Need to Know

EcoHub Files Suit Against Houston to Force the Release of Public Documents

Having been shut out of bidding on the city's recycling contract, Ecohub is now pushing for records and emails to shed light on the contract process.

EcoHub is continuing its battle with the city of Houston over the city’s pending recycling contract. In the latest salvo, the company has filed a lawsuit against to the city to compel the release of documents and emails that the city is withholding.

In late June, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner had announced a 20-year recycling contract with FCC Environmental worth $48 million.

In July, however, the Houston City Council delayed a vote on the proposed deal. City Council members are questioning the length and price of the contract since it has changed numerous times over the past couple of months.

A day later, it Turner reopened the bidding process. FCC, Republic Services, Waste Management and Independent Texas Recyclers were allowed to present 'best and final offers' for the contract.

Having been shut out of that bidding, Ecohub is now pushing for records and emails to shed light on the contract process.

George Gitschel, the founder of EcoHub, has spent the last 25 years trying to find a way to get rid of garbage. His solution, EcoHub, is a 58-step solid waste recycling system that would separate waste into various recycling streams.

For the past several years, the City of Houston was poised to become the pilot city for EcoHub. But Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner recently decided against the One Bin project, awarding trash collector FCC with a $1.6 million-per-year contract. This decision has sparked an outcry from Gitschel, who claims that the mayor snubbed him by excluding him from the contract bidding process.

The Texas Monitor has more:

EcoHub is a company whose CEO said he believes that his firm was unfairly shut out of the bidding process for the city’s recycling deal. Turner, though, has said he has long believed that EcoHub was not the right fit for the city, arguing that the firms currently bidding for the job are trusted and superior.

“Rather than simply releasing the documents that would corroborate what Mayor Turner claims is a better deal for the residents of Houston, the City has instead refused to produce the requested public records, hence the need for this Petition and the hope for independent oversight,” the lawsuit reads in part.

“No one questions the right of anyone to file allegations in a court of law,” Turner’s Director of Communications Alan Bernstein said. “The city will respond to the allegations where they were made.”

Read the full story here.

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