I was pleased to see that there may be some hope yet for retribution on behalf of former employees of the Resolution Trust Corporation ["To catch a thief," August 22]. I sympathize with [John] Battaglia's quest for justice in the face of blatant abuse by government contractors with respect to the RTC.

I was employed by the RTC from July 1991 through the bitter end in December 1995. During those years, I was distressed by the continued violation of ethical business practices. I mean, we were supposed to be cleaning up the savings-and-loan debacle, not adding further offenses to an already grim situation.

Please don't think the vast majority of folks who worked for the RTC are represented by the fellow who played computer golf games mentioned by Battaglia. We were a conscientious bunch, frustrated with the red tape spawned by the "well-meaning" Congress. Yes, I blame Congress for the minority contractor quotas, as well as many other restrictive sales conditions. Our funding depended on our adherence to these; sound business sense had nothing to do with it.

So, we knew it was wrong. My co-workers were some of the finest folks I've ever been lucky enough to meet. We came from the private sector to do a dirty job. We completed our mission in spite of the low-down, dirty politics, and I have nothing to hang my head about.

In Marine jargon, "Arruuuggghaaa," John Battaglia, go get 'em!!!
Natalie Helms

As a former resident of Texas, I want to express my appreciation to Ann Zimmerman for her courage and accuracy ["Trail of tears," August 1].

Having experienced the antics of Ruth Smith firsthand, I was dismayed to learn the Texas Attorney General's Office has dropped its investigation of the American Indian Heritage Center of Texas, and I am offended by Ron Dusek's characterization [of Smith's critics] as a "splinter group that might be attempting to smear the organization." What an insensitive and unfair conclusion to reach after only talking to one former member. These people have been deceived and have had money stolen from them. Their purpose is not to smear the AIHC. They simply want Smith stopped.

My wife and I had a good laugh about Karen Askew's statement that Smith is tired of defending herself. If Smith had ever once defended herself, this whole issue could have been resolved long ago. She has been given numerous opportunities to account for her inconsistencies, but she has never once offered a defense. What she does--superbly--is evade and avoid all attempts to get at the truth. Regardless of whether Smith is schizophrenic or a clever rip-off artist, she still is dangerous and is hurting a lot of caring, trusting people.

A common reaction after being hoodwinked by Smith is to feel foolish and naive. Well, it appears the Attorney General's Office suffers not only foolish naivete, but lacks basic math skills as well. Even Smith admits she raised much more than the $2,000 the office found when it examined the center's books.

To Zimmerman, thanks for your diligence and dogged determination to uncover the truth about Smith. To the Texas Attorney General's Office, shame on you.

Bill Sullivan
New York

The first high heel
If you're going south on Interstate 35, just across the Trinity River bottoms you'll find a "little piece of the sky" known to some as Aids Services of Dallas ["Black Tie winners," July 25].

Once you've arrived you'll find beautiful spacious gardens, completely renovated surroundings, beautiful buildings, great foyers, spacious rooms for all residents, elevators for wheelchairs, etc.--all for the residents of this fantastic establishment. You'll also experience the love, kindness, and respect given to each resident, and given by each resident to each other. Just a short while ago they had lost their self-respect. Families had turned their cheeks to them. They had no friends to turn to and no jobs to go to. ASD gave them back these and much more.

Some in the gay community say Don Maisson, CEO of ASD, is "hard to deal with," and some say he is a "devil." I say to these people, you have not experienced this wonderful human being. Jesus said, "Let her that hath not sinned cast the first high heel, girl! Whoa! to hateful people. Whoa! to bigotry, Whoa! to those that speak with forked tongues. Whoa! to those of little knowledge for it is dangerous! Whoa! to those in the gay community that see AIDS through 'pink'-colored glasses, for AIDS is not prejudiced and can get any of us!"

If you go there, you will also see the things that I have seen. You will feel the love and compassion that this fine man has tried so hard to give each resident. I think you'll wonder, up until that time, why you sat on your duff and have not done enough for ASD, as I did when I was going south on Interstate 35 just across the Trinity River bottoms. Hats off to Don Maisson.

Jim Cruikshank
Cedar Hill