"Motion carries 3-2. Thank you guys so much,” Judge Lina Hidalgo said after its approval during Tuesday's meeting.
XMi will provide personal security to Hidalgo for at least three months. The contract is for more than $121,000.
“I want to make sure that it’s clear that the firm has the experience required," Hidalgo said. "That, ethically, there are no issues here. ... That it’s cost-effective.”
Judge Hidalgo’s office chose XMi after ending a security agreement with the Precinct 1 Constable’s Office earlier this month.
The Precinct 1 Constable's Office chief of staff unsuccessfully challenged Hidalgo in the March 1 Democratic primary, although no one in Hidalgo's office has said whether that played a role in the decision.
"Why a public company?" Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said about the new security deal. "Why a no-bid contract? Why the urgency?”
Ramsey voted against the contract along with fellow Republican, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle.
XMi is a brand new company that lists its address as a suite in a Spring area shopping center. But it actually appears to be a mailbox inside a shipping store.
"This isn’t about the judge. This isn’t about her security," Ramsey said on Wednesday afternoon. "This is about ... why couldn’t we use constables? Why couldn’t we use Harris County Sheriff’s deputies? We have a lot of options other than a private company with a P.O. Box.”
Hidalgo said the long-term plan is to have personal security handled by the Fire Marshal’s Office, which is run by an appointed official rather than an elected one, in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
In the meantime, XMi’s founder appears to have extensive law enforcement experience, according to his LinkedIn page.
KHOU 11 News reached out via voicemail, text, email and even social media direct message but have yet to hear back.