HOUSTON --It's been several months since 13 Undercover started investigating the Port of Houston's very expensive and still very empty cruise terminal. It's a multimillion dollar waste of public money, and it's clear that some people don't like it. ______________________
The script below is verbatim of 13 Undercover's report______________________
I don't often get to hear some of the nasty stuff they say about 13 Undercover behind our back, but you got to love the Port because they put the feelings in emails.We've shown you $106 million of your dollars going to waste, the empty state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Bayport. Guess we don't need to build the other two terminals the Port Authority planned to build on this land they already own. "Hundred million dollars is boarded up and wasted this afternoon. Whose head rolled over that decision?" Sen. John Whitmire said. Good question, but Chairman Jim Edmonds doesn't talk to us. "I have no comments," he once told us. "I don't care to talk to you about anything." So we can't ask the Port Authority why it still grossly exaggerates the financial benefits of the cruise project. By 2012, the website claims the cruise terminal was scheduled to bring more than $665 million to the area economy, 2,865 jobs. Of course, you'd actually need a cruise ship to have a shot at job number one. And we clearly don't have that. "There ought to be an urgency about this accountability," Whitmire said. You know there's trouble when the cruise terminal has officially become a joke in Port emails now obtained by 13 Undercover. Take the negotiations to fix up this dilapidated Ship Channel dock for lease to a company called Houston Ship Repair. Listen as a company official makes a funny counteroffer: "I think it's better to have the Port build us a new terminal like the Port did for the nonexistent cruise ships at a mere $100 million." The Port-of-Plenty investigation has focused the public spotlight on the Port and so you won't be surprised to find out 13 Undercover isn't exactly popular with the Port or their friends. Take Esther de Ipolyi. She's even paid to write speeches for a Port commissioner and the Port Chief Executive Officer, Alec Dreyer. Just look at the eloquence in this email about me. She called me a "slimeball." Another vendor warns, 'Don't let Dolcefino touch you with his slimy hands"... "heard Dolcefino is a jerk." Port official Ricardo Arias is clearly not a fan. He called me a "jackass." Maybe that inspired this photo of me sent to another Port official. "No I don't recognize you," Whitmire said. Flattering, isn't it? Are my ears really that big? "Obviously they got some children hired up there. Somebody needs to check on their child labor laws because only a child would engage in this," Whitmire said. Even a Port lawyer must not realize that government emails are public: 'Keep in mind that Wayne Dolcefino is not a rePorter ... 'think tabloid." Hopefully this email was not included in the billings from law firm Fulbright and Jaworski: "That Wayne Dolcefino better watch his back... Somebody might pop a cap in him." Since March, we've been exposing the Port-of-Plenty, like the money wasted trying to get a deal in Libya, the free Saharan vacation for the Port chairman. Port Vice President Tom Heidt was just glad he didn't make the trip. "Once again looks like I've stayed below radar," Heidt said in an email. Of course that email came before we show you how Heidt's kid got a paying internship and before we questioned all that first-class travel, the lavish entertainment expenses, quoting, "They don't get we are not the city. We are a business." "The vice president thinks that they're above public review and inspection and accountability, he probably needs to reconsider what his role is," Whitmire said. A sentiment shared by Port Chairman Jim Edmonds last April. "You don't consider every dime here to be the public's money?" we asked Edmonds in April. "I do not," he replied. "Really?" "Really," he said. By May, our investigation had sparked a district attorney's office investigation. "F me," said a Port manager, "should be fun to get back to the office." "There's a lot of supPort in the delegation to shaking this outfit up," Whitmire said. Senator Whitmire led the charge for a state review of the Port and its way of doing business. "That dog don't hunt anymore in my world," Whitmire said. One employee writes in an email, "Uncle Wayne is freaking killing us man." Uncle Wayne or Little Wayne? Well he is throwing away money, but he's the wrong Little Wayne. This Port employee thinks I have "little guy syndrome." "This is just poor judgment and obviously they don't get it," Whitmire said. So on Thursday, it's back at the Port-of-Plenty, always finding new ways to spend money.