District 2 candidate: 3rd-place finisher wanted $15K, Labor Fest to continue for runoff endorsement

Keith Toney endorses Warrick; Shaw says Toney tried to sell him endorsement

SAN ANTONIO – William "Cruz" Shaw, who is challenging Councilman Alan Warrick for his seat, claims the third-place finisher in Saturday's general election, Keith Toney, tried to sell him his endorsement in the runoff.

The nearly 1,400 votes Toney got in the May 6 general election are up for grabs in the runoff. Shaw said when he asked Toney what he needed for his endorsement, Toney said he had $15,000 worth of campaign debt that needed to be cleared and he wanted to make sure Labor Fest stayed on the East Side.

"Like I said, I'm thinking being active on a board, commission, involved in the community or something like that," Shaw said in an interview Wednesday evening. "But his first response was 'I need help clearing my campaign debt for $15,000.'"

"It was just flooring," Shaw said. "It felt like I was being — like a shakedown. I really felt that way. It kind of bothered me."

The accusations come the same day Toney, who was eliminated from the race after Saturday announced his endorsement for Alan Warrick, the sitting District 2 councilman and Shaw's competition.

A Facebook post on Shaw's campaign page, put up just half an hour before Toney announced his support for Shaw, said "Keith Toney tried to sell me his endorsement for $15,000 on Monday." Shaw later said his social media team posted the message — not him — but he approves of it.

In interviews after the post went up, Shaw said that Labor Fest, a now infamous event that tanked in 2016 and left hundreds of concert-goers without refunds, was part of the price. 

RELATED: LaborFest organizer asked city for $150K days before failed event

Toney said he was invited to Shaw's office.

He said he wants to make sure something like Labor Fest continues since community members got things such as health screenings and school supplies through it.

So Toney said he asked if Shaw could commit "to try to keep this thing going."

"It's not what I want for an endorsement, but it is what I hoped he would do," Toney said, saying he posed the same thing to Warrick.

Toney said Larry Williams, Labor Fest's organizer, was a consultant for his campaign, but the request didn not have anything to do with Williams.

Toney said he also brought up concerns about Martin Luther King Park and keeping the Ella Austin Community Center as it is.

He denies asking for any money, saying Shaw's team brought up the question of campaign debt..

"I was asked if I had campaign debt, and I said 'of course I do. Of course I do,' but I didn't ask for any money," Toney said.

Toney says he didn't ask for money from Warrick either.

"No, he did not ask me for any money," Warrick said. "But I said, that would be a great idea after this race is over. I would love to help and throw a fundraiser to help with whatever debt he has."

Warrick said in a series of text messages that Toney had asked for information on the status of Labor Fest, and he, in turn, had asked his staff.

"Everyone in District 2 knows I've supported Labor Fest for years and the entire campaign," Warrick wrote. "This is just a desperate attack by a losing candidate. Mr. Shaw isn't from the Eastside and doesn't understand the huge importance of community events like Labor Fest.

Toney's endorsement comes after his third straight loss to Warrick for the District 2 seat. Toney was appointed to fill Mayor Ivy Taylor's seat on the council in August 2014, but lost to Warrick in an election in December 2014. He also lost to Warrick again in May 2015.

Even on Saturday night, Toney said of Warrick "He has no sense of community. He has no sense of culture, and we need a change."

However, he said Warrick and he have sat down for hours in the past days and he is "thoroughly convinced now that we both get it. I see his perspective better. He sees my perspective better, and I think the community will be better for it."

Warrick collected 40.9 percent of the vote on May 6, and Shaw gathered up 28.7 percent. The runoff election is scheduled for June 10.


Don't miss a thing. Get email alerts from KSAT 12 today.
Get alerted to news events as they happen or sign up for a scheduled news headline email that is delivered right to your inbox. Breaking news, severe weather, daily forecasts, entertainment news, all of the day’s important events to keep you up to date wherever you are.

Sign up today. It's Free.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.