Irving mayor calls for probe into city manager's e-mails

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by BRETT SHIPP

WFAA

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 11:27 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 2 at 9:58 AM

NEWS 8 INVESTIGATES

IRVING -- Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne is calling for an investigation into the actions of City Manager Tommy Gonzalez.

A News 8 investigation Thursday night raised questions about e-mails in which Gonzalez appears to openly solicit sports tickets and other favors from parties doing business with the city.

According to an April 2008 e-mail, the CEO of Aviall, one of the largest employers in Irving, told Gonzalez, “I didn't forget your desire to take your family to a Rangers/Red Sox game...compliments of me." Gonzalez took the tickets and attended the game.

In 2011, Gonzales recommended the Irving City Council award Aviall a 40 percent business personal property tax break.

"These are economic incentives that we provide for some of our larger companies," Gonzalez told the city council on August 4, 2011.

Gonzalez has declined to comment on the matter. The former head of Aviall told News 8 there was nothing improper about giving tickets to Gonzalez.

Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne responded to our story Friday.

“The City Manager has assured us that he's followed city policy,” said Mayor Van Duyne. “We consider these serious allegations, and any serious allegation will be investigated by the City Council."

Our investigation also uncovered other e-mails and testimony in which Gonzalez allegedly solicits tickets and favors from a variety of other sources doing business with the city.

"It's totally improper for any city council member or city manager to either accept favors or solicit favors from anyone doing business with the city,” said Irving City Council Member Joe Putnam. "It's totally, totally improper and unethical."

The allegations have been turned over to the Dallas County District Attorney for possible prosecution by a developer suing the city. State law prohibits a public official from receiving anything of value in return for a recommendation or official action.

Regardless of what happens, the allegations are certain to be a factor when Gonzalez' automatic contract renewal comes up for a vote next week.

E-mail bshipp@wfaa.com

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