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Posted Thursday, June 2, 2011 12:21pm
Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm
Council Members Riley and Shade
May Have Violated Austin City Code


Sworn Financial Statements Give Public
Tools to Monitor Their Elected Officials


Investigative Report by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2011

City Council Members Chris Riley and Randi Shade may have violated the Austin City Code by not reporting the financial activity of their domestic partners.

Many financial statements filed by the mayor and other council members are incomplete or erroneous, and one annual statement is missing.

Perhaps a larger problem is that neither these elected officials (with some exceptions) nor the city staff is paying sufficient attention to ensure that these important statements are accurately prepared to fully comply with state law and the City Code. The penalties that apply to the more serious violations are not being enforced. And citizens are kept in the dark because few are aware these documents exist or where to find them.

These problems were discovered during The Austin Bulldog’s broader investigation aimed at bringing greater transparency to city government by giving citizens the tools to monitor the conduct of their elected officials.

Do Austin’s mayor and council members have conflicts of interest in the decisions they make? How would you ever know?

Aside from the fact that these officials are required to withdraw from even discussing something in which they have a substantial interest, the public is entitled to be informed of their financial interests so they can observe and monitor how these officials conduct themselves.

System lacks transparency

The public can find out about the mayor and council members’ financial interests by reviewing the sworn financial statements these officials must file periodically. These statements include sources of occupational income, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, other income, debts, interests in real estate and businesses, and much more. Statements are public records and are required to be made accessible to the public in the city clerk’s office during regular office hours.

However, these statements are not published on the city’s website. The Austin Bulldog obtained copies through open records requests. The financial statements are published here to provide for greater transparency and permit increased public scrutiny of these elected officials.

The copies of financial statements initially provided in response to The Austin Bulldog’s open records request included redactions of the street addresses of real estate holdings—not only for the primary residences but also for rental properties. If this censorship was allowed to stand, then how would anyone know if, for example, a council member voted for something that directly affected the value of their own property? Given that concern, The Austin Bulldog challenged the redactions as being improper, the city relented, and un-redacted copies were provided.

The Austin Bulldog’s review of these financial statements—1,200 pages in all—indicate the mayor and several council members are quite well off and have significant assets, be it spousal income, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or real estate. Some of the others appear to somewhat more dependent upon the pay they earn as council members. (More details later.)

The mayor and council members, as well as candidates for these offices, are actually required to file two different kinds of financial statements: one in accordance with the Austin City Code; the other in accordance with the state Local Government Code. The specific financial information that must be included in each form differs greatly.

Both kinds of financial statements must be sworn to or affirmed as being true, correct, and fully complete showing all required information. These statements are submitted under penalty of perjury. Failure to file reports can trigger severe penalties, though the likelihood of being caught has been slim, given the general lack of public attention—until now.

These reports are separate and apart from the contribution and expenditure reports required in connection with election campaigns.

What the City Code requires

Chapter 2-7 of the Austin City Code requires designated public officials to file a Statement of Financial Information in connection with rules for ethics and standards of conduct. These statements may be filed electronically under procedures determined by the city clerk or on city-prescribed forms.

The mayor and council members, as well as other designated officials, are required by City Code Section 2-7-72 to file these statements with the city clerk by the last Friday in April covering information for January 1 through December 31 of the preceding calendar year. The latest annual reports on file covered financial activity in calendar year 2010.

The mayor and council members are also required to file updates by the last Friday in July for any reportable changes to the annual statements that occurred from January 1 through June 30 of the following year.

The questions these officials are required to answer in completing forms for the Statement of Financial Information closely track the definition of “substantial interest” provided in City Code Section 2-7-2. The answers they provide give an indication of when an official would be prohibited from participating in a vote or decision by Section 2-7-63(A).

