Newly released campaign finance reports from the waning days of the November 2022 election show Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo spent more than $300,000 on high-powered Houston-based criminal defense attorneys Gerger Hennessy & Martin LLP.
It’s not clear why Hidalgo spent so much from her campaign account on legal costs but their record might shed some light on the work they are doing for the County Judge.
Their site says they represent clients in the most “important and sensitive legal matters” including government investigations.
As we know, three of Hidalgo’s top staffers were indicted for misuse of official information, a third-degree felony, and tampering with a government record over an $11 million COVID outreach contract awarded to a firm owned by a political ally. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has, in the past, acknowledged that they were looking into Hidalgo’s role in the matter.
The firm has represented a host of high-profile clients like the Chief Financial Officer of Enron Andrew Fastow, helping him through civil, criminal, SEC, Congressional, and media crises; a Japanese executive in a DOJ price-fixing investigation; defense of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill; and an individual charged in the Varsity BLues college admission scandal.
They also represented Laura Jordan, the former mayor of Richardson, TX who was sentenced to 6 years in prison for bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, tax fraud, and conspiracy to commit tax fraud. Jordan voted in favor of a controversial housing development in exchange for $18,000 in cash, a $40,000 check, and thousands in renovations to her home.
The firm also represented a pilot who was charged for deceiving air-safety regulators about a flight control system for the Boeing 737 MAX that was later blamed for two separate crashes.
The Houston Chronicle profiled the firm in an article titled “Snared in a White-Collar crime sting? Here’s who to call” saying, “Gerger convinced a federal judge to sentence Fastow, widely viewed as the mastermind behind the $60 billion Enron scandal, to only six years in prison. LEgal experts predicted Fastow would likely be behind bars the rest of his life.”
Charles Blain is the president of Urban Reform and the Urban Reform Institute, both of which focus on researching and promoting free-market policies to foster upward mobility for those living in major metro areas. Blain has been published in the Wall Street Journal, City Journal, Forbes, the Houston Chronicle, the Hill, Wired, and HuffPost. He serves on the governing board of the Prison Entrepreneurship Program and the boards of Texas Families First, Good Policy Society, and Entre Capital, a commercial lender for businesses started by ex-offenders. In September 2021, Blain was appointed to a four-year term to the Texas Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights.