Clueless

For city Councilman Al Lipscomb, taking handouts from power brokers has become a way of life. Is there a problem?

"Oooh, Lord, come to think of it, I've got an appointment with Mr. Erle Nye on Tuesday," Lipscomb says, referring to the president of Texas Utilities, which had been doing a nice little business with Lipscomb Industries until last July when Lipscomb and Hoffman stopped paying the supplier who was making the antifreeze that TU was buying.

Lipscomb was planning to explain to Nye how he'd been duped by his partner--taken advantage of, robbed blind. And then, Lipscomb hoped, Nye would be more than happy to come back as a customer.

"But that's just the beginning," Lipscomb tells me, his mobile phone crackling with static as the councilman pulls up to some downtown party he'd been invited to. "We're going to call everybody. You'll see.

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