The Code of Ethics, City Code Article 4, deals with how officials with a substantial interest must conduct themselves. For example, Standards of Conduct are set forth in Section 2-7-62. Prohibitions on Conflict of Interest are outlined in Section 2-7-63. Disclosures of Conflict of Interest are required by Section 2-7-64. How to deal with matters involving the Substantial Interest of a Relative is prescribed by Section 2-7-65.

Filing these financial statements on time is a serious matter. City Code Section 2-7-999 prescribes the penalty for any violation of the provisions of Sections 2-7-61 through 2-7-76 (the latter establishes the filing deadlines) “shall be punished by a fine in an amount not exceeding $500.” Offenses of this nature are prosecuted in Municipal Court. Section 2-7-41 sets forth the procedures for filing sworn complaints about violations.

The Statements of Financial Information required by City Code that are published in this report include information submitted by the mayor and council members for Calendar Years 2008 through 2010, as well as updates. The city clerk’s office did not retain older records.

What state law requires

In addition to the financial reporting requirements imposed by the City Code, Local Government Code Chapter 145 requires the mayor and council members of municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more to annually file Personal Financial Statements on Form PFS published by the Texas Ethics Commission.

These financial statements must be filed with the city clerk no later than April 30 of each year, per Section 145.004.

 The Texas Ethics Commission provides an Instruction Guide on how to complete the Form PFS.

Section 145.008 requires the city clerk to maintain a list of all city officers and candidates for city office who are required to file a Personal Financial Statement and, not later than 10 days after the deadline, to provide the municipal attorney a copy of the list showing for each officer or candidate who timely filed, who requested and was granted an extension, and who did not timely file or receive an extension. This has not been done.

On May 19, The Austin Bulldog filed an open records request to obtain copies of the city clerk’s reports required by Section 145.008. On May 23, Kyle Carvell, a public information specialist in the city’s public information office, replied by e-mail stating: “After review...the City has determined that no responsive information exists.”

Subsequent discussions with Deputy City Clerk Yvonne Spence and City Integrity Officer John Steiner indicated that Spence tracks the information about filings and provides status reports to Steiner, who is an attorney but does not work in the city attorney’s office.

Section 145.009 provides a criminal penalty in the form of a Class B misdemeanor offense for knowingly failing to file a Personal Financial Statement. That offense would be prosecuted by the county attorney.

Section 145.010 further establishes a civil penalty for failing to file that includes a fine not to exceed $1,000. Such offenses may be reported to the city attorney, who must make a determination the report was not filed, notify the offender, and provide 30 days to comply. The fine may be imposed only if the offender fails to do so.

The Personal Financial Statements required by Local Government Code Chapter 145 that are published in this report include information for the mayor and council members from the time they were first elected to the city council, with two exceptions:

• No statements were obtained for Council Member Bill Spelman for his time on the city council from 1997 to 2000.

• No statement was obtained for Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez covering calendar year 2007. That report was due in April 2008. On the morning of June 1, Deputy City Clerk Yvonne Spence told The Austin Bulldog that Martinez' report “was not submitted.” That afternoon, however, Spence reversed herself. She said, “It looks like it probably was filed,” according to her paperwork. She said the statement apparently had been misplaced. “We just don’t have it anymore.”

Reporting for spouses and domestic partners

Financial statements required by City Code are supposed to include not only information for these public officials but also for their spouses. City Code Section 2-7-72(E) states:

“A City official shall include the following information by separate listing in the required statement of financial information, such information to include the source of income or assets and liabilities of their spouses but shall not require a separate report by such official's spouse.” That section goes on to list 13 kinds of financial information that should be included, all of which apply to the spouse as well as the official.

On November 29, 2007, the city council passed an ordinance that added Section 2-7-71(2) to the City Code. This section defines a spouse to include:

“a domestic partner, which means an individual who lives in the same household and shares common resources of life in a close, personal, intimate relationship with the City official if under Texas law the individual would not be prevented from marrying the City official on account of age, consanguinity, or prior undissolved marriage to another (emphasis added). A domestic partner may be of the same, or opposite, gender.”

