City's Inspector General Looking at Sue Lovell Complaint

suelovell.jpg
Sue Lovell: No comment.
The city's Office of Inspector General is conducting an "initial inquiry" into allegations that Councilwoman Sue Lovell misused city property.

Filed earlier this month by a woman who asked us not to release her name, the complaint accuses Lovell of using her city computer to send a personal e-mail campaigning for council candidate Bolivar Fraga. Lovell stated in the August 3 e-mail to the GLBT Caucus that "I am asking you to help me in electing Bolivar Fraga to the...seat that I currently hold." The IP address traced back to a domain registered to the City of Houston, the woman alleges.

The OIG's August 22 response to the complaint states that "the case will be assigned and you will be contacted at a later date to provide additional information."

We tried asking Lovell about this e-mail over a week ago, but she never got back to us. Her chief of staff said he knew nothing about the e-mail. (Her chief of staff told us Lovell was at a funeral and could not reply immediately.) We don't know why, in the time since, it's been so difficult for Lovell or one of her staff to say whether or not the e-mail was sent on a city computer.

Although the complaint claims that Lovell's actions violated local, state and federal law, that's difficult to tell at this point. An attorney at the Texas Ethics Commission told us that this would strictly be a local matter.

The state election code addresses "unlawful use of public funds for political advertising," but the Commission lawyer told us this would not be considered political advertising. (Meanwhile, the state penal code addresses "abuse of official capacity," which includes the misuse of "government property, services, personnel, or any other thing of value belonging to the government that has come into the public servant's custody or possession by virtue of the public servant's office or employment." It's a Class A misdemeanor.)

Additionally, the city's code of ordinances prohibits city officials from using "the official's position or the city's facilities, equipment or supplies for the private gain or advantage of the official or others...."

Councilwoman Jolanda Jones was recently found by the OIG to have misused city property (among other violations) by using a city fax machine to send a document relating to her private law practice.

We have no idea if this will go anywhere, and an "initial inquiry" doesn't mean a full-blown investigation.

Moreover, it seems like a tremendous waste of time and resources to investigate whether an elected official sent a single personal e-mail from a city-owned computer; sorta like it seems like a tremendous waste of time and resources to see if an elected official used a city fax for personal reasons.


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18 comments
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Guest
Guest

Bitter much? 

HtownReporter
HtownReporter

Lovell is a small ugly hate filled loser and so are all her mindless eunuchs. Down with Rueben Maverick Welsh, the biggest loser of them all.

Truth
Truth

HtownReporter is a small ugly hate filled loser, who has no supporters to sexually insult.

Houstontx201198
Houstontx201198

Oh please. It's well known at the city that "anonymous" is Leticia Ablaza. She made sure copies of her OIG letter were sent to every Council office. Now she wants to be anonymous? Leticia is still mad at Sue Lovell for leading the historic presevation efforts in the city. Leticia and her husband Joe live in Glenbrook Valley and were dead-set again the historic district designation of that neighborhood.

Phat Gentry
Phat Gentry

Okay it's Leticia Ablaza, all the better for Ms. Lovell then.  Unless I am misunderstanding the article this was an "initial inquiry" which is something less than an OIG investigation. As the title says, OIG is looking at complaint. Sounds like they looked at it, saw who filed it and took it for what it is.  Another of that woman's stunts.  Why isn't it a full-on OIG investigation if they were taking it seriously?  Maybe through crying wolf too many times Ms. Ablaza now enjoys the same level of credibility with the OIG office as she enjoyed with city council. 

Phat Gentry
Phat Gentry

Who knows if it was that Leticia person, who cares either.  I remember her.  She is irrelevant.  She was a big flop on the historic deal where she made a fool out of herself at council every week, (When they started lumping her in at the end of the sessions with the rest of the wackos like President Joseph Charles, it should have been a clue).  Saw her on the news, this self-professed property rights person who didn't want anybody telling her what to do with her property,  protesting & trying to tell Wal-mart what they can do with their property.  A little ironic. Not crazy about the Wal-mart myself, but for those protesting it, you might not want her on your team, her track record ain't so good.  BTW isn't there a new Wal-mart going in on the Gulf Freeway?  I wonder why she isn't protesting that one? Maybe she is a seething Republican version of a camera-loving Shiela Jackson-Lee, more about the lens than the cause.  Oh well, everybody needs a hobby. 

