KPRC 2 Investigates uncovers another example of William-Paul Thomas working outside of the city hall scope

Convicted city council director involved in civil matter concerning recently shutdown restaurant

Here's what we know

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 Investigates has uncovered another example of convicted Houston City Council Relations Director William-Paul Thomas working outside of his scope at city hall last spring.

This time it involves Taste Bar and Kitchen in Montrose.

“Yes, yes he was there,” said Tomaro Bell who acted as a representative for the now-closed restaurant.

It was last month when Taste was shut down by the State of Texas over its failure to pay taxes.

When KPRC 2 Investigates asked Bell the reason why Thomas was weighing in when he was the Director of City Council relations, he answered, “Because I told him we need help, but I’m not getting any help from the department directors so I wanted him to let the Mayor know.”

Bell confirmed to KPRC 2 investigates Thomas did show up to Taste to assist.

The matter at the time was a civil dispute between the building’s landlord and the chef who owned the restaurant. However, Bell admits she had no issues reaching out to Thomas who she says she has known for over thirty years.

“Because he was the person that I knew who could get to the Mayor’s ear and get to the health department (to help us figure out) why they were doing this and attacking this business,” said Bell.

It was just last month after Thomas was federally convicted that Mayor Sylvester Turner told Houstonians the actions by Thomas related to his conviction were out of character. However, the city was made aware Thomas was involved in a civil matter at Taste because the owner of the building told Mayor Turner as much at city council, “I’ve gotten emails from Mr. William Paul,” said building owner Amir Ansari.

Mayor Turner considered the issue a matter of the court where it should be resolved. However, the Mayor wasn’t the only one made aware.

Text messages KPRC 2 Investigates obtained from the city show Thomas directly reaching out to HFD Chief Sam Peña to help in the civil matter. Peña telling Thomas, “We’re looking into this.”

When we asked Peña if William-Paul Thomas specifically reached out to him with regards to Taste Bar and Kitchen? Peña said, “I can’t remember that he did, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have happened.”

Once again, text messages show it did.

Even Bell made it very clear that she contacted Peña directly, “I called Sam Pena myself.”

On Monday afternoon, after we showed the text messages to Peña, the HFD Chief acknowledged he was contacted by Thomas and Bell over issues regarding false alarms at Taste. However, Peña says he was not personally involved and that it was forwarded to the fire marshal.


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