They met on an airplane in the spring of 2011 – the CEO of an Austin technology company and a Texas state official who found themselves seated next to each other and began talking about movies, and then work.
Irene Williams, the CEO of a small firm called 21CT, and Stanley Stewart, then the Texas health commission’s deputy chief of staff, exchanged business cards and agreed to meet again.
Over the next year, they would trade more than 150 emails and meet socially for coffees, lunches, dinners and a viewing of the film “Bridesmaids.” Their shared interests in movies was a recurring topic.
Eventually, according to the emails, the new friends also would discuss how Stewart could use his influence to help get the health commission interested in hiring 21CT – an effort that he now acknowledges helped lead to one of the state’s most controversial no-bid contracts in recent years.
Source: ‘Friendly acquaintance’ opened door for firm in state contracting scandal HOUSTON CHRONICLE