Houston Film Commission pays 2 executives $100K more than counterparts in other cities

By Mario Diaz - Reporter

HOUSTON - The band One Direction's 2015 video shoot at NASA is one production the Houston Film Commission highlights on its filmography page.

However, the commission is in an orbit of its own when it comes to staff size. Its cast is larger than every other big city film commission in Texas. San Antonio film commissioner Krystal Jones was surprised to learn its size.

"They have five people? Oh my," she said.

Jones and one other colleague make up San Antonio's team. Unlike Houston, they do not have the luxury of a Los Angeles based representative like Sharon Adams.

The Houston Film Commission is a division of the Houston First Corporation which uses public dollars from the city's hotel tax to fund Adams' $174,000-a-year salary. However, during her tenure, which began in late 2015, the commission has not landed a single big budget movie or television project for Houston, secured by Adams.

Houston Film Commission Executive Director Rick Ferguson is also Adams' boss. He makes more than $177,000 a year.

Ferguson and Adams' publicly funded salaries are significantly higher than film commission directors across Texas.

In fact, more than $100,000 higher than Austin.

Nationwide, aside from New York City, their salaries are higher than directors in other major U.S. cities Channel 2 Investigates contacted.

The Mayor's office for the City of Los Angeles tells Channel 2 Investigates its film division is under the direction of its Board of Public Works President and that individual makes approximately $20,000 less than Adams.

READ: Why is Houston Film Commission paying employee $174K to live in LA?

As for the State of California?

Their Film Commission Director makes $42,000 less than Adams.

Council member Brenda Stardig’s reaction?

"I don't even know how to respond. It definitely raises more questions than answers," Stardig said.

Stardig also questioned Adams' credentials in the film industry.

"I'm not aware of any expertise that she has," she said.

Channel 2 Investigates examines Adams' Houston First American Express credit card statements and the questionable expenditures uncovered.

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