election opponents and put Bush on the hot seat for a bipartisan grilling by the Senate Finance Committee last week. The upcoming campaign and Bush’s vision for the Alamo are grabbing headlines. The Texas Observer rates it one of the top political stories to watch in 2018. “It’s an internecine conflict about George P.’s management of the Alamo, which is itself one of the weirdest stories in state politics in many…


Bush Questioned Over ‘Convoluted’ Alamo Oversight

Questioning “confusing” and “convoluted” oversight of the Alamo, state lawmakers on Tuesday called on Land Commissioner George P. Bush to bring more transparency to his $450 million “Re-imagine” project. Bush took sharp criticism from Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, which challenged Bush to explain the relationships and responsibilities of three nonprofit “partners” involved in the Alamo venture. The hearing was held in the wake of a series of reports by The Texas Monitor that showed conflicts-of-interest, opaque transparency, and other ethical problems surrounding the controversial Alamo plan. During the proceedings, legislators learned of a fourth group, the…


Speaker’s parting shot: Straus arms his House loyalists

Lame duck Speaker Joe Straus isn’t going quietly. The retiring House leader and his chief strategist, Gordon Johnson, are persuading deep-pocketed lobbyists to bankroll like-minded candidates in more than two-dozen legislative races next year, according to the Capitol Inside website. Straus’ initiative was unveiled after the conservative New Leadership PAC, announced $100,000 bounties for candidates to defeat the speaker’s allies. Straus’s battle plan and fundraising pitch reportedly were rolled out by Johnson, a longtime high-profile lobbyist to business establishment friends of the speaker. The objective: Maintain moderates control of the House, where Straus has blocked bills backed by Gov. Greg Abbott and which also…


New PAC Aims to Topple Straus and his Lieutenants in ‘corrupt’ House

A new Texas political action committee is turning up the heat on Speaker Joe Straus and calling for a House cleaning from the top down, with campaign funds earmarked for key races. Formed by conservatives angry over the House’s failure to enact reform measures supported by Gov. Greg Abbott, the New Leadership PAC launched this week. “It has become clear that leaders in the Texas House have lost contact with the core principles of the majority of Texans,” said NLP treasurer Don Dyer. “It is time for a new force for change that will remove these barriers to progress.” During…


Doubling down on debt, San Antonio bond will make poor city poorer

City Hall brags about a AAA credit rating while San Antonio’s per capita income ranks 460th in Texas, behind virtually every other large metro in the state. A proposed $850 million bond package will drive the poor city deeper into debt. The gold-plated credit rating contrasts with the city’s rising red ink. Truth in Accounting, a nonpartisan organization that analyzes public-sector finances, conservatively calculates the Alamo City’s debt at $1.2 billion, or $3,300 per taxpayer. Throwing some shade on City Hall’s shiny credit score, TIA President Sheila Weinberg cautioned, “Credit ratings have very little to do with a government’s ability…