HOUSTON, Texas — A grand jury handed down felony indictments on Monday against three aides to Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, which stem from a Texas Ranger’s investigation into alleged improprieties about an $11 million contract for a COVID-19 vaccine advertising project. The awardee was a one-woman firm with a 19-month operational history specializing in Democrat candidate campaign work based in a residential apartment unit.
The grand jury in Houston indicted Hidalgo’s Chief of Staff Alex Triantaphyllis and two former high-level aides. Court records obtained by Fox 26 Houston reporter Greg Groogan show the grand jury indicted the trio on charges related to tampering with court records and misuse of official information. The two former staff members are reported to be Wallis Nader and Aaron Dunn.
— Greg Groogan (@GrooganFox26) April 11, 2022
In Texas, a county judge is the chief executive officer of the county’s government. Harris County is the largest county in Texas.
The indictments follow the award of an $11 million COVID-19 communications contract to a one-woman company, Elevated Strategies, Groogan reported in September 2021. The firm had a 19-month history at that time and was headquartered in a Montrose-area apartment in Houston.
The one-woman firm in question, Elevate, was selected over the lower-bidding University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston because “the firm’s background in political communications was exactly the skill set needed for the vaccine outreach campaign, which was to include digital ad buys and door-to-door canvassing,” according to the Texas Tribune.
“Y’all bring it on! Bring it on! Because there is nothing here,” Judge Hidalgo proclaimed at the August 24th meeting of Commissioners Court.
Texas Rangers executed a search warrant at the county’s administrative building on March 18. Investigators seized phones, laptops, and desktop computers from Judge Hidalgo’s deputy policy director, a senior advisor for public safety and emergency management, and the judge’s chief of staff.
All three face felony charges of Misuse of Official Information and Tampering with Records, according to court records obtained by Breitbart Texas from the Harris County District Clerk’s website.
The Harris County District Attorney’s Office confirmed they served the arrest warrants to the three defendants, the Texas Tribune reported. Prior to this investigation, Judge Hidalgo had been considered a rising star in the Texas Democratic Party as a possible candidate for statewide office.
6 Indictments by Harris Co Grand Jury are a BIG step by DA @kimoggforda in restoring public integrity by cleaning up corrupt contract! The indictments of 3 employees of @LinaHidalgoTX proves @RJackCagle Q/A righteous opposing it w/ myself & county observers questioning it in 2021 https://t.co/WNg5RNtmwc
— Team Bettencourt (@TeamBettencourt) April 11, 2022
Texas State Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) quickly tweeted the news about the six indictments against Hidalgo’s staff and praised Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg for “restoring public integrity by cleaning up the corrupt contract.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face