By Elsa Maxey
Fort Bend Mechanical, a Stafford-based contractor, is in the middle of a growing scandal. An official of the company, and the company itself, that does business with Fort Bend ISD, are accused of bribing a Houston school board member with a $25,000 check, allegedly a campaign contribution from back in 2009 that was not reported. Fort Bend Mechanical is reportedly being sued by a rival company that is in competition with it.The $25,000 check is alleged from David Medford, owner of Fort Bend Mechanical, to Houston ISD board member Lawrence Marshall.
The Fort Bend County based HVAC service and installation company is reported to have done millions of dollars of business with HISD, and currently, is under a one year contract with Fort Bend ISD for its air conditioning and heating repair maintenance work, confirms school board member Bruce Albright. It was believed that locally in the school district, the scandal had moved the company to the bottom of a “preferred vendors list”. But Albright said it is not something the board does, noting that the district’s facilities director, Ben Copeland, has his own grading criteria for vendors, including Fort Bend Mechanical. “They use the criteria that includes points for repair, evaluations on how they did the work, how fast, how well.”
Albright said, “for this year, they (Fort Bend Mechanical) have it,” referring to the contract. Based on its performance, he said Copeland and his staff would evaluate the company based on performance. In fact, he said, the school district has hired a supervisor “to check on our contractors, that’s his whole job, to make sure they (the contractors) are doing their job.”