By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Simpson's shiny white Ford Explorer, license plate number WSL-76F, is in the parking lot. The smiling receptionist inside Suite 109 says she's pretty sure Simpson is in, behind a closed wooden door inside this cramped suite.
"Is he expecting you?" the woman asks. She casts a suspicious glance at the unexpected visitor, then disappears behind the wooden door. Hushed conversation can be heard. The woman soon reappears, shaking her head.
She must have been mistaken, she says. Simpson really isn't here after all. "That's one of his office helpers," she says, explaining who she was talking to inside Simpson's office. "Can I take a message?"
Bill Simpson, it seems, is hiding.
William Raymond Simpson, born on February 11, 1963, doesn't want anyone--especially a reporter--in his office.
William Raymond Simpson, who resides at 4630 Travis Street #410 and votes regularly, doesn't want anyone to know where his office is located.
William Raymond Simpson, who holds Social Security number 465/17/0579 and is five foot ten, about 185 pounds, has brown eyes, thinning black hair, has never been married, and prefers a lime in his water, doesn't want anyone to know anything about him at all.
That, apparently, is why he began hiding from a reporter who wanted to ask him questions about things like his background, the inconsistencies on his resume, and his drunk driving conviction.
But many people in Dallas certainly know of Bill Simpson. They've seen him on the news or read about him in the paper. He's the guy who videotapes the license plate numbers of cars parked at the strip clubs clustered along Northwest Highway.
He's the guy who uses drivers license records, which are public information, to trace the plate numbers back to the cars' owners. He then finds out where the car owners live and sends a letter to their homes, snitching them out for having visited a Sexually Oriented Business, or SOB, as Simpson calls them.
When he isn't busy trying to instill paranoia among topless bar patrons, Simpson can be found fomenting a public stink about school-age children getting condoms, fighting the distribution of adult newspapers, or denouncing gays and lesbians who want to get married, kiss in public, or engage in other "perverted" behavior.
Other days, Simpson spends his time poring over voter registration lists or searching criminal and civil court records for skeletons in the closets of his enemies. The tenacious tipster then burns up his phone and fax lines, sending the fruits of his labor to reporters.
A one-man public relations machine, Simpson is surprisingly successful. Last month alone, his boyish mug flashed on the television news at least twice in one week, and his name continues to appear in the pages of local newspapers.
Like those mysterious lights that appeared over Arizona a while back, Simpson burst onto the Dallas political scene two years ago from out of nowhere, and made himself the talk of the town.
He did it by creating the North Texas Leadership Council in 1995, and using it to force his way into the public arena. The council, he says, is designed to unite local conservative leaders behind political causes. Since founding NTLC, Simpson has woven an intricate web of political and media contacts, who arrive by the dozens for Simpson's monthly community meetings.
Today, Simpson describes himself as a surrogate father of Big D. He's a self-styled civic crusader who has appointed himself guardian of the city's morals.
Simpson's supporters, who include Dallas city council members, county commissioners, school board members, and a growing number of neighborhood activists, praise him. They say he is a pleasant and honest man who is endowed with an unlimited supply of energy.
But the public knows little if anything about Simpson, personally. And while Simpson will search every computer database and public record he can find looking for dirt on other people, he grows strangely silent when the questions are aimed at him. His private life, his family, his income, his hobbies, are none of anybody's business. That information, he says, is not relevant.
So just who is William Raymond Simpson, who holds Texas drivers license number 09427655 and can be reached at (214) 341-0900? The answer to that question is simple.
Bill Simpson is nobody.
But he's trying very hard to convince you otherwise.
Bill Simpson has one truly unique talent, and it provides a small glimpse into why he's been so successful establishing himself as the city's most visible gadfly. Simpson can remember the telephone numbers of his friends and neighbors dating back to the third grade.
Without the slightest need to rack his memory, Simpson begins rattling off names and corresponding numbers during a recent lunch at the Ali Baba Cafe on lower Greenville Avenue. A man who lives by the telephone, Simpson can also recite the phone numbers of his political allies--the closest of whom populate the far right wing of the local Republican party.
On this Tuesday afternoon, Simpson is particularly excited. The day before, he went to a Wolf Camera & Video store and found a camera that has a lens powerful enough to zoom in on a car's license plate from across the street.
