Councilwoman Faces Controversy
Houston City Councilwoman Helena Brown finds herself at odds with many of her colleagues and the mayor over a variety of recent controversies. The biggest one involves a recent taxpayer-funded trip Brown took to Asia to promote air service between South Korea and Houston. Brown took the trip even after the Korean air officials backed out of the meetings just days before they were scheduled. In an exclusive interview with KTRH's Matt Patrick, Brown accused the mayor of "undermining" the trip. "I do know that three days prior to my departure, (the mayor's office) recommended I cancel the trip," she told Patrick. "That's not proper protocol, especially in the Asian community."
The mayor's office says Brown's trip was treated the same as any other city-related travel, and that she was asked to cancel it only after the official meetings were canceled. But Brown says it was too late to cancel the trip and she already had other business scheduled, as well. She also disputes the reported $16,000 cost of the trip. "We actually only spent $13,500, and that's from my surplus District A funds," she tells Patrick. She added that the remaining surplus funds from her district were donated for the testing of the city's backlog of rape kits.
Brown has also been the source of recent criticism over her allegations of financial wrongdoing by her senior advisor William Park, and the changing of city time cards by employees in her office. She claims both of those issues were trumped up by her opponents in politics and the media because of her conservative stance on city issues. "I've become a threat to the establishment," she tells Patrick. "I am shaking things up, we are getting things done, and that is to be feared by the current administration."
Listen to Matt Patrick's interview with Helena Brown.