Emails by Houston mayor's press secretary reveal extent of how much personal business done on city time

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- As ABC13 Investigates sifted through nearly 2,000 pages of the nearly 5,000, the extent of just how much time press secretary Darian Ward spent on personal projects while at work became clearer.

At one point, she even taped a pilot in the city-owned TV studio. She wrote a check but we're told she paid less than half price for a now-questioned project.

RELATED: Press secretary used city TV show to promote her projects

Ward is on the job Monday but wasn't in her office when ABC13 Investigates stopped by and didn't return emails seeking comment.

Then again, it was emails that have her in trouble.

READ THE EMAILS: On mobile? Tap here to read more. (This is a portion of our records request for emails)

There are thousands of them, going back to 2011, when she was hired as a Houston airport spokeswoman, continuing until this year.

The clearest example of blurred lines: Ward's work on a potential reality show for female entrepreneurs. They appeared on her city-funded, city-run talk show. And then again in her email pitches to numerous television networks. And again in a so-called "sizzle reel" to promote the show.

READ THE EMAILS - Part 2: On mobile? Tap here to read more. (This is a portion of our records request for emails)

That reel included an appearance by then-mayor Annise Parker on a skydiving trip with city staff and the potential reality show candidate. Parker did not approve of Ward's side work, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.

Ward bills herself as the group's 'mother hen' in the video, saying "guess who gets to hold them accountable?"

Aside from the reality shows, Ward sent nearly 200 emails on behalf of a charity she volunteered with from her city account.

As a city spokesperson, she even encouraged the city to hire the charity founder's IT company.

The company has never received any work from the city and its owner says it's never tried to get city contracts.

There are still thousands of pages that have yet to be released. We expect those toward the end of the week.

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