Kubosh drops out of Controller’s race

In other city election news.

CM Michael Kubosh

Michael Kubosh, an outspoken member of Houston City Council since 2014, withdrew his candidacy for the city’s controller position Monday following a “series of health-related issues.”

Kubosh, who is 72, in a news release said he believed he had been recovering, but after his illness and a recent hospital stay, he felt it was in the best interest of the city for him to step aside.

“I no longer have the ability to sustain my campaign at the level required, while at the same time abiding by my doctor’s orders,” Kubosh said.

Within city government, the controller acts as a monitor for accounting and fiscal health. As an independently elected official, he or she is tasked with certifying available funds, processing payments, managing Houston’s $4.5 billion investment portfolio, auditing departments, selling municipal bonds and producing an annual report of city finances.

Kubosh currently is serving his third term as at-large Councilmember No. 3. After announcing his entry into the controller’s race in early January, he touted his experience running in city-wide elections, calling himself an outsider and political activist who would not shy away from confrontation.

“I have a cross-section of voters throughout the city,” Kubosh said at the time. “And I am very aggressive. I’ll speak up for the people.”


Candidates still in the running to replace him include his Chief Deputy Shannan Nobles, the city’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Committee chair Dave Martin, former mayoral candidate Chris Hollins and former council member and county treasurer Orlando Sanchez.

I’m sorry to hear about the health issues. I wish CM Kubosh all the best with the next phase of his life.

That was all I had intended to say originally. And then I came across this.

The announcement that Houston City Council Member Michael Kubosh is dropping out of the race for Houston City Controller comes two days after KHOU 11 Investigates began asking Kubosh about questionable campaign finance expenses.

Kubosh had pledged to be a “budget watchdog” and “fight for transparency at City Hall and its budget” in his bid for city controller. He dropped out of the race Monday for health reasons, days after KHOU told him it reviewed nearly 1,700 pages of his campaign finance reports and cross-referenced those with social media posts made by Kubosh and his family members.

The analysis reveals thousands of dollars of expenses that appear for personal use, which is not allowed under Texas Ethics Commission rules.

In a February 2022 YouTube post, titled “Mike’s 71st Birthday at Marvino’s Italian Steakhouse,” Kubosh is seen thanking family members for attending his birthday celebration.

“We’re family, don’t ever forget that,” Kubosh said in the video.

His campaign finance report shows a $634.84 “food/beverage expense” at the same steakhouse in the same timeframe.

Another YouTube video in August 2022 is titled “Christopher Kubosh 41st Birthday Celebration” and shows several Kubosh family members singing at a Mexican restaurant.

It too shows up on his campaign finance reports — a $216.50 food and beverage expense in the same timeframe.

There are also several YouTube videos from a June 2022 family vacation in Wyoming in which Michael Kubosh, his wife Glenda and brother Randall Kubosh attended. KHOU discovered corresponding campaign expenses during the same timeframe as that vacation.

They include a $420.64 rental car charge and $168 for airport parking. Both items are labeled as “travel in district.”

“It’s a huge problem,” said Anthony Gutierrez, Executive Director of the non-profit watchdog Common Cause Texas.

“An officeholder may not use campaign contributions for family, entertainment or recreation, period… That is exactly what Mr. Kubosh seems to be doing.”

KHOU shared with Gutierrez a list of 20 questionable campaign expenses and corresponding social media videos. They include other expenses for family meals, and airport parking charges during out-of-state trips. The items span six years of Kubosh’s nine-year city council tenure and total $7,754.76.

“This is purely entertainment and recreation,” Gutierrez said. “And that’s exactly the thing that ethics commission said you can’t do this with your campaign dollars.”

Oops. Well, on the bright side, these ethical issues rarely end up in anything worse than a fairly modest fine. But one can see how this might have cut against the usual “fiscal responsibility” pitches one makes for the office of Controller.

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14 Responses to Kubosh drops out of Controller’s race

  1. Bayard Rustin says:

    Some of us remember his role in the referendum on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance in 2015 including interviews on Fox News.

  2. Kudos to KHOU for reporting on this discovery (however it came to their attention). I suspect other local politicians are now scrubbing their own historical social media posts to make sure they don’t get caught the same way.

  3. A couple of years ago, Commissioner Ellis received some media scrutiny for the same thing (see link below). Maybe Kubosh and Ellis should go to Disney World to compare notes. They can then charge the trip to their campaign funds under “meeting with constituent”. Geez.


  4. Manny says:

    Greg, if it sounds like a Republican and acts like a Republican, I would assume it is a Republican.

    Typical Republican, what aboutism is a Republican trait?

  5. I think they are both guilty, Manny. Neither one excuses or justifies the other, and I never said they did. You assumed “whataboutism” all by yourself, attributed it to me, then got upset about it. I actually thought my Disney World comment was funny. Oh, well.

  6. Manny says:

    “What about Ellis”, at least admit what you did, Greg.

    What about Hunter?

    What about Hillary?

    What about it, Greg?

    Or maybe compare to Alito or Thomas, what about them Greg?

    What about Jarrad? What about Ivanka?

    What about it, Greg?

  7. Go back and read my post, Manny. I never said “what about” anyone. I’m not defending anyone. The only one saying “what about” is you.

  8. Manny says:

    I didn’t actually say, “What About” I wrote;

    “A couple of years ago, Commissioner Ellis received some media scrutiny for the same thing (see link below).”

    Me laughing; what about Ellis, Greg?

    There was a news article on Alito yesterday or today, depending on what you read.

    What about Alito?

  9. Given the topic (misuse of campaign funds), I think my Disney World joke works best with Kubosh and Ellis meeting each other there. The other folks you mentioned don’t fit the topic as well as those two.

  10. C.L. says:

    Both parties have corrupt and sketchy members doing sketchy sh**.. That’s not whataboutism, it’s just a fact.

  11. Manny says:

    Yes, C.L., any other truths you want to spout?

    Ignorance is bliss; I wish for happiness like your’s C.L.

    Alito’s concerns were with trips, Thomas was also concerned about trips (among others), but you also had Roberts and Barrett.

    Fascists’ aboutism is only pointing out the other party, that party being the party of freedom and democracy.

    Gregg, what about Santos?

  12. Yep. I’m not defending any of them. Defending bad behavior doesn’t make your political party stronger, it just enables the bad actors. Fortunately, America has a lot of checks and balances (e.g. the media, local, state, and federal prosecutors, watch dog organizations, voters). Justice can be delayed (Trump, Paxton), but the chickens eventually come home to roost.

  13. J says:

    Yes, for Greg them chickens have come home all right. After a hilarious self-own that no Democrat would ever think of, he claims it was only a joke and he is a victim, another GOP tactic commonly deployed after being called out. Give up, dude, it is obvious you aren’t any kind of a Democrat.

    Michael Kubosh repeated and amplified slanderous lies about trans people and did a
    lot of damage to real people’s lives. In my opinion that puts him in a category of people who do not deserve sympathy.

  14. Hey, Kubosh and Ellis running a campaign fund scam together at Disney World is funny, especially if you visualize it. Hey, you and Manny can interpret things however you want. To each his own. Anyway, if all the moderate Democrats like me just give up, the Democratic Party is doomed. Democrats can’t win elections with just left-wing liberals and progressives like you and Manny. The Democratic Party needs mainstream folks, too. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the inclusive Party, remember?

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