The find was almost as exciting as Simpson's discovery that Mapsco stores sell a computer disc that lists all the people in Dallas County who have been arrested. And it only costs $49.95.
"I love arrests," he says.
Not one to pass up a chance to gossip with a reporter, Simpson was more than eager to get together over lunch. Of course, this was before he realized that the story was going to focus on him rather than his political agenda.
In early 1995, Simpson says, he began "evaluating" the city of Dallas. He concluded that the city's leaders had lost sight of "basic mainstream American concerns" and that someone had to put the city back on the right course.
"It seemed as though the only people involved in government at the local level all had some type of vested interest in the outcome of a situation and were unable to act objectively for what was just in the best interest of the community," Simpson says.
Greed. Damn greed. According to Simpson, today's politicians are too self-serving and can be bought and sold like whores. Long gone, he thinks, are the old days when a "benevolent oligarchy" of the city's most powerful men efficiently ruled Big D though the Dallas Citizens Council and, more recently, the Dallas Breakfast Group.
Not that everything back then was rosy, Simpson says, but when the R. L. Thorntons and John Stemmonses of the city snapped their fingers, buildings got built and roads got paved. Nowadays, he says, the roads are crumbling, the public schools are in disarray, police don't respond to crimes fast enough, and government agencies are inefficient.
A man of means, Simpson began picking up the phone some two years ago and cold-calling conservative political insiders to see if they'd be interested in creating a forum--a new Citizens Council, of sorts, with Simpson in charge.
That is how the North Texas Leadership Council--with Simpson at the helm--was launched. Two years later, the "council" still consists primarily of Simpson, working out of his tiny office, supporting himself with donations, and faxing tidbits of political intrigue to the 200 or so people on his mailing list.
Simpson says that when he created the NTLC, he borrowed heavily from the Washington-based Leadership Institute, an organization that recruits conservatives and trains them in the public policy process.
The institute offers classes in broadcast journalism, public relations, and Capitol Hill training, according to information posted on its website. When the institute hosts its annual convention this November, the featured speakers will include Oliver North, Steve Forbes, and Phyllis Schlafly.
Simpson's NTLC is a virtual carbon copy, as described by Dallas County Commissioner Jim Jackson, an early Simpson convert.
"The original idea for the North Texas Leadership Council was that it would furnish a place for leaders of different conservative groups to come together and act as kind of a coordinating board," Jackson says. "I don't know if that's what I'd call it today. It's grown more into a think tank."
With Jackson on board, Simpson quickly found a home at the right end of the political spectrum. Soon, he counted folks like former Dallas City Councilman Jerry Bartos and even Vance Miller, the son of real estate magnate Henry S. Miller, among his supporters.
Miller says he's known Simpson for about three years and is convinced that he is a man of integrity. "He does very, very solid work," Miller says. "It's a pleasure working with him."
Like Miller, Bartos says he was attracted to Simpson's personality, and he recalls helping Simpson figure out an appropriate title for his new group.
"I had a lot of input on their name," says Bartos, who thinks he's still on the organization's board of directors. "They were talking about naming it to the Metroplex. I said nowadays, everything is regional."
So, North Texas was combined with Leadership and Council. Just like that, Simpson's baby was born: The North Texas Leadership Council. The name sounds big. It sounds important. And Simpson has the public relations skills to back it up.
In the spirit of the Dallas Breakfast Group, which still counts the city's most powerful CEOs among its membership, Simpson began sponsoring his own monthly breakfast meetings in 1995. The meetings usually take place on Thursdays inside the S&S Tea Room in the Inwood Village Shopping Center.
Simpson says he has invited speakers from the Leadership Institute to some meetings, while others afforded local candidates a chance to present their political platforms and discuss local issues.
Although conservatives like Jackson and Bartos constituted the NTLC's early get-togethers, Simpson's networking skills have attracted attendees from across the political spectrum. Nowadays, Simpson has no problem attracting crowds of 50 to 60 people.
Dallas Councilwoman Donna Blumer is a big fan of the meetings--and of Simpson.
"The way I met him, he just called from out of the blue. Oh golly, it's been a couple of years ago," Blumer says. "He was making random phone calls, and he invited me to a meeting he was having."
Blumer didn't go to that meeting, but she says Simpson followed up on his invitation with a haughty phone call.
