Victoria Advocate reporter Jessica Priest produced three major projects and about three dozen news stories since the news of Blake Farenthold’s hiring at the Calhoun Port Authority broke in May. Along with demonstrating the port chairman’s conflicts of interest in her first investigative story, Jessica went on to show the port board had given itself a one-of-a-kind retirement plan and, in the midst of this controversy, allowed three members and their spouses to take a $19,000 junket to Chile on the public’s dime. Spurred on by Jessica’s reporting, the Victoria Advocate filed a Texas Opens Meeting Act lawsuit on behalf of the public, and its editorial board has written a series of editorials championing open government. The lawsuit challenges the legality of Farenthold’s hiring because the elected body made the decision without properly notifying the public in advance.
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Submitted by Chris Cobler.