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Mayor Meltdown

The rise and very quick fall of Corpus Christi’s mayor.

By March 2017Comments

McQueen at Corpus Christi's city hall on December 16, 2016.
Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP

On January 18, after just 37 days in office, Dan McQueen announced his resignation as the mayor of Corpus Christi via Facebook. “The city can no longer deal with such differing views and divisiveness,” he wrote in the social media post. “I step down from my position as Mayor, in order to allow the council and city to regain focus on success. Sorry, they are now into my ex-wives and kids. Nothing good will come from that mess.”

How messy was it? Let’s take a look.

November 8: McQueen defeats incumbent mayor Nelda Martinez 55 percent to 45 percent in a stunning upset.

December 13: McQueen is sworn in as Corpus Christi’s mayor.

December 14: A citywide notice alerts residents to stop using tap water because of possible contamination by a chemical asphalt emulsifier. The alert lasts for four days. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times later writes that throughout the crisis McQueen “was dictatorial and heavy-handed with fellow council members” and “disrespectful of their efforts to meet their obligation to keep constituents informed.”

January 4: McQueen announces on Facebook that he will not attend the State of the City address, at which the mayor usually makes a speech, because he has to attend his daughter’s wedding in Hawaii. The status update attacks the event’s host, the local United Chamber of Commerce, for not checking with him before setting the date for the event. The event is canceled and never rescheduled.

January 16: NBC affiliate KRIS-TV reports that though McQueen has claimed that he has a bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Florida State University, the school apparently has no record of anyone with his name and birthdate earning such a degree. McQueen does not respond to the allegation, but hours after the station asks him about it, he deletes a LinkedIn profile that listed the degree and then weighs in on Facebook: “CORPUS CHRISTI City Council comprised of only High School graduates! But that is not the Story, you should ask WHY? I think the answer is MONEY! Attack the most educated and experience person on the council, FUNNY!” In fact, other members of the council have bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Also on January 16: KRIS reports that McQueen and his chief of staff, Shari Douglas, shared a home address from 2012 up until after McQueen was elected, when Douglas changed her address to a post office box. Though Douglas tells KRIS that she and McQueen are simply “good friends,” McQueen’s former campaign treasurer Cliff Harris and McQueen’s estranged son confirm that the two are romantically involved. Corpus Christi’s employment policy forbids employees from hiring domestic partners without first disclosing their relationship and getting approval from the city manager.

Also on January 16, which happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day: McQueen takes to Facebook and writes, “On a Day of Unity, I find a City of Divisiveness. Dr. King and I both are graduates of Boston University, and I find my-self in a city named, “The Body of Christ” (IRONIC). However, in the past 35 Days, I have been attacked by council as being Sexist, Racist, and continue to fight attacks from Media and the public. I just don’t see the VALUE in this fight for 600 more. I had such HOPE for our city. God Bless Corpus Christi!” McQueen deactivates his Facebook page shortly after that post.

January 17: Douglas announces her resignation as McQueen’s chief of staff.

January 18: KRIS reports that McQueen, who campaigned on his strong business credentials, apparently doesn’t have a particularly impressive business record. According to the station, McQueen was sued in 2007 for breaking a lease in a San Antonio shopping center where he was renting space for a karate school and still owed $25,000 on a lien for the property. In addition, McQueen’s Kickstarter fundraiser for a documentary film he hoped to direct called “Party Hard,” about “drugs, parties, illegal immigrants, and career criminals,” raised exactly $0 of its $7,250 goal.

Also on January 18: McQueen tells local news station KIII-TV, “I don’t like things coming out . . . I’ve got secrets in my head I can’t let out.” Two hours later he tenders his resignation via his reactivated Facebook page.

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  • Finally, a politician I’d like to have a beer with.

    • grassy

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      • Phillip Davis

        Is that Grassy or Gassy!

  • Phillip Davis

    Dan McQuitter dupped quite a few desperate voters (myself included) seeking escape from our long-suffering (I mean serving) Mayor Nelda, queen of the real estate cartel who have long held sway on our local economy. Unfortunately, Dan like Donald, turned out to be a mirage, not a salvation.

  • Stacey

    Have absolutely no idea why my native Texas keeps electing these skanky republicans. Rare to find one worth a flip any more.

  • John Kelley

    As the director of the pac neighborhoods first who led the fight to defeat nelda martinez, a wet rat could have beaten her. A fact the political class ignored to its own discredit.