Even though same-sex marriages are prohibited in Texas, the City Code requirement to report the financial activity of a domestic partner does not recognize that fact as a reason for exemption from such reporting.

As a result, Statements of Financial Information filed in April 2008, covering financial activity in calendar year 2007, and all subsequent statements should have included the sources of income or assets and liabilities for domestic partners as well as spouses.

Financial information about a spouse or domestic partner is essential for the public to be able to know if a public official violates the city's Code of Ethics, Article 4 of the City Code, specifically Section 2-7-65 regarding Substantial Interest of a Relative.

Errors in reporting for spouses, domestic partners

The Statements of Financial Information filed by Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Member Laura Morrison listed extensive financial information for their spouses, Julie A. Byers and Philip James Morrison, respectively.

The other council members—Mike Martinez, Sheryl Cole, Chris Riley, Randi Shade, and Bill Spelman—filed financial statements that did not appear to contain all required information.

To clear up any misunderstanding, The Austin Bulldog e-mailed each of these officials to notify them of possible omissions and ask for a response.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez was notified by The Austin Bulldog that none of his statements appear to contain a separate listing of sources of income, assets or liabilities pertaining to his wife, Lara Wendler, who is chief of staff for a state senator, according to his statements. [The Texas State Directory online lists Wendler as legislative director for State Senator John Whitmire (D-Houston)].

Martinez did not reply to this e-mail.

Council Member Sheryl Cole was notified by The Austin Bulldog that none of her statements appear to contain a separate listing of sources of income, assets or liabilities pertaining to her husband, Kevin Cole, who is listed in her reports as an attorney. (As such, a listing of his clients would also be required.)

Cole responded immediately and provided separate financial statements that had been filed with the city clerk by Kevin Cole in connection with his service on the Urban Renewal Board. His reports cover financial activity during calendar years 2008 and 2009. Sheryl Cole’s e-mail stated his service on the board ended in June 2010 and she would check to see if he needed to file a statement for 2010, and if she needed to include information for him on her own report.

Council Member Chris Riley was notified by The Austin Bulldog that his financial statements covering activities in 2009 and 2010 did not list a spouse but his mid-year updates filed in July 2009 and July 2010 both listed attorney Denise Brady as a spouse, and if he has a spouse or domestic partner then information about that person’s source of income or assets and liabilities should have been included.

Riley replied by e-mail to say, “I've never been married. But up until late 2010, my girlfriend/partner/significant other, Denise Brady, and I were living in the downstairs apartments at my home. When I filed the city’s ‘Statement of Financial Information’ for 2008 and 2009, the instructions on the form didn’t say anything about domestic partners. I didn’t list Denise as my spouse, but I did note on both statements that Denise and I were living in the downstairs apartments. The online updates asked for ‘Spouse or Domestic Partner’s Name,’ so on both updates I listed Denise Brady.”

Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: Actually, that’s not accurate. The e-filing forms Riley used for mid-year updates filed July 30, 2009, and July 21, 2010, do not mention domestic partners, but he nevertheless did, in fact, report Brady as his spouse. (Underlined text is hereby deleted. New text is added in italics.) The city clerk’s office states the forms provided in response to open records requests did not reflect the information the filer sees on the screen; the screen does indicate “spouse or domestic partner” while the printed forms do not include domestic partners. The Austin Bulldog acknowedges this but this does not change the requirement for reporting financial activity of domestic partners. The forms Riley filed covering financial activity for calendar years 2008 and 2009 do not mention domestic partners and Riley did not report Brady as his spouse. The first form filed by Riley that asked for the “Spouse or domestic partner’s name” was filed March 21, 2011, covering financial activity for calendar year 2010. By then, Brady had moved out.

“In late 2010, with my reelection campaign approaching, Denise moved out,” Riley stated in the e-mail. “Denise has remained my girlfriend/partner/significant other, but since she has moved out, I don’t think she would be considered a domestic partner. ... That’s why she’s not included on the city form I filed this year.”