"He just acted as if I didn't have my priorities straight," she says. "I attended his next meeting, and I thought, 'Well here's a young man who may make a difference, and I will stick with him through thick and thin.'"
To show her support, Blumer says, she has given Simpson money. Blumer says the donations came out of her campaign funds and were in excess of $50, but she cannot remember exactly how much.
Blumer is one of a number of people who are giving Simpson money, which is evidently his only source of income. But Simpson will not say how much money he has received or provide a list of his contributors. He also refuses to release a copy of the NTLC's board members.
Simpson says he is in the process of obtaining 501(c)3 status, thereby officially making the NTLC a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization that's square with the Internal Revenue Service. But he won't answer specific questions about the process, saying that an office helper is tackling that project and he doesn't know what stage it's at.
The only thing Simpson will say is that he isn't making much money being the NTLC's executive director. In fact, he says he's broke.
"I've actually spent my life's savings developing the concept and have foregone any reasonable expectation of [earning] a livable salary," he says.
Still, Simpson has managed to purchase a 1997 Ford Explorer. It is unclear whether he rents or owns his home at 4630 Travis Street #410, an attractive condominium complex that's protected by an electronic gate and located just outside the southeastern edge of Highland Park.
Although Simpson romanticizes about the Citizens Council--and his breakfast meetings sure sound like a pauper's version of the Dallas Breakfast Club--Simpson pauses when asked if his goal is to have the NTLC--and therefore himself--become today's version of yesterday's power.
"I'll have to get back to you on that," he says.
Simpson never answered the question.
If Simpson really hopes to become a modern-day John Stemmons, he is neglecting one tiny detail. Big D's beloved fathers had power because they had money.
Bill Simpson, as far as anyone knows, has never even had a real job to speak of.
There are several pictures of William Raymond Simpson in the 1981 Temple High School yearbook. There's Simpson dressed up with a goofy headband in New Wave vogue. There are club photos, in which Simpson's face is barely distinguishable amid the tiered rows of kids who were members of the Future Farmers of America and Industrial Arts clubs.
But the most telling picture is in the back of the book, in a section containing snapshots from the year's graduation ceremony.
A smiling Simpson is captured leaning back on one foot as if the photographer snapped the picture just before Simpson jumped into the air and shouted "woooo hooo." Simpson is clutching his tassel in one hand and a wad of bills in the other. The cutline reads: "William Simpson appears overjoyed from the money he received from relatives for graduation."
Receiving money from relatives--and others--is something that Simpson is apparently still good at. Otherwise, it's hard to discern how he's been supporting himself since he left college.
If you ask Simpson about his educational credentials, he'll tell you that he graduated from Baylor University in Waco. That is true, according to Baylor officials. In the fall of 1983, Simpson enrolled at the Southern Baptist university, and he graduated four years later with a bachelor's degree in business administration. His major was finance.
But Simpson won't say that he spent several semesters taking basic courses at Temple Junior College before he went to Baylor. That's why it took Simpson a little bit longer after high school to obtain his four-year degree than he'll admit.
After Baylor, Simpson says, he considered moving to New York and working on Wall Street, but he decided the city was too big to "call home." Instead, Simpson says he moved to Dallas and began a career in finance and real estate.
Simpson won't reveal the names of his previous employers, but an old copy of Simpson's resume obtained by the Dallas Observer certainly looks impressive.
Under civic activities, Simpson stated that he was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and the Vice Chairman of the Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee, among other volunteer activities.
The employment section gets better.
Simpson stated that from August 1988 through October 1990, he was an assistant vice president at Southmark Corporation--the massive real estate company that is now in the final stages of bankruptcy.
While at Southmark, Simpson claimed, he in part "closed over $150 million in new mortgage financing," "managed department financial analyst staff," "managed department computer hardware and software systems," and "formed a wholly-owned Mortgage Banking subsidiary."
After Southmark, Simpson claimed, he worked in the commercial lending division at Globe Mortgage Company for 10 months. Then, in August 1991, he became the president of SolTec Corporation, where he made employment decisions, developed a regional advertising program, developed a national vendor network, and even negotiated the lease.
Simpson's supposed business background was impressive enough to convince former Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett to appoint Simpson to the board of the former Private Industry Council in 1993. The PIC board has since been renamed the Dallas County Local Workforce Development Board, which in part provides employment training for unemployed and displaced workers.
