Tough questions for the Port of Houston president

May 18, 2011 7:23:30 AM PDT
There's growing trouble for the top brass at the Port of Houston and an email we've found is part of the reason why.

There's growing pressure and tough new questions for the Port president and a controversial private boat tour that's making real waves.

The SS Sam Houston gives free tours to the public, a chance to slowly snake your way down the Houston Ship Channel.

But we've been exposing those special tours on the Port of Houston's boat, including a three-hour tour for the Port president's friend in April of last year -- a tour that took security away from guarding our Port to guarding partygoers.

"I was on that trip," Houston Port Authority President and CEO Alec Dreyer said.

"Was there alcohol on that boat?" we asked.

"Yes, I believe there was," he replied.

And when we asked the Port for its schedule of special cruises, this was the government document we were given: it says that April trip was requested by government regulators, the FERC commissioners. One problem -- that wasn't true.

"You and I both know the FERC Commissioners did not request that trip," we told Dreyer.

We asked because we knew this is what the document said before it was changed. The trip was requested by Alec Dreyer. Emails even called it "Alec's trip."

"I don't maintain those documents, but I do know the facts," Dreyer said.

Here's a fact Mr. Dreyer. Someone at the Port changed the document months after the trip was taken.

"Who changed it?" we asked Dreyer

"I have no idea who changed it," he said.

But someone changed it.

"I want to know who phsyically changed it and whether or not you had any role in ordering it," 13 Undercover said.

Then the words that could now come back to haunt Mr. Dreyer: "I was absolutely not involved in ordering any change to any schedule with respect to any special cruises on the MV Sam Houston; I was not involved in that."

Tonight, we have an email that casts doubts about that:

On October 12: "Alec also brought to our attention that the 'requestor' should be FERC commissioners on the spreadsheet. Please make the change." -- a change Alec Dreyer admitted to us was false.

"You and I both know the FERC Commissioners did not request that trip," we told Dreyer.

"Yeah, and I'll readily agree with you," he said.

This latest revelation likely won't help the Port's growing PR problem with the very taxpayers who kicked in $53 million last year.

"Do you think the Port has lost public confidence?" we asked Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack.

"Definitely so," he replied.

And now the Harris County judge is joining the mayor in demanding Port chairman Jim Edmonds give up his consulting job with a Port vendor or resign from the Port.

"He has to deal with that, there's no question," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett said.

"Deal with it in what way?" we asked Emmett.

"One or the other," he replied.

"And you've communicated to him?"

"Yes."

"And what's been his reaction?"

"I'll leave him to make his own announcement."

Dreyer's lawyer said his client never saw that email before, did not change any documents or instruct anyone else to do so, calling the entire affair a misunderstanding.


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