Dolcefino questions Houston Housing Authority's dealings regarding new low-income housing in the East End

Housing & Development

By April Bamburg | Mar 16, 2020

Wayne Dolcefino is still questioning the actions of the Houston Housing Authority, particularly in relation to a real estate deal that would see HHA spend $12.9 million on six acres of land that no one can live on. Dolcefino, a former journalist who now runs a consulting firm, notes that this property deal is between Ernie D. Cockrell and HHA. The contaminated land is part of a $53 million land deal – the future home of 800 low income housing units.

That real estate deal is expected to put apartments for low-income residents smack in the center of land that is contaminated.  But the contaminated land isn’t the only issue that is concerning – someone’s getting a payday with the housing transactions, and Dolcefino wants answers on that front too – pointing out connections between HHA and a real estate firm involved in the property transaction.

Dolcefino noted that HHA President Laurent Snowden speaks with Licia Green frequently and that Green’s real estate development partner at Waterman Steele is Lance Gilliam, a former HHA Chair who was removed from his position in 2014.

Between Oct. 24, 2019 and Jan. 10, 2020, Houston Housing Authority closed four big deals that caught Dolcefino’s attention. Dolcefino said Waterman Steele and Lance Gilliam were involved in all four of those real estate deals.

“Before we put people on the dirty dirt, shouldn’t we know more?” Dolcefino said in a March 11 video uploaded to his Youtube channel.  

On one side of the 800 Middle property, there is lead-filled ash from the former Velasco incinerator site and Lead Products Incorporated on the other side.

This is significant, Dolcefino said, because Lead Products Incorporated is now under the supervision of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a variety of reasons: lead contamination in the soil, arsenic in the groundwater and there were even concerns that lead was migrating to 800 Middle, where low-income housing is planned.   

The Houston Housing Authority is considering a plan to donate the contaminated land to Buffalo Bayou Preservation, but Dolcefino wonders why the Cockrell family wouldn’t just donate it to Buffalo Bayou Preservation themselves.


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