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Mayor Turner responds to questions about city employee's deleted emails

HOUSTON – "Did he fail to turn over all those emails? Were there 23 that were not turned over? Yes. Did he 'fess up to it? Yes. Did you end up getting them? Yes."

Mayor Sylvester Turner addressed recent reports by KPRC's Mario Diaz on Wednesday at City Hall. The mayor admitted to Channel 2 Investigates that his chief development officer, Andy Icken, failed to initially comply with a Texas Public Information Act records request made by the Channel 2 investigative team.

The emails in question were from from Icken's AOL account and involved city business.

Icken's excuse back in KPRC's original report on July 17? “I never had them.”

When reminded he sent them, Icken said, “I sent them and then they were deleted by my mail, by my email account."

The latest from Icken comes less than a week after Turner's former press secretary Darian Ward, was indicted by a Harris County grand jury for failing to comply with a records request.  Last fall, the mayor signed off on Ward's suspension after the Mayor’s office found she misrepresented the number of documents that should have been turned over to the media.

When asked on Wednesday during his weekly news conference with the media why there is no type of suspension with regards to Icken, considering the Ward case, the mayor said, “I have had the conversations with Andy. I am convinced that what occurred happened in good faith. All the emails were turned over. You're talking only about 23.”

Channel 2 Investigates reminded the mayor the emails were only turned over after Channel 2 alerted the mayor’s office that Icken had not turned them over.

The Harris County DA's office made it clear after Ward's first appearance on Tuesday that whether it's one email or 2,000, their viewpoint is the number of emails not turned over makes no difference.

That being said, Turner made it clear there was a breakdown within his inner circle: “I will say to you that mistakes were made. What I said to Andy and what I said to every employee, be responsive to the media requests, make sure you are double-checking."