Houston mayoral candidates Annise Parker, Ben Hall exchange serious accusations

HOUSTON

Round 1 was the Parker campaign taking Hall to task for living outside the Houston city limits before he decided to run for mayor. But now, the whole campaign is on the attack.

A new Hall campaign ad was launched Thursday, followed Friday by a new accusation.

"The city of Houston is a victim of a mayor who is a shakedown artist," Hall says in this ad.

Houston's former city attorney and now mayoral candidate Hall is accusing Parker of what's called pay to play.

"We have discovered that in exchange for one million dollars in contributions, and direct in-kind services, the mayor has sponsored and/or promoted $65 million in awards to contractors," Hall said.

Hall's office calls the alleged practice egregious enough that he says he forwarded documents to the district attorney's office. The DA's office would not comment on the matter Friday.

Mayor Parker wouldn't comment publicly either, but her campaign issued this statement:

"This is an absurd accusation from the king of pay-to-play, a failing candidate who's lied about paying federal taxes and penalties and who resigned as city attorney while under investigation over contract practices to take a million dollar job with someone to whom he steered a lucrative city contract."

It's combative back and forth, but KTRK political analyst Dr. Richard Murray for now calls it predictable.

"I think it's kind of a rituals of politics, it's sorta like watching fighters warm up," Murray said.

The Hall campaign is denying the allegations by the Parker campaign. His campaign says there will be more on the allegations that came to play.

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