HOUSTON – Law enforcement officials are ramping up their investigation into a stash of African artwork that is being stored on the Harris County taxpayers’ dime.
“Who has the keys to all this,” KPRC 2 asked Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis’s team earlier this year. The shed is in Ellis’ precinct but he wasn’t talking.
“The buck stops with you, sir? What do you have to say to Harris County taxpayers about this?” asked KPRC 2 investigator Mario Diaz.
Since then, Ellis has spoken out, claiming it’s a simple misunderstanding involving a small amount of art.
“We got a few pieces,” explained Ellis during a Truth2Power Facebook Live in April. “We worked up an agreement with him. We didn’t dot all of the I’s and cross all of the T’s but sometimes that happens.”
However, Ellis did dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s in a 2018 Commissioner’s Court contract. The contract KPRC 2 dug up was only for 14 pieces of art from a man with ties to Ellis’ family. There are thousands of pieces of artwork in the shed.
“My sister told me, sister-in-law he has a great collection of African art,” explained Ellis during his interview with Dr. Candice Matthews.
However, no mention has been made anywhere of the plans for a costly makeover at the shed, fumigation of the massive art stash or even the cost of warehousing it.