Would SMU inform then-President Bush that people were still living at one of the potential locations for his library? SMU's attorney Leon Bennett would later say in a deposition that the school planned to tell George and Laura Bush "the opportunity to acquire those properties was just that, the opportunity to acquire it. And there was no reason to believe that the property was totally unavailable under any circumstances."

----

SMU buying its first units at University Gardens by April 1999, within weeks of Bush's announcement that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for president, seems at best coincidental, unless viewed through the prism of some of the former condominium residents.

The empty site in front of the SMU campus is where the University Gardens Condominiums sat for nearly 40 years until being demolished to make room for the 25-acre George W. Bush Presidential Center.
Mark Graham
The empty site in front of the SMU campus is where the University Gardens Condominiums sat for nearly 40 years until being demolished to make room for the 25-acre George W. Bush Presidential Center.
On its Web site, the George W. Bush Foundation, whose primary purpose is the development of the Bush library, posted this 2008 site plan of the future home of the library campus, which included the land upon which University Gardens once stood.
Mark Graham
On its Web site, the George W. Bush Foundation, whose primary purpose is the development of the Bush library, posted this 2008 site plan of the future home of the library campus, which included the land upon which University Gardens once stood.

"SMU's plan all along—starting from the time Bush announced he was running for president was to buy up our property, take it over and tear it down," Gary Vodicka says. "It was a hostile takeover, and they had to do it to get the Bush library."

Even if SMU didn't set its sights on the Bush library until after Bush's election, as it maintains, the school's board of trustees, which then included Dick Cheney and Ray Hunt, had already considered, during a December 1998 board meeting, how SMU could acquire University Gardens. It was simple, really. In a sworn deposition given two years later, Gerald Turner conceded that the board had discussed that if it acquired 75 percent of the condo's residences, "we knew we could require the final 25 percent to sell their homes."

Within months, SMU, through its real estate arm, Peruna Properties, was purchasing units at the complex; and by August 1999, angry residents felt their homes were in jeopardy, even after receiving assurances from SMU attorney Leon Bennett that SMU wanted to be a good neighbor and  "contribute to University Gardens."

Just a few weeks after the Bennett meeting, the homeowners association board passed a new bylaw aimed at SMU, which prohibited any one entity from owning more than 10 percent of the total residences. In December 1999, the association sent SMU a cease and desist letter forbidding it from closing on more units. Two months later, Peruna Properties sued the homeowners association, which, in turn, filed a countersuit, claiming that SMU "has engaged in a covert operation to obtain the University Gardens condominium complex." 

The association alleged that SMU's president and board of trustees set about to acquire a 75 percent controlling interest in the complex, realizing that under the bylaws, it could pressure the remaining residents to sell. Part of SMU's scheme, the association claimed, was to place students in university-owned units to intentionally ruin the peaceful enjoyment of the complex by its elderly residents in an attempt to run them off. 

If that was the intention, it worked. Many of the residents loathed their student-neighbors. In fact, when Bennett said at the meeting, "We hold our students to a standard of behavior," the crowd interrupted him with howls of derisive laughter. 

"We know how SMU students are," one member of the audience told Bennett. "We have enough of them, and we don't want any more of them."

You couldn't blame the residents. In July 2000, an SMU leasing administrator testified that SMU student-tenants had hung on their balcony the skin of a slaughtered lamb, a satanic mask and paintings stained with blood—"items usually used in devil worship," according to a police report. Other students were drunk and disorderly, observed urinating on flower beds at 2 a.m. 

According to a March 2006 article in the Dallas Observer, lawyers for University Gardens deposed SMU president Turner twice, seeming almost as interested in challenging the ethics of SMU's actions as its legal position: During Turner's second deposition, one attorney for the complex asked him: "When you left the meeting of the board of trustees in December 1998, did you personally believe that SMU could be in a position to force elderly residents at University Gardens who did not want to move from their homes?"

Turner replied, "We knew we could require the final 25 percent to sell their homes to us regardless of what their demographics might be."

Later in the deposition, a lawyer asked him if he "ever heard the phrase, 'thou shall not covet thy neighbor's house'?"

Turner rightly noted that the passage came from the biblical book of Exodus. The lawyer then followed up by asking if any of the trustees who had attended the December board meeting ever worried that the school might look as if "we're coveting our neighbor's property."

Turner said: "It was never discussed in that, because as we have discussed before, there is always an argument on decisions that have ethical implications to them. And the question is, is it ethical for the institution, for SMU not to try to look for the betterment of its future?"

After a year and a half of litigation, the parties settled their dispute: The homeowners association agreed to withdraw the 10 percent rule. In return, residents had the opportunity to sell to SMU at a rate of $75 a square foot—a price some thought was unreasonably low for a residential property with a Park Cities address.