Board president Laurie Bouillion Larrea says all board members are required to list their employers with the board, and she provided the Observer with a copy of the resume that Simpson gave the old PIC board in 1993.
Bartlett could not be reached for comment, but his assistant, Becky Campoverde, says Simpson called Bartlett out of the blue and volunteered to serve on the PIC board. Getting people to accept volunteer positions on the board was a "hard sell," Campoverde says, so when Simpson stepped up and asked to be appointed, the mayor was receptive.
Bartlett met with Simpson, and Campoverde says the mayor was impressed by Simpson's resume and his personality.
"He was impressed that Mr. Simpson had good ideas for employment and training," Campoverde says. "As far as Mr. Bartlett could tell, Mr. Simpson did a very good job on the PIC board."
Simpson may have done a good job on the PIC board, but it appears that he artfully crafted the resume he provided to the board. If Simpson's resume were a car, it would look like one of those ghetto Escorts, an economy job tricked out with gold rims, fat tires, and thundering speakers.
At the top of the resume, where Simpson listed his BBA from Baylor, he made no mention of his time at Temple Junior College. He did claim that he had studied investment management at the "graduate level" at Baylor.
It's possible that Simpson may have taken a graduate level course or two, but it's doubtful his post-graduate studies were much to boast about. Simpson received his undergraduate degree on May 16, 1986, and by December of that year he was already living in Dallas, according to Bell County Court records.
On December 26, 1986, Simpson was caught driving drunk in Temple. He told police that he lived at 8610 Southwestern Boulevard, unit 806, in Dallas.
In that case (number 87-76460 in Bell County), Simpson was put on two years' probation and fined $400 plus court costs. Simpson's only other known run-in with the law also occurred in Temple. On April 12, 1981, the high school senior spent the night in jail after he was arrested for public intoxication. Simpson paid a $35.50 fine, according to Bell County case number JA0018845.
The local chapter of the Boy Scouts of America confirms that Simpson is an assistant scoutmaster of Troop 72. But Simpson's claim that he was the "Vice Chairman" of a "Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee" from September 1981 through July 1983 appears to be a bit exaggerated, according to Temple city secretary Clydette Entzminger. Simpson was appointed to a one-time community development advisory committee, which spearheaded the construction of a neighborhood center, but Entzminger says she doubts Simpson was the board's vice chairman.
"There was no indication of any officers appointed," says Entzminger, who adds that the committee met only for a brief period of time. "There may have been some other activities, but they don't appear to extend beyond the '81-'82 time period."
Simpson's employment record is equally foggy.
The people answering the phones at what's left of Southmark Corporation say they have destroyed all of their personnel files from before 1992 and they can't confirm whether Simpson was ever employed there. But Simpson could not have been an "Assistant Vice President" because the company didn't have such a position, says spokeswoman Sherry Winchester.
"That just wasn't a position that was available. I would even question that title," Winchester says.
The dozen grandiose jobs that Simpson claimed he completed at Southmark sounded equally suspicious to Winchester, who says that the company did not have a "financial analyst staff" and that she knew the person who managed the company's computers, and he wasn't Bill Simpson.
When asked about the Southmark position, Simpson insisted that the company had assistant vice presidents, but that his title may have been changed to vice president by the end of his employment there.
Officials at Globe Mortgage Company couldn't be reached for comment about Simpson's claim of having worked there.
Texas Secretary of State records show that a company named SolTec had its incorporation status forfeited in February 1996 because company officials failed to pay their taxes. Dallas attorney Kenneth Niesman, who is listed as SolTec's registered agent, did not return the Observer's phone calls.
While Bill Simpson says he has depleted his "life's savings" on the NTLC, one of his former associates speculates privately that Simpson's real source of money is a family trust. But it's hard to tell, given Simpson's unwillingness to discuss his family at any length.
Simpson says he has two sisters and a brother; his dad died when he was young, and his mom died of cancer in 1989.
"I'm basically an orphan," he says, declining to name any of his siblings or provide information about their whereabouts. "I don't see how that would be relevant."
The only thing Simpson will say about his family is that he's really proud of his mom, who in 19 years never missed a day's work at her job at a Temple department store. Not even when she had a broken foot.
Simpson's description of his mom's work ethic and the nature of her death checks out with Pam, an employee at Beall's department store in Temple. Pam says she worked with Mary Simpson for 10 years, and describes her as a very private person who was committed to her family.
