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2010: Perry and White Bicker Over BTEC

For the second time, Gov. Rick Perry is calling on his Democratic opponent, Bill White, to drop out of the race.

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For the second time, Gov. Rick Perry is calling on his Democratic opponent, Bill White, to drop out of the race.

The latest call comes on the heels of an Associated Press story detailing how White was more involved than he previously admitted in a billing dispute between the Coastal Water Authority and BTEC, a company White called in to assist with post-Hurricane Rita recovery. The first time Perry demanded White's resignation from the race was after an Associated Press story revealing that White later profited off of an investment he made in the company after the cleanup. White previously told the AP that he had no involvement in the interactions between the agency and the company, as laid out in this key segment from the AP story:

In June, White described that contact as simply calling a company he knew well — he had once served as a director and as chief executive of BTEC's parent company — to help with storm recovery. He said he let the company and the Coastal Water Authority, whose seven-member board includes four seats appointed by the mayor of Houston, take it from there.

"That was the end of my conversations and involvement in the case," White said in June.

But records obtained by the AP, including board meeting records, memos and e-mails from the Coastal Water Authority, show White was later involved in a dispute over unpaid invoices filed by BTEC to the agency. The records show he discussed the issue with two top city aides and a lawyer for the authority, telling them he wanted to make sure BTEC got paid for its services. One e-mail was provided to the AP by Perry's campaign.

Here is the statement from Perry calling for White to resign:

“When reports first emerged that Bill White profiteered from Hurricane Rita, I called upon him to resign from the governor’s race if he could not fully explain his actions.

“Since then, Bill White has given contradictory explanations and falsely denied that he provided preferential treatment to BTEC, a company he had a financial relationship with. We now learn that Bill White intervened on BTEC’s behalf to resolve a financial dispute between the company and the Coastal Water Authority.

“Because Bill White has failed to come clean with the people of Texas, I am again calling upon him to drop out of the governor’s race and to apologize to the people of Houston and our state for his unethical actions and for profiteering from a natural disaster while mayor of Houston.

“Bill White’s actions to benefit his business partners over those he was elected to represent, and then to personally cash in within months with an exclusive private investment, are shameful and despicable examples of betraying the public trust.”

And here is the response to the AP story from White spokeswoman Katy Bacon: 

"Bill White called on dozens of companies during the crisis of the hurricanes, and later made dozens of phone calls to ensure those who'd been called on were paid for services provided. No less, no more. Looks like Perry's campaign is pushing old news in an attempt to distract from his land deal scandal and the fact that he's on vacation in California ignoring the $18 billion budget deficit. As Bill White has said before, he had no financial interest in BTEC at the time of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. BTEC never had a contract with the City of Houston. As a result of leadership by Bill White and a crisis team including Centerpoint, power was restored shortly before half a million people would have lost water and refineries along the ship channel would have shut down."

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2010 elections Bill White Griffin Perry Rick Perry