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3 comments
ajain31
ajain31

History is here and now and it does not bode well for George W Bush the 43rd President of USA with a library or witout one!



1) GEORGE W. BUSH oversaw the suffering of millions in New Orleans in KATRINA disaster and did little in a timely fashion resulting in the death of thousands! 


2) GEORGE W. BUSH increased our deficit by fighting TWO wars on the credit card, implementing the Medicare DRUG Plan on the credit card and two BIG TAX CUTS on the credit card. 


3) GEORGE W. BUSH presided over the greatest economic meltdown of the American economy since the Great Depression.

4) GEORGE W. BUSH presided over the greatest terrorist attack on the US soil since Pearl Harbor which was responsible for more than 3000 deaths. 


5) GEORGE W. BUSH's IRAQ war was responsible for nearly 5000 American soldier deaths and 3000+ American contractors. 


6) GEORGE W. BUSH had Osama Bin Laden in his sights in Tora Bora in Afghanistan but he let him escape by not providing enough troops to capture Osama Bin Laden. 


7) GEORGE W. BUSH shifted focus from a legitimate war in Afganistan to an unnecessary war in IRAQ. 


8) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration has been conclusively linked by a 576-page report from a task force of the bipartisan Constitution Project to have used torture.


9) GEORGE W. BUSH turned a surplus nation into a debtor nation by advocating for so much deficit budgeting.

10) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a GDP growth adjusted for inflation at 2.2% with a ranking of 9th in 13 recent Presidents.


11) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a 0.3% increase in jobs with a ranking of 11th in 11 recent Presidents.


12) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a inflation-adjusted changes in worker per capita income of 1.3% with a ranking of 8th in 11 recent Presidents.


13) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a increase in national debt of 88% during his Presidency with a ranking of 3rd HIGHEST in 12 recent Presidents.


14) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a Dow Jones Average’s annual change of -2.0% with a ranking of 11th in 13 recent Presidents.


15) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a final job approval rating of 27% with a ranking of 11th in 12 recent Presidents just above Nixon.


16) GEORGE W. BUSH's Administration had a lowest job approval rating of 19% with a ranking of FIRST in 12 recent Presidents i.e. the LOWEST among all 12 recent Presidents. 



Ajay Jain

ajain31@gmail.com

Twitter Handle @ajain31.

Mobile: 214-207-9781

ajain31
ajain31

50 Reasons We Despised George W. Bush's Presidency: A Reminder on the Day of His Presidential Library Dedication


1. He stole the presidency in 2000. People may forget that Republicans in Florida purged more than 50,000 African-American voters before Election Day, and then went to the Supreme Court where the GOP-appointed majority stopped a recount that would have awarded the presidency to Vice-President Al Gore if all votes were counted. National news organizations verified that outcome long after Bush had been sworn in.

2. Bush’s lies started in that race. Bush ran for office claiming he was a “uniter, not a divider.” Even though he received fewer popular votes than Gore, he quickly claimed he had the mandate from the American public to push his right-wing agenda.  

3. He covered up his past. He was a party boy, the scion of a powerful political family who got away with being a deserter during the Vietnam War. He was reportedly AWOL for over a year from his assigned unit, the Texas Air National Guard, which other military outfits called the "Champagne Division.”

4. He loved the death penalty. As Texas governor from 1995-2000, he signed the most execution orders of any governor in U.S. history—152 people, including the mentally ill and women who were domestic abuse victims. He spared one man’s life, a serial killer.

5. He was a corporate shill from Day 1. Bush locked up the GOP nomination by raising more campaign money from corporate boardrooms than anyone at that time. He lunched with CEOs who would jet into Austin to "educate" him about their political wish lists.

6. He gutted global political progress. He pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol which set requirements for 38 nations to lower greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, saying that abiding by the agreement would “harm our economy and hurt our workers.”

7. He embraced global isolationism. He withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, over Russia’s protest, taking the U.S. in a direction not seen since World War I. 

8. He ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden. He ignored the Aug. 6, 2001 White House intelligence briefing titled, “Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” Meanwhile, his chief anti-terrorism advisor, Richard Clarke, and first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neill, testified in Congress that he was intent on invading Iraq within days of becoming president.

9. Ramped up war on drugs, not terrorists. The Bush administration had twice as many FBI agents assigned to the war on drugs than fighting terrorism before 9/11, and kept thousands in that role after the terror attacks. 

processtheologist
processtheologist

Truly shameful. SMU and the Methodists detested the Bush2 administrations' botched Iraq invasion. I can't think of a worse place to try and polish the turd that is the Bush2 presidential legacy; a Bush2 "think tank" isn't going to do it.

That SMU treated these good people in such a way, many alumni, is truly disgraceful. There is a cloud already over the Bush2 Libarary.

 
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