Road Warrior

Texas Motor Speedway needed property to build a road. Someone forgot to tell the landowner.

John Polster, a consultant with Innovative Transportation Solutions Inc., in a letter to Gossage, says that the contractor who built the road purchased most of the fill dirt from Gossage and the speedway. Therefore, Gossage could have ultimately recouped much of the extra funds spent on the road through the money he was paid for the dirt.

Polster would not elaborate on his written comments, but an insider says those at the speedway did not recognize initially that the county committed to pay nothing beyond the original $3.3 million. Gossage says Polster's memo contains many errors, and he denies the allegation about the dirt.

"The original project was $5.6 million or something like that," Gossage says. "Believe me, there is not $1.4 million worth of dirt over there."

Luther "L.J." Lee says he worked for his land and doesn't want to give it away--even for a speedway.
Peter Calvin
Luther "L.J." Lee says he worked for his land and doesn't want to give it away--even for a speedway.

Gossage and company have been good to Denton County officials, giving them free tickets to races and donating to political campaigns. In his letter to Denton County Judge Scott Armey, Gossage says the speedway has been "a big supporter of Denton County." But no matter how much good will the speedway cultivated, officials cannot shuffle their road bond money and legally fork over anything more for this project.

Polster and Gossage both say no one was operating in bad faith as far as Lee is concerned. All of the property owners had a say in the project, and all of them, including Lee, agreed to donate the land (something Lee says is preposterous). Polster says they would not have proceeded with the project if property owners hadn't committed to it.

Lee says he knows his old farm is valuable, and any notion that he would donate parcels is nonsense. He's rejected other come-ons, most recently by the community of Northlake and a natural gas pipeline company. The pipeline proposal was particularly bothersome because they weren't offering him a decent price for what would amount to a detriment to his property, he says.

"I'll tell you the way this giveaway thing is. Northlake wrote me a letter asking me to give them an acre and a half for a new water well. I said, 'Hell no, I'm tired of this giving.' I said, 'Give, give, give. When I worked for it? Nobody gave it to me.'"

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