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New controversy for Houston Airport director facing lawsuit for alleged 'unlawful' conduct

HOUSTON – Since walking out on Channel 2 Investigates in the middle of an interview following our investigation into the lagging billion-dollar international terminal project at Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston Airport System Director Mario Diaz has been caught up in even more turbulence.  

It is the result of an eight-page lawsuit filed Friday by lobbyist Justin Jordan.

"I was appointed to the Houston Airport System Development Corporation by the Port of Houston," Jordan said.

The corporation helps develop airports and aviation in Central and South America. Jordan said he was appointed to serve on the board. However, he said Diaz and current board member, Theldon Branch, the man he was appointed to replace, worked behind the scenes to change the by-laws and stop his appointment.

"They met in secret and had a meeting and voted on a bylaws change and the bylaws was that you had to be a port commissioner in order to serve on this board," Jordan said.

Jordan said the vote was unlawful. The reason? He was properly appointed by the Port Authority Chairman Janice Longoria.

Jordan has one question surrounding volunteer appointment?

"I mean, why fight so hard for something that doesn't pay," Jordan said.  

Yet as alleged in the civil complaint, Jordan says meetings were held behind, "Closed doors, maybe smoke-filled rooms … who knows?”  All for a job that he says, "That doesn't pay. But with corruption, we know that everyone pays."

When asked to clarify if he was stating there is corruption surrounding the HAS Development Corporation Board, Jordan said, "Possibly."

Jordan's attorney Oliver Brown says it doesn't smell right, "It smells like corruption."

Brown said the board has been operating with only two members for nearly two years, Branch and Diaz.

This is the result of a third member who died in March 2016 but was never replaced. Brown said the fight to get his client bounced from the board is the result of one primary goal by Diaz and Branch, "They do not want someone of my client's caliber on the board that will actually provide proper oversight."