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Houston - Search warrants filed today reveal more details about the Elevate Strategies contract with Harris County for what was to be a COVID-19 vaccine outreach program.
In August 2021, FOX 26 was the first to question an $11 million COVID-19 communication contract steered by Hidalgo's Chief of Staff and two others to a little-known, one-woman firm with few resources and deep connections to Democratic campaign operatives.
A subsequent, five-month grand jury probe of the alleged "bid-rigging" resulted in felony charges against all three Hidalgo insiders.
TEXAS DPS continues investigating former Harris County employees Aaron Dunn, Wallis Nader, and Alex Triantaphyllis. Today’s warrants were ordered to collect evidence of offenses including
Tampering with Evidence
Tampering with Government Records
Misuse of Official Information
During the continuing investigation, Texas DPS discovered that numerous documents and communications that were ordered to be produced by the Grand Jury had been concealed and made unavailable during the earlier Grand Jury proceedings. Some of the concealed evidence includes"
Personal phones used by Harris County Judge’s office employees
Draft documents showing Judge Lina Hidalgo personally edited the scope of the Targeted Vaccine Outreach project. The scope of the work was shared with the owner of Elevate Strategies more than 2 weeks before the project was publicly announced.
What’s App and SMS messages show Judge Lina Hidalgo and her staff believed that the majority of the Harris County Commissioners Court were going to vote against funding the "Targeted Community Vaccine Outreach" project and used the County Judge’s Emergency authorization powers to bypass the voting process and award $10,973,000 to Elevate Strategies
What’s app messages were deleted after the initiation of the Grand Jury investigation.
TIMELINE FOX 26 Reports
- September 8, 2021 Harris County Judge to seek cancelation of controversial $11M contract
- September 14, 2021 Harris County Commissioners unanimously vote to cancel controversial $11m contract
- November 16, 2021 Controversial contract triggers subpoenas aimed at Harris County leaders
- April 11, 2022 3 Harris County Judge staffers named in felony indictments