Houston mayor directed city of Houston execs to create $95K for intern

From Houston mayoral candidate Tony Buzbee statement:

October 1, 2019 – Sylvester Turner personally directed City of Houston executives to create a highly-paid position for an intern, according to a KPRC investigation. Marvin Agumagu, 31, was paid an annual salary of $95,000, with benefits, by request of Sylvester Turner in 2018. Despite proof to the contrary, including photos, video and social media mentions, when directly asked by KPRC, Turner denied even knowing Agumagu on multiple occasions.

The nearly six-figure intern salary was born of an email sent by Agumagu to Andy Icken, the City’s Chief Development Officer on Sept. 12, 2018 which stated:

“Per Mayor Turner’s request, I am sending you my resume for your review.”

Even though the mayor had publicly announced a hiring freeze in all departments, Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz sent a letter to Turner stating that Agumagu was the first candidate for a newly created “Executive Intern Program.” It is quite obvious that this program was created specifically for Agumagu.

Houston Airport System’s Intern Program offers internships that last for 8 weeks with participants working between 32-40 hours a week. Per Glassdoor, the compensation level for paid interns ranges from $8/hour on the low end to $21/hour on the high end with no benefits included. Agumagu was given a base pay of $3,654 biweekly and his internship lasted 12-18 months. Agumagu’s salary was $95,000 yearly with benefits.

What are Agumagu’s qualifications for this highly paid, part-time position? Why is he the only employee in the newly created “Executive Intern Program?” Why is an intern earning a salary that is equal to that of a senior staff analyst? What exactly is the mayor’s relationship with this intern and why did this relationship merit such a sweetheart deal? Turner refuses to respond to these inquiries, according to KPRC.

In response to the above revelations, Buzbee stated: “I heard about this situation previously, and frankly, several other similar instances. Enough is enough. How much more proof do we need of this mayor’s corruption? The mayor claims he can’t find the money to pay the firefighters or fix our streets, yet he created a $95,000 internship position for one young man. Shouldn’t we know why he did that? What is their relationship? Who else does he have a relationship with that he is wasting taxpayer monies doing the same thing? I am calling for an independent, outside investigation into the mayor’s relationship with Mr. Agumagu and his actions in relation to the creation of this $95,000 internship. I want to know how many times the mayor’s security detail took him to visit Agumagu. I want to know how many events they attended together. We need to know how many times Agumagu visited the mayor at City Hall and what trips they took together. And, to be clear, I will also ask if there are others like Agumagu who have received these types of sweetheart deals at taxpayer expense. The public, who pays these monies, have an absolute right to know. I think most would agree a thorough investigation is warranted, based on the facts we now know.”

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