Can't say I'd ever heard of Highland Park's Hiram Walker Royall till last night, when I stumbled across this piece from the First Amendment Center concerning the developer's October '08 libel lawsuit, brought about because Royall's furious over the contents of the well-reviewed 2007 book Bulldozed: "Kelo," Eminent Domain and the American Lust for Land. And what's the book about? Says the FAC, the tome deals with Royall's "efforts to get Freeport, Texas, to use eminent-domain laws to enable him to build a marina where a shrimp business has existed for generations." (There's more here, from 2005.) But to be honest, well, maybe it's a bad idea to even mention this. Why come? Well, from the Institute for Justice's recap of the case:
When the victims of his eminent domain abuse in Freeport, Texas, complained, Royall sued them for defamation. When an investigative journalist wrote a book exposing the project, he sued her, as well as her publisher, for defamation. He even sued a prominent law professor who wrote a blurb for the book's dust jacket. When someone reviewed the book, he sued him. When two newspapers published that review, he sued them.
So, to be fair, just consider yourself sued. Till then, some interesting facts about Hiram Walker Royall: He's the president of Briarwood Capital Corporation, HQ'd on Turtle Creek Boulevard. He's the grandson of the late Rear Admiral William F. Royall. His family was among the founders of Humble Oil (later ExxonMobil). And, yes, he's also related to that Hiram Walker. --Robert Wilonsky