HOUSTON – A senior staff analyst and a member of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s communications team was recently suspended without pay for violating several city of Houston policies.
Turner approved the 10-day suspension of Darian Ward on Dec. 11. City documents obtained by Channel 2 Investigates show Ward misrepresented the results of a Texas Public Information Act request to a journalist and misinformed her superiors regarding that request.
The journalist, who is not named in the documents, requested emails sent from Ward’s city email account related to her production company. The documents state Ward located 30 emails relevant to the request.
The city’s Office of Inspector General did its own search of Ward’s emails to make sure the city was in compliance with state law and it located more than 5,000 emails related to Ward’s private businesses and other non-city matters over the course of three years.
The city stated: “The emails included proposals to, and signed agreements with, film and TV production companies for their consideration of your personal business ideas for 'reality shows.'" The city added that Ward identified herself as a “board member of charity.” However, the charity does not have any affiliation with government functions.
The documents alleged Ward “misrepresented to the requester, the volume of documents regarding the TPIA (Texas Public Information Act) request under state law.” The documents also stated Ward “misinformed the Chief of Staff.”
The documents also stated that Ward “spent a significant amount of city time" conducting personal business.