The bottom line is that while some of Riley’s financial statements indicated that Brady lived with him, and two of his statements indicated she was his spouse, none provided the required information about her sources of income, assets or liabilities. Thus it appears that Riley did not properly comply with the City Code by including Brady’s financial information for calendar years 2008 and 2009 and may have erred in not doing so in 2010 because she lived with him for most of the year.

Council Member Spelman was notified by The Austin Bulldog that while each of his financial statements identify his wife, Niyanta Spelman, as a nonprofit executive director, none contain a separate listing of her sources of income.

He immediately replied via e-mail, as follows: “You are correct: I did not include my wife’s income in my last three financial statements.  Although she works (far more than) full-time as the executive director of Rainforest Partnership, she does so as a volunteer and receives no salary.  So there is nothing to report.  You should know that her board of directors recently decided, for legal reasons, to pay her $1 per year.  I will, of course, report that in my next financial statement.”

Council Member Randi Shade was notified by The Austin Bulldog of the requirement to report the financial activity of a spouse or domestic partner, and that her financial statements for calendar years 2008 and 2009 did not do so. Attorney Kayla Shell was listed as Shade’s domestic partner in her mid-year report filed (late) on August 6, 2009. Shell was also listed as Shade’s domestic partner in her statement for calendar year 2010 filed March 21, 2011. Yet none of Shade’s financial statements contain information about Shell’s financial activity.

In response to The Austin Bulldog’s e-mail inquiry, Shade replied, “I believe my financial disclosure forms comply with the law and the instructions received from the Clerk’s office.”

An e-mailed request for further clarification was not answered.

City Clerk Shirley Gentry said she did not talk to Shade about this and could not comment.

So, is Shell, in fact, Shade’s domestic partner? And if she is, when did this relationship become reportable in accordance with City Code Section 2-7-72(E) and Section 2-7-71(2)? If the domestic partnership existed in 2008 or anytime since, it would have been reportable.

Shade won a seat on the council in 2008. When Shade was running for council against incumbent Jennifer Kim, she published a campaign mail piece right before the May election that stated, “Randi and her partner, Kayla Shell, an attorney and Dell executive, live in the Clarksville neighborhood and are the proud parents of a toddler son named Ethan.” In June 2008, The Austin American-Statesman reported the Shade and Shell were expecting a second child in early October. “Shade and her partner, Dell attorney Kayla Shell, also have a two-year-old son Ethan,” the article stated. An October 2009 bio of Shell states she is legal director of Dell’s large enterprise sales division and lives in Austin with her partner, Randi Shade. Shade’s current bio on her reelection campaign website states, “Randi and her partner, Kayla Shell, an attorney and Dell executive, live in the Clarksville neighborhood and are the proud parents of four-year-old son Ethan and two-year-old daughter Emme.”

Thus, it seems clear that during her entire time in office Shade has had a domestic partner for which financial information should have been reported in compliance with the City Code.

State law vs. City Code

Does state law give Riley or Shade an excuse for not complying with the City Code requirements to report their domestic partners’ sources of income, assets or liabilities?

Government Code Chapter 572, governs Personal Financial Disclosures, standards of conduct, and conflicts of interest for state officials. Chapter 572 also governs how municipal officers are to report financial activity on Form PFS.

The requirements of Chapter 572 are far different than the requirements of the City Code regarding how to report financial activities of a spouse.

Section 572.023(a) outlines requirements for what state officials must include. It states, “A financial statement must include an account of the financial activity of the individual required by this subchapter to file a financial statement and an account of the financial activity of the individual's spouse and dependent children if the individual had actual control over that activity for the preceding calendar year” (emphasis added).

Chapter 572 does not address domestic partnerships.