"Her children were her life," Pam says. "As far as I know, she never missed a day of work until she got sick. In February , around Valentine's Day, she drove herself to the hospital, and she didn't come back."
As Simpson well knows, in this age of high-tech computer databases that can track down just about anybody on the planet, the best defense against snoopers is having a bland name like Bill Simpson. There are a million Bill Simpsons, and tracking down one of them is like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack.
But, as Simpson also knows, it's pretty hard to hide court records. In the case of Darden A. McGlothlin vs. William R. Simpson, Dallas County civil case number 91-3384, Simpson provides quite a different picture of his life after college than the one he painted on his resume.
In that case, McGlothlin sued Simpson, saying Simpson owed $113,514 on two promissory notes that he signed in 1987. In his counter claim, Simpson admitted that he signed the notes, but argued that McGlothlin duped him into buying a house he couldn't afford.
When reached by telephone, McGlothlin declined to comment on the case or on Simpson. "I've had several people call me about him, and I'm real reluctant to be quoted," he says. "It wasn't a happy relationship."
In a six-page, signed affidavit included in the lawsuit, Simpson stated that he met McGlothlin shortly after he moved to Dallas in 1986. At the time, Simpson said he was a naive 23-year-old who foolishly trusted the 42-year-old McGlothlin and became a "partner" in his construction business.
"At the behest of McGlothlin, I placed my trust and confidence in McGlothlin," Simpson wrote. "We participated as partners in four (4) projects. I shared in the profits of three of those. In the fourth, McGlothlin refused to share the profits with me."
That last project was a house located at 5222 Vickery that McGlothlin was hoping to sell. Simpson told the court that McGlothlin promised him he could live in the house for free if he showed it to potential buyers on the weekends.
Later, Simpson continued, McGlothlin said he could live in the house for $700 a month, which was the same amount of rent Simpson was paying for his apartment in the infamous swinging singles complex known as the Village.
Simpson says he terminated his lease and moved into the Vickery house in October 1987. Later, he says, McGlothlin convinced him to sign the two promissory notes: McGlothlin promised that the notes were just a ploy to get the property off of his financial statement and that Simpson wouldn't really be held legally responsible for them.
In the spring of 1989, when Simpson was supposedly closing multimillion-dollar deals at Southmark, he broke ties with McGlothlin and moved out of the house. McGlothlin sued in 1991, and the two parties later settled the case privately.
When Simpson left the PIC board in April 1996, Larrea says, he listed a Dallas-based construction company called Phoenix Commercial, Inc. as his last employer.
When Phoenix president Myron Gee returned a message about Simpson recently, his first question is one that many people in Dallas would like to have answered.
"How's he making money these days?" asks Gee, who adds, "I wouldn't think he's making any."
Gee says he hired Simpson to do marketing work for his company on a freelance basis because Simpson seemed to be well connected. As part of the deal, Simpson was supposed to use his contacts to find out when new businesses were coming to town and then send them to Gee for construction work. Simpson would get a percentage of each contract he landed for the company.
Gee recalls that Simpson was a single guy who went to church a lot and was a member of many groups, but that he never brought the company any business, and that he quickly left the company.
"He tried hard. He tried to use all the knowledge he had to win us some business," Gee says. "He might have won some small jobs, but nothing major. I don't know that I paid him."
Bill Simpson certainly looked like a man in charge as he stood outside Baby Doll's topless bar along Northwest Highway on Wednesday, July 23.
Simpson had called a press conference to announce the next phase of his battle against SOBs. He timed the event perfectly for the 6 o'clock news.
On this sweltering afternoon, a tiny drop of sweat hung from the tip of Simpson's nose as he stared into a cluster of television cameras.
"My name is Bill Simpson," said Simpson, who was surrounded by a group of his supporters. Dallas City Council members Larry Duncan, Donna Blumer, and newcomer John Loza were present. So were DISD board members Roxan Staff and John Dodd. A handful of neighborhood activists were also faithfully on hand.
Simpson announced that the group was there to demand that the purveyors of filth be shut down. He said that his group was challenging the licenses of three businesses, using a new city ordinance that was pushed through the Dallas City Council in May. Simpson kept his comments short and, like a public relations pro, quickly let the elected officials assume the spotlight.
