Bureaucratic Privatization Parasites: How to Roll Like a Heiligenstein.

The Heiligenstein’s comfortably negotiate a path through the complex terrain of bureaucracy and privatization schemes, while taxpayers slumber and keep paying more.

Mike Heiligenstein helped form the toll authority start-up, which was funded with hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars to privatize and toll our public highways. The comptroller’s investigative report exposed Heiligenstein’s toll authority for giving out NO BID contracts to board members and friends.

Anne Heiligenstein, Mike Heiligenstein’s ex-wife, is now fighting for another startup subsidy/privatization scheme for her friends, and it's in the news this week.

Politicos like to use words that sound good, as they mug us, and it usually works well with the press for a while. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) is a fancy phrase that bureaucrats use to transfer ownership of our roads, land, water and other public assets to their friends in exchange for campaign contributions or political favors. Elected representatives like Mike Krusee change the laws to make the theft legal.

Anne Heiligenstein, the Deputy Executive Commissioner of Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC), defends Texas Pregnancy Care Network (TPCN), which was formed to acquire a $2.5 million state contract awarded by Heiligenstein’s group.

Only 166 women have been served by the TPCN after $1.9 million in tax dollars have been spent.

1,000’s of women could have been helped by licensed professionals with that amount of money. TPCN does not hire medical professionals or offer any real medical services, but, they have hired a director with legal experience who can keep them out of trouble.

Peggy Romberg, CEO of Women's Health and Family Planning Association of Texas, said the contract "makes no economic sense".

During a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee, Anne Heiligenstein was asked why the state would spend so much to serve only 166 clients. Anne Heiligenstein responded that the program was expected to be more expensive at first because of startup costs.

Heiligenstein’s organization selected TPCN during a so called competitive bid process even though no credentials, employees, business plan or licenses were provided by TPCN.

And the TPCN board brings no related experience to the table, other than being pals with Anne Heiligenstein’s organization. The board includes Chairman Joe Wolfskill, founder of a power-generation industry manufacturer firm in Bellville; Vice Chairwoman Susanna Dokupil; Dr. Joe Kerwin, a former NASA scientist-astronaut; and Randall Gabrel of Booker, owner and operator of oil and gas wells.

Susanna Dokupil is both a state employee, an assistant Texas attorney general, and a TPCN board member.

Months ago Anne Heiligenstein spent hours on another hearing hot seat, answering questions about more Public Private Partnership waste involving millions of dollars
, and lack of performance for taxpayers involving Texas Integrated Eligibility Redesign System and technology outsourcing firm Accenture.

How Mike Heiligenstein Stacks the Deck

Numerous qualified individuals vied for Mike Heiligenstein executive director top position within the toll authority, but Heiligenstein stacked the deck for himself. The Comptroller’s investigative report tells the story of Heiligenstein’s house of games:
"Mike Heiligenstein was a member of the Williamson County Commissioners Court until December 2003, and in that capacity voted for the formation of CTRMA and for the appointments of four of its board members.”
Then, those board members hired Heiligenstein as Executive Director. The board members, as illustrated by the report, also gave NO BID contracts to themselves and their friends.

Interestingly, Heiligenstein’s bankruptcy from 1990 (#90-14004 Williamson County) included two debtors which were also two of Heiligenstein’s board member selections, James Mills and Mike Robinson.

The Comptroller also found toll authority board members, such as Chair Robert Tech, who’s refused to resign, who’s property near toll projects has increased in value as much as 989%, since becoming chair. Note the toll authorities actual name “Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA)” lacks the “toll” word, a first sign of con men hard at work.

Just a few years ago, Texas Ethics Commission cited and fined Heiligenstein and three other Williamson County commissioners for using public funds for political advertising.

Heiligenstein vs. Heiligenstein

In 2004, Mike Heiligenstein tried to get out of paying child support and was chased down and penalized for being a deadbeat dad, even though he was making well over six figures.

Anne Heiligenstein filed a "Income Withholding for Child Support" petition in Williamson County to force Mike Heiligenstein to pay $1,500 a month in child support. District Court Judge Jergins signed the order (case # 03-556-f395) for income to be withheld from Mike Heiligenstein and to be paid by the toll authority.

Mike's new wife Lisa England (sans Heiligenstein), is also involved in profiting off our roads. Just months ago I reported that she was certified contractor for TxDOT and provided a linke, her name is no longer on TxDOT's site. She most probably has created a business name to hide behind. As the type of work performed, she had listed "Management Consulting Services". TxDOT refused to release documents that would shed more light on the deals Lisa England has crafted with TxDOT or the toll authority, or as State Rep. Pickett rightfully calls them, the mini-TxDOT.

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