Houston CVB Chief Takes Leave After Drinking Incident

Houston -- Jordy Tollett, chief executive of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, was granted a leave of absence yesterday after a local television news program accused him of drinking heavily during lunch and then driving.

In a statement issued yesterday, bureau board chairman Doug Horn said the board executive committee granted Tollett an indefinite leave "to address some personal issues that are taking place in his life at the moment.

"This will give him an opportunity to recharge his batteries, and during that time we can rely upon the strong staff he has assembled," Horn said, adding, "Many of his friends within the industry, meeting planners, association executives as well as his staff have voiced their support."

Television station KPRC reported that Tollett was served four drinks at a bar mid-day within an hour and five drinks during a nearly two-hour lunch on another day. On both occasions, Tollett then drove back to work, according to the report, which was broadcast Monday. The report contained undercover video of Tollett drinking at the bars.

When confronted with the allegations, Tollett claimed the drinks were Diet Cokes, although he acknowledged that he has drunk alcohol during the day.

It is not clear how long Tollett will be on leave or whether he will return to the bureau. He has accumulated 60 days of vacation time.

Tollett has headed the bureau since 1997. His current five-year employment contract expires in February.