One by one, the politicians declared their support for the neighborhood and symbolically took turns pounding a sign into the ground outside the club announcing that the group had filed a formal appeal against its license with the city's zoning board.
That night, Simpson's press conference led the 6 o'clock news on Channel 5--beating out a story about former Dallas City Councilman Paul Fielding's inexplicable attempt to take back his guilty plea on federal corruption charges.
Publicity-wise, June and July were good months for Simpson. In that time, he convinced The Dallas Morning News to publish a story questioning Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk's international goodwill trips, and another story about the availability of condoms in the Dallas Independent School District.
Television viewers also saw Simpson roundly condemning pornography while holding a copy of the Metroplex SunDown, an adult newspaper that Simpson claims is too readily available to minors. Simpson went on TV to announce that he was filing a complaint against the newspaper.
Simpson's name also popped up often last year in the Christian press in connection with his attempts to stop gay and lesbian marriages from taking place at the State Fair of Texas.
Now, Simpson says he is preparing to file a lawsuit challenging the way the city's district lines are drawn, and he is developing a way to grade local judges for their "empirical effectiveness."
All in all, Simpson is working pretty hard to grace Dallas with his vision of the leadership the city needs.
"We're not in the business of going out on international goodwill junkets. We're not in the business of building downtown arenas. When I say 'we,' it's the city," Simpson says. "They [city leaders] are more concerned about building a sports arena where they can entertain their corporate connections. The city has been destroyed because of their inaction."
Simpson is trying his best to create an image of himself as an all-around civic do-gooder. But the self-described city father seems more interested in creating issues and generating publicity for himself by condemning other people's lifestyles.
So far, his plan appears to be working.
In June, Simpson invited a handful of city and county officials to one of his increasingly popular monthly meetings. The main item on the agenda was a discussion about the birth control policy at the Youth and Family Centers, which are jointly run by the Dallas Independent School District and Parkland Hospital.
Dallas City Council member John Loza, Dallas County Judge Lee Jackson, and Dallas Hospital District board member Pat Cotton were in attendance. So, too, were staff members from the offices of U.S. Representatives Dick Armey and Pete Sessions. The News was also there and duly published a story about the meeting the next day under a headline that read "Group wants birth-control policy changed."
The clinics, which are located on public school campuses, provide basic health care to children whose parents don't have health coverage. The clinics also provide birth control and treat students with sexually transmitted diseases. A child cannot receive any treatment unless his or her parents sign consent forms.
Simpson, who believes that birth control increases teen pregnancy rates and spreads STDs, wants to change the consent form and require doctors to notify parents by mail or phone whenever their kids ask for a condom or contract an STD.
Dr. Sam Ross, who oversees the clinics for Parkland, says the hospital is considering changing the consent forms so that parents have to initial each type of service listed, rather than giving one signature. Parkland is willing to make the change, Ross says, even though he hadn't received any complaints about the program until Simpson made an issue of it.
"To this point, we have not been able to identify that these concerns are coming from the parents of the children that utilize our services," Ross says.
Last fall, Simpson aggressively fought the "A Commitment to Love" event, where gays and lesbians exchanged vows inside the Hall of State during the State Fair. Simpson says he was offended that children had to witness the "perverted" behavior on display during the state fair.
"They saw men walking around with shirts on that said, 'I'm not queer, but my boyfriend is,'" Simpson says. "They were exposed to public, graphic displays of affection: kissing, groping, fondling--all done through the clothes, which I would not support heterosexuals doing either."
Simpson believes gays and lesbians are not entitled to civil rights because their sexual behavior is a voluntary act that's morally wrong. Therefore, he argues, they shouldn't be allowed to rent a public building like the Hall of State.
"To compare voluntary behavior with involuntary behavior, such as race or gender, is preposterous," Simpson says. "I don't measure homosexuality any differently than I do adultery [and] other sexual sins that would be out there."
But the issue that is really making news is Simpson's decision to videotape cars parked outside the topless bars along Northwest Highway in the city's Bachman Lake neighborhood. Since he announced the practice in June, Simpson says, he has sent out about 70 letters of notification.
The strip clubs have been a thorn in neighborhood residents' sides for years. Although Simpson has only recently adopted the cause, he has quickly established himself as a leader on the issue with his ability to generate news and unite residents and politicians.
