Southeast Texas Record

Friday, April 10, 2020

Buzbee files $5M suit against Houston Mayor, Clear Channel over billboard ads

By David Yates | Apr 18, 2019


HOUSTON – The attorney who wants to be Houston’s next mayor is suing the city’s current mayor over billboards he claims are a campaign violation.

According to this petition, Tony Buzbee says he’s bringing his suit against Sylvester Turner and Clear Channel Outdoor as a Houston resident and taxpayer.

“In the City of Houston, crime is rising, firefighters are being laid off, the streets are riddled with potholes and homelessness is on the rise,” the suit states. “The result of this election will have a dramatic effect on the City of Houston and its future.

“Plaintiff (Buzbee) brings this action as his civic duty to protect the integrity of the electoral system.”

Buzbee, a wealthy trial lawyer who is not accepting campaign donations, claims city hall is for sale, with corporations and individuals acting as the buyers.

Specifically, Buzbee claims Turner has received campaign contributions that are being disguised as non-reported corporate donations.

The attorney contends Clear Channel needs the mayor’s help to amend a billboard ordinance and the two defendants have conspired to put billboards across the city with Turner’s picture prominently featured.

“The picture on the billboard purports to be an advertisement and promotion for AlertHouston; but instead, Sylvestor Turner is primarily featured – blatantly promoting Turner as a civic-minded leader who cares about safety and security for the City of Houston,” the suit states.

“Furthermore, the color scheme of such billboards reasonably matches that of Mayor Turner’s election propaganda – signs and shirts.”

Buzbee asserts the current market value of such a campaign contribution could easily exceed $2.5 million.

“Whether it be allowing relocations of billboards to more lucrative locations, or allowing a phase in of digital billboards, Clear Channel Outdoor stands to gain significantly if Turner is re-elected,” the suit states.

“Turner’s ambition to remain mayor is his motivation. That motivation is not far removed from good ole’ fashion greed.”

Buzbee is seeking damages of not less than $5 million.

Houston attorney Chad Pinkerton represents him.

The suit was filed April 17 in Harris County District Court, case No. 2019-27094.

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Organizations in this Story

City of HoustonThe Buzbee Law FirmHarris County District CourtClear Channel Outdoor