The Texas Ethics Commission oversees reporting of Personal Financial Statements for state officials and publishes Form PFS that must also be used by designated city officials in compliance with Local Government Code Chapter 145. The Commission also publishes the “Form PFS Instruction Guide” to provide guidance on how to complete the form. It, too, is silent on the matter of domestic partnerships.

The conclusion from all this is that Riley and Shade are not required to report the financial activity for a domestic partner on Form PFS, Personal Financial Statements.

However, City Code Section 2-7-71(2) does, in fact, define domestic partnerships as spouses. City Code Section 2-7-72(E) does, in fact, require the same reporting on Statements of Financial Information for domestic partners as for spouses.

City Code does not provide an official any exemption from reporting a spouse or domestic partner’s financial activity in instances where the official does not have actual control over the partner’s financial activity.

Therefore it appears that the Statements of Financial Information filed by Council Members Riley and Shade are incomplete.

The financial statements

Some of the financial statements filed by the mayor and council members were typewritten or handwritten and filed manually, while others were filed electronically (e-filed). Many of the reports published in this report have various defects or omissions, as indicated in the introduction to each person’s statements, below.

Many of the statements were filled out showing a period covered that is inconsistent with the date the report was actually filed. In those cases, it appears that the date filed is correct and the period covered by the reports are in error.

For ease of access and review, The Austin Bulldog has consolidated each person’s multiple sworn financial statements into Portable Document Format (pdf) text-recognition files that can be searched, although handwritten entries may only be read by scrolling through these documents. The various reports are arranged in chronological order by filing date.

The value of real estate holdings is not required to be included on these financial statements. For properties located in Travis County, The Austin Bulldog is reporting that information, which was obtained by searching the online records of the Travis Central Appraisal District.

Lee LeffingwellLee Leffingwell Mayor Lee Leffingwell—None of his five reports filed per City Code indicate what period of time was covered in the reports. Readers must infer the dates covered based on the dates the reports were filed, indicated by the date-time stamp and the date the reports were signed.

Leffingwell’s most recent statements indicate he is married to Julie A. Byers, a registered nurse employed by Seton Hospital. His only occupational income is from serving as mayor. Byers’ only occupational income is from her work as a registered nurse at Seton Hospital. His statement separately lists financial information for Byers. Leffingwell owns stock in 36 companies. He owns a home in West Austin valued at $492,585, according to Travis Central Appraisal District. Byers owns a house in Loup City, Nebraska. Leffingwell draws retirement income from the Delta Pilots Retirement Trust, military and social security. He is a board member of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization.

To read Leffingwell’s City Code statements covering calendar years 2008 through 2010 (29 pages), click here.

To read Leffingwell’s Local Government Code statements for calendar years 2004 through 2010 (238 pages) click here.

Mike MartinezMike Martinez Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez—No report could be located for calendar year 2007. Reports covering 2008 and 2010 do not indicate what periods were covered in the reports. The report covering the first six months of 2009 was due in late July but was not filed until September 21, 2009, and the reporting period in that report is erroneously stated as January 1 through June 30, 2011. Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: (The underlined text is hereby deleted. New text is added in italics.) The city clerk’s office states the forms provided in response to open records requests contained misstates the period covered because of programming errors. An updated form is linked below.

Martinez' statements indicate he is married to Lara Wendler, chief of staff for a state senator. He reported no occupational income for Wendler or himself—not even his council pay. Martinez owns shares in three mutual funds. He has taken a loan from a credit union and he and Wendler have taken loans from two banks. They own a home in East Austin valued at $148,454 according to Travis Central Appraisal District, and a vacant lot in East Austin valued at $161,500. He is chairman of the board of Capital Metro and also sits on the board of the Austin Firefighters Fund.

To read Martinez’ reports City Code statements covering calendar years 2008 through 2010 (35 pages), click here.

Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: To read Martinez’ corrected mid-year report for 2009, click here.

To read Martinez’ Local Government Code statements covering calendar years 2005, 2006, and 2008 through 2010 (120 pages) click here.

