Golf Pro Leonard Jones, In Dispute With City, Will Get His Day in Court
Pinkston grad and Prairie View A&M golf great Leonard Jones has been making the rounds in recent weeks, promoting a Samuel L. Jackson-narrated Golf Channel doc called Uneven Fairways, about those who broke the sport's color barrier long before Tiger Woods was born. One month ago, as a matter of fact, Jones was among the panelists speaking on the subject to the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
But around here, he's best known as the longtime, and former, golf pro out at Cedar Crest and L.B. Houston -- former, because the city terminated his contract in 2007 after the city claimed he owed Dallas money he didn't have. To which Jones responded with a lawsuit in which he says the city put him out of business by closing and renovating Cedar Crest in stages -- a long, slow death, he says, that kept away patrons, dried up business and forced him into severe debt after years of turning a healthy profit and establishing scholarships. When the city severed its ties with Jones, Jones's fans and supporters protested -- not only at Cedar Crest, where they vowed never to play again till his return, but also at City Hall.
The trial court more or less threw out Jones's suit, agreeing with the city that it has sovereign immunity from a suit like this one. To which the Fifth District Court of Appeals said only yesterday, Unh-unh: "We conclude that Jones has standing to sue and, therefore, we reverse the trial court's order to the extent it granted the City's plea on the basis of lack of standing." I've got calls into Jones's lawyer and the city's attorneys. But after the jump you'll find a video Jones made in April 2007, in which he tells his side of the story to a surprisingly jazzy, jaunty soundtrack.