3 indicted for roles in awarding COVID outreach contract

Apr 11, 2022, 1:41 PM | Updated: 7:32 pm

HOUSTON (AP) — Three people who have worked for the top elected official in Harris County were indicted on Monday after being accused by prosecutors of steering a nearly $11 million contract for COVID-19 vaccine outreach to a political consultant with ties to local Democratic officials.

Alex Triantaphyllis, Aaron Dunn and Wallis Nader were each indicted on one count of misuse of official information and one count of tampering with a record, according to court records.

Triantaphyllis is chief of staff for Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, while Wallis Nader is a policy director and Aaron Dunn is a former senior adviser who recently left Hidalgo’s office. The county is the nation’s third-most populous and home to Houston.

“We look forward to the upcoming court proceedings, which will shine a light on the fact that there has been no wrongdoing here. These charges against my client are unsupported by a full and objective review of the facts and the voluminous evidence in this case. In his service to Harris County, Alex has made the people the top priority and worked to ensure that taxpayer resources are utilized as effectively and efficiently as possible,” Marla Poirot, an attorney for Triantaphyllis, said in a statement.

Ashlee McFarlane, an attorney for Hidalgo, declined to comment until her legal team had a chance to review the indictments.

“Aaron Dunn is innocent. He is an honest and dedicated public servant. He didn’t commit any crime, and I am confident that he will be vindicated,” said Derek Hollingsworth, Dunn’s attorney.

It was not immediately known if Nader was represented by a lawyer.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

Documents detailing the charges were not immediately available. But a search warrant made public last month alleged Triantaphyllis, Dunn and Nader provided non-public information about the vaccine outreach contract to Felicity Pereyra, the founder of Elevate Strategies, giving her an advantage that led to her winning the proposal in June 2021.

The search warrant, first reported by KTRK-TV, was part of a raid of several county offices in which investigators, including the Texas Rangers, seized computers, telephones and other items.

The contract, which was part of the county’s efforts to improve vaccination rates, was canceled in September after criticism about how it was awarded and concerns over whether the firm that won it had sufficient staffing and resources to manage the outreach effort.

Hidalgo had requested that the contract be canceled, saying that while there was nothing improper, it had become too political.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

20 hours ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

22 hours ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

1 day ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

3 days ago

Rudy Giuliani...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani is the final defendant served indictment in Arizona fake elector case

Rudy Giuliani has been served an indictment in Arizona's fake elector case for his role in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

4 days ago

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday...

Associated Press

Some in Houston facing no power for weeks after storms cause widespread damage, killing at least 4

Houston storms cause widespread damage on Friday, May 17. Thunderstorms hit the southeastern part of Texas, killing at least four people.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

3 indicted for roles in awarding COVID outreach contract