An executive at a media company receiving taxpayer handouts from Tarrant Regional Water District, as well as proudly displaying communist imagery in its office, abruptly ended our recent conversation.

On August 28, I contacted Jeff Elmore of Charlie Uniform Tango, one of the companies benefiting from a handout of taxpayer dollars for a “use less water” campaign across North Texas. Elmore was identified as CUT’s person of contact in a copy of documents we received from TRWD’s lawyers, in which TWRD appeals to Attorney General Ken Paxton in response to our open records request.

After identifying myself as working for Texas Scorecard, Elmore initially agreed to answer questions regarding the water conservation contract, stating, “We did the production and post-production […] for a commercial.”

But when I asked about CUT’s position on TRWD appealing to Attorney General Ken Paxton to keep the campaign contracts hidden from taxpayers, Elmore quickly went silent.

“Uh, I don’t have a comment on this,” he said.

When I asked why there is secrecy around a campaign for conserving water, the line went dead. I repeatedly checked and found that the call had not been disconnected—Elmore was simply not responding.

Around two minutes later, he finally spoke, asking again for my name and the organization I was with. Even though Elmore initially agreed to be questioned about the contract, he said the interview was “something I’d like to know [of] ahead of time,” and he provided his work email address for future contact.

As he requested, I emailed him questions regarding the contract; but after two weeks, I’ve yet to get any response.

This is all really strange for a water conservation contract.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.


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