Companies under contract with the Tarrant Regional Water District for a secretive water marketing campaign are now revealed to be RO Two Media, LLC and Charlie Uniform Tango. Both have offices in Dallas.
Last month, Texas Scorecard discovered that the City of Dallas had renewed an agreement with the TRWD for a five-year, $3.3 million water conservation marketing campaign funded by taxpayers; the campaign’s objective is simply to tell taxpayers to use less water. Is there a major water shortage in the DFW area? Is this campaign even necessary, and how can taxpayers know if it’s effective? Is this related to the TRWD proposing to raise homeowners tax bills over 62 percent from last year?
In response to an open records request Texas Scorecard sent the TRWD to determine who benefits from the contracts, the water district appealed to the Texas Attorney General to deny access to this information. However, TRWD’s lawyers provided Texas Scorecard with a copy of documents they sent to the attorney general as part of their appeal, and the companies under contract were revealed to be Charlie Uniform Tango and RO Two Media, both of which have offices in Dallas.
Rodrigo Vallejo, CEO of RO Two Media, also sent Texas Scorecard a copy of a letter to the attorney general, stating that they “believe making any of this information public would cause us substantial competitive harm” because the documents “include provisions or discussions of provisions outlining scope, setting fees, terms of payment, and the standard of performance among others.” Furthermore, Vallejo argued, “The information is, in fact, so sensitive that if we were to share much of the included information with our competitors voluntarily, the sharing would itself likely be unlawful on the very same basis.”
How could that be illegal? Since taxpayers are footing the bill for this campaign, don’t they have the right to know exactly how their money is being spent?
Texas Scorecard has yet to receive any relevant documents from Charlie Uniform Tango.
Taxpayers deserve to know the details of these contracts. What is within the contracts that elected officials, and these companies, don’t want taxpayers to see?