Shelly
Shelly

what does it matter anyway, she will never be investigated and nothing is going to come of it. she is bully and you'd be stupid to think you know the source. did she not just piss off more than 181 thousand people by voting yes to keep the red light cams on against the wishes of the majority/citizens. yes, that's who she is, she cares nothing about people and only about her own personal agendas.  good bye miss lovell and we won't be needing your puppet FRAGA either!!!!

Truth
Truth

Anyone who says Sue Lovell is a bully is just a chicken.

Truth
Truth

Why are you protecting this woman who filed the complaint?

regent032
regent032

This article spent 7 paragraphs attacking Sue Lovell. It laid out what she was alleged to have done.  It made it seem as though her and her staff were covering something up when the author noted that they did not respond to questions by reporters in what the reporter determined to be a timely basis.  It lays out the case against Councilmember Lovell by quoting the state ethics commission, the state election code, the state penal code and the cities code of ordinances. Then at the very end the author reveals what the whole thing was about.  "It's no big deal. Jolonda Jones did it, Sue Lovell did it too.  Let's just let bygones be bygones and drop this whole silly mess".Mr. Malislow. I like your work.  Your article on the door-to-door magazine subscription sales was one of the best articles I had read in a long time and whatever awards you received from that writing were justly deserved. I also enjoyed your recent article on the illegal gambling establishments in the Houston area.  However, using your position as a writer at the Houston Press to defend Jolonoda Jones is a waste of both your talents and the space on the Houston Press webpage.  Every article you've written about the Houston city council seems to be in defense of Jolonda Jones or attacking one of her opponents or detractors. How about a little impartiality? 

Craig Malisow
Craig Malisow

Hi regent032,

Thanks for the kind words about those stories, and thanks for taking the time to comment.  This post was not intended to be an "attack" against Councilwoman Lovell. If the OIG takes an apparent interest in an allegation against an elected official, that is newsworthy. And I don't see how quoting relevant laws/guidelines is a furtherance of that attack -- I believe it gives context.

I also don't see how I'm "defending" Councilwoman Jones. I think some of what you're referring to is a result of Jones and her associates being vocal, while other officials staying relatively mum.

However, I think you're on point as far as what I consider to be a "timely basis." I don't think it should take more than a week for any public official to answer the question, "Did you send this e-mail from a personal computer?" And, in fact, the question has never been answered.

Anyway, I just wanted to address your points, and I hope you keep readin'!

Thanks,Craig

oldtimer61
oldtimer61

@Carlodhouston35- I took the time to go to the 'Seething Republican' site- Was there supposed to be a link to Ms. Ablaza there? I did not see one, so I do not see the point of referencing this site and referring to her. If there is a link to her, please provide it. If there is not a link, I would prefer to find out what she is all about by talking TO HER. If you are going to accuse someone of being vindictive, you should offer the courtesy of using YOUR OWN name in calling her out.

HtownReporter
HtownReporter

Carlodhouston35 is none other than the loser Ruben Maverick Welsh.

Di Smtith
Di Smtith

Sue has done a lot of good for this city and it has not always been popular. She does whats right, not what others want her to. There are people that would like to stir up mess just to harass Sue and that's all this is: petty mess.  The writer is right- this is a waste of the city's time and money.

really? really
really? really

A Sue Lovell person is calling out a constituent for being vindictive?! That's rich.

Carlodhouston35
Carlodhouston35

 At City Hall it's a well known fact that Leticia Ablaza from Glenbrook Valley filed the OIG against Council Member Lovell because she is upset that Council Member Lovell supported and passed Historical Preservation for her subdivision.  Ablaza also filed an OIG complaint against a board member of the Historical Commision.   It was found to be baseless.  Ms. Ablaza is a vindicative woman.  Check to see what she is about at www.seethingrepublican.blogspo...

HtownReporter
HtownReporter

Carlodhouston35 is none other than the loser Ruben Maverick Welsh.

Npchoustonian
Npchoustonian

Calrodhouston35 - I don't recall this article naming the complainant.  Wonder where you might have gotten that information?  If you follow your logic she should be pissed at the ten council members who voted to make Glenbrook Valley a historic neighborhood; how many complaints has she filed on the others?  

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