Sheryl ColeSheryl Cole Council Member Sheryl Cole—Cole’s most recent City Code statement, filed April 27, 2011, indicates that her city council position is her only source of occupational income, but her Local Government Code report filed the same day indicates that she has occupational income from the Cole Law Firm. She reported no sources of occupational income for Kevin Cole in any of her reports. Kevin Cole filed separate statements covering calendar years 2008 and 2009 while a member of the Urban Renewal Board. The Coles own stock in nine mutual funds. They own a home in Northeast Austin valued at $791,099 and three rent houses in North and East Austin collectively valued at $328,188, according to Travis Central Appraisal District. The Coles also reported beneficial interests in a home in East Austin valued at $282,898, a home in North Austin valued at $152,040, and two lots in East Austin with a total value of $20,000. Kevin Cole’s most recent City Code report, for calendar year 2009, listed as clients of his law firm the Texas Association of School Boards Risk Management Fund and the City of Waco. Sheryl Cole is a board member of the Downtown Austin Alliance.

To read Sheryl Cole’s City Code statements covering calendar years 2008 through 2010 (45 pages) click here.

To read husband Kevin Cole’s City Cole statements covering calendar years 2008 and 2009 (nine pages) click here.

To read Sheryl Cole’s Local Government Code statements covering calendar years 2005 through 2010 (189 pages) click here.

Laura MorrisonLaura Morrison Council Member Laura MorrisonE-filed reports covering the first half of 2009 and 2010 both incorrectly indicated the period covered was January 1 through June 30, 2011. Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: (The underlined text is hereby deleted. New text is added in italics.) The city clerk’s office states the forms provided in response to open records requests misstated the period covered because of programming errors. Updated forms are linked below. Morrison’s latest statements include information for herself and her husband, Philip Morrison, a professor in the Physics Department of the University of Texas at Austin. Her only listed source of occupational income is from her position as a city council member; her husband’s only occupational income is from the university. They own stock in 22 companies. They own bonds, notes, or other commercial paper for nine financial entities. They own stock in 30 mutual funds. They earn interest, dividends, and royalties from four financial entities. They live in a West Austin home valued at $1,429,502, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District. They earn rent from their home in North Austin valued at $438,018 and a second home in Portland, Oregon. Morrison sits on no boards of directors that are not affiliated with the City of Austin.

To read Morrison’s City Code statements covering calendar years 2008 through 2010 (33 pages) click here.

Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: To read Morrison’s corrected mid-year report for 2009 click here and for 2010 click here.

To read Morrison’s Local Government Code statements covering calendar years 2007 through 2010 (111 pages) click here.

Chris RileyChris Riley Council Member Chris Riley—The report filed April 30, 2010, should have indicated it covered calendar year 2009 but states it covered January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010. The e-filed report of July 21, 2010 incorrectly states it covers the period January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011. Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: (The underlined text is hereby deleted. New text is added in italics.) The city clerk’s office states the forms provided in response to open records requests misstated the period covered because of programming errors. Updated forms are linked below. Riley lists his city council position as his only occupational income. He owns stock in five mutual funds. He owns a historic downtown home that serves as a four-plex valued at $526,985, according to Travis Central Appraisal District. He earns rent from the two upstairs units and also reports dividend income. Riley sits on the board of directors of five organizations not affiliated with the city: Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Capital Metro, Capital Area Council of Governments, University of Texas Environmental Sciences Institute, and Clean Air Coalition.

To read Riley’s City Code statements (34 pages) click here.

Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: To read Riley’s corrected mid-year report for 2009 click here and for 2010 click here.

To read Riley’s Local Government Code reports (50 pages) click here.

