Recycling company claims Mayor Turner backed out of deal, costing Houston millions

HOUSTON - George Gitschel thought his company, Ecohub, was on the right path to building a revolutionary recycling facility in Houston.

"My vision was to establish this as the Johnson Space Center of the environmental industry," said Gitschel.

That dream was dashed when Mayor Sylvester Turner announced last week he'd selected Spanish firm FCC Environmental to handle the city's recycling.

Gitschel had originally started working on a one bin solution, which would have residents use one receptacle for trash, recycling and yard clippings, with former Mayor Annise Parker. As part of it, the company would build an $800 million dollar recycling facility in northeast Houston.

Gitschel claims talks of a contract had continued during the first 10 months of Mayor Turner's term, but when Mayor Turner opened up a proposal process for companies looking to handle the city's recycling, Glitschel was shocked.

"It's really upsetting to me to come here and provide this great idea and then get totally smoked by the city," Glitschel said.

Ecohub didn't submit a bid, because Glitschel felt the proposal rules would have automatically disqualified his company. He claims his plan would have saved the city $25-40 million dollars.

In response, Mayor Turner said he was never a proponent of a one bin program and that nothing prohibited Ecohub from bidding.

"They had every right to submit a bid like five other companies did," Turner said. "They chose not to."

Mayor Turner is planning to submit the 20-year deal with FCC Environmental to city Council on July 19.