White: I did not profit during Rita

Former Mayor Bill White's leadership during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike contributed greatly to his popularity and has formed a key part of his political persona. But Governor Rick Perry has now accused his democratic opponent of "profiteering" from Hurricane Rita. White lashed back today. Carrie Feibel has more.
Perry attacked White yesterday over his connection to BTEC. The company helped provide back-up generators during Hurricane Rita, at a time when power had failed at a crucial water reservoir. White had served on BTEC's board before he became mayor, but resigned after taking office.

"I called an individual I knew because I had remembered a company called BTEC that had been called in by the Department of Defense to get emergency power supplies into Baghdad when American troops rolled in. I had no interest in a company called BTEC at this time."

Over a year after the hurricane, White did invest in BTEC. He says that had nothing to do with what happened during Rita, and that he continued to make many investments while mayor of Houston. White portrays his business acumen and networking as leadership assets, not liabilities.

"The first time that I'd heard the levees broke, then one of the first calls I made was to a senior board member at Wal-Mart saying I need your supply chain. Yes, I did call that individual because I knew his telephone number right then and you call people whose telephones you have. I did that day after day after day and was doing that all throughout the days in September."

White calls Perry's critique an unfair and untrue personal attack. He said Perry is avoiding face-to-face debate with him on real issues like the state budget and his rental house, which costs taxpayers $10,000 a month.




Links:

White's official denial of Perry's attack: http://www.billwhitefortexas.com/blog/001188.php

Perry's initial attack (press release):
http://www.rickperry.org/release/statement-texas-governor-rick-perry-regarding-bill-white-profiteering-hurricane-disaster
Bio photo of Carrie Feibel

Carrie Feibel

Health & Science Reporter

Carrie Feibel is KUHF's health and science reporter. She comes to Houston Public Radio after ten years as a print reporter...