One resident who has been fighting the SOBs for years is Deacon Larry Lucido, who ministers at St. Monica's Catholic Church and met Simpson about a year and a half ago. Lucido has nothing but praise for Simpson.
"He's a leader, no doubt about it," says Lucido, who describes Simpson as a clearinghouse for information. "His approach is to involve the citizenry and, in turn, they approach the city leaders. From that standpoint, he is filling a leadership role."
In May, residents finally convinced the Dallas City Council to pass a revised city ordinance that, in part, prohibits topless bars from being located within 1,000 feet of each other or homes, schools, or parks.
The next month, Simpson capitalized on the news of the ordinance by announcing his videotaping program, a move that immediately generated headlines. The practice is also beginning to generate headaches for the Dallas Police Department, which was forced to respond to complaints that Simpson is trespassing on private property and harassing club patrons.
On July 3, police issued Simpson and 62-year-old Mel McCoy, who lives at 5826 Chapelwood Way in Dallas, a warning not to trespass on private property after they got involved in a scuffle outside of Baby Doll's.
Simpson admits there was an incident on July 3, but the man who loves reading about other people's arrests discouraged a reporter from asking the police about the incident, claiming his name won't appear on any report.
But Simpson and McCoy's names are listed as suspects on Dallas police report number 0561631-F, which summarized the incident.
"The suspects were walking up and down the sidewalk using a video camera to film vehicles in the parking lot," states the report. Baby Doll's manager Nyle Brasch and Simpson accused each other of assault, but no arrests were made.
William Raymond Simpson never did come out of his closet-like office on that steamy July afternoon.
Even before the unannounced visit, Simpson had evaded a reporter's repeated requests to meet at his office. He's not hiding anything, he says, it's just that he doesn't want a nosy reporter poking around in the privacy of the NTLC sanctum.
"I wouldn't allow any media to sit in my office for an extended period of time, because I never know what phone calls are coming in," Simpson says, his other telephone line ringing constantly in the background.
Simpson puts the call on hold and retrieves the other caller, whomever it may be. Upon his return, Simpson says he's got to go. As usual, his gabbing is about to make him late for a lunch meeting, he says, his voice sounding increasingly distant.
After the unexpected visit, Simpson turned suspicious. Two days before this article was published, he called the Observer to inquire about the angle of the story, about which he was growing increasingly concerned.
"I really felt that the tone of the article was going negative," says Simpson, who had somehow learned that the newspaper had pulled his voter registration record.
When asked to comment on the discrepancies in his resume, Simpson remained vague. He's got phone numbers for references, he says, but they're back in his office.
"I'm not at the office today," he says, sniffing. "My allergies are killing me."
Simpson then abruptly cuts off the discussion. He's got another phone call, he says, and he's got to go.
While Simpson continues to be able to rally politicians around hot-button causes that make good sound bites, some people--even his admirers--are beginning to wonder about his tactics.
Dallas County Commissioner Jackson says he's worried that Simpson's methods are causing his friend more harm than good.
"He acts on his beliefs and his convictions, sometimes to the point where it's probably not good for him personally," Jackson says. "I probably wouldn't stand out there doing the things he's doing. I appreciate him for what he does. Will it do any good? I don't know."
One high-ranking Republican leader says privately that Simpson's rapid rise to the top of local political circles is mysterious and increasingly troublesome.
"He's on kind of a little bit of a power kick and a publicity kick," says the leader, who adds that Simpson's extreme views and desire for attention will prevent him from forming the powerful coalition he had envisioned for the NTLC.
"I don't think he's a coalition builder. I think he just represents one end of the party," the leader says. "Obviously he likes publicity. I think he will be a player, but I don't think he will be a dominant player. But he'll be out there."
Dallasites can be sure that Simpson will continue to appear on television and in the morning paper for months to come. And the political Rambo will continue to burn up the phone lines of reporters and political insiders with hot tips and juicy scoops.
One person who gets calls from Simpson is Harry Tanner, the executive director of the Dallas Breakfast Group and point man for the city's most influential CEOs.
Simpson is not a member of the Breakfast Group, and he probably won't be getting an invitation to sit at their table anytime soon. When asked if he thinks Simpson qualifies as a city father, Tanner breaks out in a deep, raspy laugh.
"It's pretty hard to do at his age," Tanner says. "Let me put it this way: If you know where I come from, and you know we haven't worked together on any projects, make your own conclusions.