Randi ShadeRandi Shade Council Member Randi ShadeMid-year reports covering the first half of 2009 and 2010 both erroneously state the period covered was January 1 through June 30, 2011. The e-filed report of July 21, 2010 incorrectly states it covers the period January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011. Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: (The underlined text is hereby deleted. New text is added in italics.) The city clerk’s office states the forms provided in response to open records requests misstated the period covered because of programming errors. Updated forms are linked below. Shade’s reports indicate her only occupational income is from her position as a city council member. No occupational income is provided for her domestic partner, Kayla Shell, despite the instructions on Page 1 of the most recent statement: “In reporting information required by this form, a City official shall include the same information is it pertains to his or her spouse or domestic partner, by separate listing.” She reported an $11,000 gift of money or other thing of value from Kayla Shell. Shade owns shares in one mutual fund and earns interest from one bank. Shade owns a home in West Austin (Unit B) valued at $397,586, according to Travis Central Appraisal District. (Although not reported on Shade’s statement, Shell owns Unit A at that location valued at $420,034.) Shade sits on the board of directors of the nonprofit Pecan Street Project Inc.

To read Shade’s City Code statements (33 pages) click here.

Updated Friday, June 3, 2011, 2:30pm: To read Shade’s corrected mid-year report for 2009 click here and for 2010 click here.

To read Shade’s Local Government Code statements (96 pages) click here.

Bill SpelmanBill Spelman Council Member Bill Spelman—Spelman lists his sources of occupational income as the University of Texas, where he is a professor, and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, where is a consultant. (Because he works for the university he is a state employee and Section 40(b) of the Texas Constitution bars him from drawing a salary as a member of the city council.) He reports no occupational income for his wife, Niyanta Spelman, as she is an unpaid volunteer executive director of the nonprofit Rainforest Partnership Inc. Spelman owns stock in 19 companies. The Spelmans own a municipal bond and a corporate bond. Spelman owns shares in 27 mutual funds. The Spelmans own a home in North Austin valued at $335,431, according to the Travis Central Appraisal District. The Spelmans earn rent from a garage apartment at their home and a condominium in East Austin that is valued at $95,824. The Spelmans also own a beneficial interest of $25,000 or more in the retail-office-condominium development where the condo is located. Spelman owns a partial interest in four tracts of undeveloped West Texas rangeland in Irion County. Niyanta Spelman is a member of the board of directors of the Rainforest Partnership Inc., Liveable City Inc., and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum.

To read Spelman’s City Code statements (46 pages) click here.

To read Spelman’s Local Government Code statements (74 pages) click here.

Kathie TovoKathie Tovo Candidate Kathie Tovo—In the May 14 election, Tovo garnered 46.38 percent of the votes in Place 3, while incumbent Randi Shade netted 32.9 percent of the vote. (Max Nofziger got 14.26 percent and Kris Bailey accounted for 6.47 percent.) Because Shade and Tovo are in a runoff scheduled for June 18, Tovo’s financial statements are published here as well.

Tovo lists her occupation as a grant writer. For her husband, Tom Hurt, Tovo reports occupational income from Hurt Partners Architects Inc. and Hurt Asset Management LLC. Hurt lists eight architecture clients and four energy industry clients. Tovo’s statement shows she and/or or Hurt own stock in 10 companies and they sit on the board of directors of 10 business organizations. They have retirement accounts with investment in certificates of deposit and money market accounts. They own shares in three mutual funds. They earn interest from a joint bank account. Their home in Central Austin is valued at $464,069, according to Travis Central Appraisal District. They own a rent house in South Austin valued at $345,649. They have home loans for both houses and Hurt has a line of credit for his architecture firm. They own four lots in Austin. They own interests in properties in South and West Texas. They own interests in seven businesses. They have assets in 10 business associations and liabilities in three.

To read Tovo’s City Code statements (7 pages) click here.

To read Tovo’s Local Government Code statements (42 pages) click here.

This investigative report was made possible by contributions to The Austin Bulldog, which operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to provide investigative reporting in the public interest. You can help to sustain The Austin Bulldog’s investigative reporting by making a tax-deductible contribution.