Farenthold Says He’ll Reimburse Taxpayers For Sexual Harassment Settlement

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By Becky FogelDecember 5, 2017 1:43 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold has pledged to reimburse taxpayers for the cost of a sexual harassment settlement involving a former staffer. His former communications director, Lauren Greene, sued the Corpus Christi Republican in 2014 for gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and a hostile work environment. Both agreed to drop the case but it turns out the settlement cost taxpayers $84,000.

Farenthold appeared on the local NBC affiliate KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi on Monday. He said, “I want to be clear that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I also don’t want taxpayers to be on the hook for this. I want to be able to talk about it and fix the system without people saying ‘Blake, you benefited from this system. You don’t have a right to talk about it or fix it.”

Farenthold said he plans to hand over a check to House Speaker Paul Ryan this week. In an interview with Politico, Greene said she was not able to find work in politics again after accusing U.S. Representative Farenthold of harassment.

Some of the Houston police officers who volunteered to help Puerto Rico recover from hurricane-related destruction have returned home. 25 officers, broken into three groups, have been helping with directing traffic and patrol duties. This is essential for the island, which is still not completely back on the electrical grid and has had difficulty with food and water distribution.

Houston Public Media’s Ed Mayberry has more.

One last group of officers is still on the island through December 15, but the initial volunteers returned back to Houston on Sunday night. At the first deployment in early November, Assistant Police Chief Pete Lopez said about 50 Houston police officers are Puerto Ricans, but many more wanted to help.

“All of these officers here volunteered to go. We had over 200 officers volunteer, so it was hard trying to pick just 25,” he said.

Captain Patricia Cantu was one of the volunteers. She says the local police force also needed basic supplies.

“We’ve been able to offer them the water, the mosquito spray, which some of the officers didn’t have when we got there, or even the protective vests when they were directing traffic, so it became a very dangerous issue for them. I believe like nine of them got hit,” she said.

Captain Cantu says that things are slowly returning to normal in the cities, although rural areas are still having problems.

“But for the most part, the electricity is coming back slowly but surely. They are still having issues with the lights and a lot of accidents. They haven’t upgraded lights since 1940, so that’s going to be a lot of work.”

Cantu said since Puerto Rico is an island, it’s been harder to recover since supplies have to come by boat or air.

Texas A&M welcomed new head football coach Jimbo Fisher Monday. The university gave the Florida State coach a record-setting 10-year, $75 million contract. Fisher is one of only four active national championship coaches.

At his introductory press conference, he made it clear he wants to bring the Aggies a national title. “That’s where we want to be and what we want to be and then eventually to the national championship and this is how we do it because if you can compete in this league, you can compete in any league in college football.”

Texas A&M hasn’t won a national championship since 1939. Fisher replaces Kevin Sumlin, who was fired at the end of November. A&M has to pay Sumlin the remaining $10 million on his contract.