A series of FBI raids in South Texas has put a former University of Texas System regent’s name in the news.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed that agents visited the offices of Dannenbaum Engineering Corp. in Laredo and San Antonio on Tuesday, along with city of Laredo and Webb county offices, according to a report in the Laredo Morning Times. The FBI’s Michelle Lee said there were no arrests, but she declined to provide additional details of the investigation. Dannenbaum Engineering has received contracts involving a highway extension and a water line in recent years.
Joel M. Androphy, of Berg & Androphy, counsel for Dannenbaum Engineering, released the following the statement Wednesday:
“Dannenbaum Engineering, one of the state’s premier firms for infrastructure planning and design, is cooperating with federal authorities regarding government requests for information. Company management is investigating the basis of the government requests. We are uncertain whether the inquiry is focused on the company’s activities or those of its business competitors. We intend to comment further when appropriate.”
James Dannenbaum earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from UT-Austin and rose to become president and CEO of Dannenbaum Engineering, which was founded by his father. After then-Gov. Rick Perry appointed Dannenbaum to the UT System Board of Regents in 2007, it was no surprise that the new regent quickly applied his engineering chops to the position, asking insightful and, sometimes, highly detailed questions about campus construction projects and other engineering-related matters.
When the UT board became divided over various controversies involving the Austin flagship and its president at the time, Bill Powers, Dannenbaum often sided with the regents supporting Powers. For example, Dannenbaum was on the losing side when regents voted to hire outside experts to review the UT School of Law’s use of donated money — a vote that was later undone when the regents, under legislative pressure, decided to have the state attorney general’s office investigate.
Dannenbaum’s six-year term on the UT board included stints as a vice chairman of the board, chairman of its Technology Transfer and Research Committee and member of the Board for Lease of University Lands. His UT board service ended in February 2013. He currently serves on the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center’s Board of Visitors and on the UT Health Science Center at Houston’s Development Board.