Expenses Sure are Expensive

That David Dean sure does know how to stick it to Mayor Laura Miller.

First, the lobbyist who's gotten a cool mil from the city to lobby for the Trans-Texas Corridor since 2004 got his CPA to send an open records request at the end of last week in which Dean wants to see everything the mayor's done and everywhere the mayor's gone since 2003. Then, at today's city council meeting, he thumbed his nose at the mayor and sent her into a minor rage--and he didn't even have to show up.

Unfair Park has in its possession a single piece of paper put in front of every council person's chair before the meeting started. At the top is a photocopied $20 bill, which, the paper says, is a "payment to the City of Dallas from Dean International, Inc." What's it for? Says it's "re: 2/14-15/2006 beverage expenses," a reference to Miller's comments about how Dean's receipts turned into the city reveal someone on his staff is buying Jack Daniel's on the city's tab. The letter was dropped off in the city's Office of Economic Development this morning, according to council member and Dean advocate Bill Blaydes, and copies were made for all of the council to see.

Apparently, the $20 bill stems from the fact that someone in Economic Development last week told Dean that the city had "inadvertently approved" a receipt containing the bar tab in question. The city wanted Dean International to repay the city with a check. But Jean Sides, who works at Dean International and, according to records obtained from the city, travels extensively with Dean on his trips promoting the so-called River of Trade, dropped off the cash at 9 this morning. Heather Lapeska in Economic Development made this single makeshift receipt, since Sides had dropped off cash and not a signed check. According to a source at the city, Lapeska does not know how each council member wound up with their own copy of the receipt.

As we mentioned last week, the mayor did try to get the city council to overturn the 7-6 vote that gave Dean $515,000 of city dough--on top of the more than $500,000 he's already gotten--but wasn't allowed to do it, since it wasn't on the agenda. According to the city charter, she can get it overturned--but only by next Wednesday and only if one of the seven who said yes decides to go no instead. But it's unlikely to happen, as many of those who voted for the contract extension--Bill Blaydes, Elba Garcia, Gary Griffith, Pauline Medrano, Ron Natinsky, Ed Oakley and Steve Salazar--have traveled extensively on the city's dime to pimp the Trans-Texas Corridor in recent months.

Indeed, according to city records obtained by Unfair Park, since May 2005 Bill Blaydes has been to Washington, D.C., Lubbock, Minnesota, Memphis, Little Rock, Long Beach, Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and half a dozen other places pitching the project. Then there are his international getaways: In August 2005, Blaydes and Salazar went to Manzanillo, Mexico, where they spent $2,600-plus in taxpayers' money; two months later, they dropped $6,400 on another trip to Mexico. Blaydes would spend another $2,100 in D.C. in June 2006, which is nothing compared to the combined $26,000-plus Blaydes, Salazar, Oakley and Natinsky spent during their trip to China in July. Natinsky also has spent $3,300 on trips to Asia in October and November 2005. Robert Wilonsky