Very personal injury

Dennis Rodman has settled a lawsuit filed in Dallas County by a woman who alleged he infected her with herpes. Stacie Shobe claimed in her 1998 case that she had unprotected sex with the former Dallas Maverick after he told her he did not have any sexually transmitted diseases.

That was a fib, she said. (You can just hear it: "No, baby. It's supposed to look that way. Trust me. I'm in the NBA.")

When Buzz first reported on the lawsuit more than a year ago, we suggested she was not what you might call smart when it comes to matters of the heart and/or bed. Now, at least, she appears to be several grand richer, though we're not exactly sure by how much. The amount of the settlement was sealed, but according to court records Rodman at one point agreed to pay $100,000 to close the case. He later changed his mind, and Strobe refiled the $2.5 million suit, with an added claim of breach of contract for reneging on the agreement. The case concluded quickly after that, in June, for what Buzz strongly suspects was $100,000.

But what do we know? Buzz thought Rodman was a cinch to win under the legal principle of requiat deuce tangotum, or "it takes two to tango." (Our weak grasp of Latin is one of two reasons we chose not to become a lawyer--the other being that we did not want to be eternally damned. Oops, muffed it.)

Still, consider the possibility that Buzz is right for once, that spreading one flaming case of herpes is worth $100,000. What does that say about your potential liability for other, more common (we hope) sexual transgressions? Should there be a sliding scale of monetary awards for bad sex, so you know how much you might be in for? Buzz thinks so--not for any particular personal reasons, mind you--and we suggest the following rate card:

Giving him or her herpes--$100,000.

Falling asleep less than two minutes afterward--$25.

Attempting to hold a conversation more than five minutes afterward: $2,500.

Calling out the name of a person not presently in the room: $2.5 million.

Believing anything a cross-dressing, tattooed, gree-haired NBA player tells you: $0.

Parrot squawk

Pesky Dallas school trustee Lois Parrott, arch-nemesis of recently deposed Superintendent Waldemar Rojas (It's Battyman vs. The Parrott! Ka-pow! Squawk!), isn't resting now that he's gone. She's sniffing around in the $1 billion 2000-01 DISD budget, badgering administrators with frivolous queries such as, "Why are there so many line items marked 'Miscellaneous?'" and, "Where is all that loot really going?"

Not being a complete fool, she doesn't really expect clear answers. Even the FBI hasn't been successful in rooting out long-suspected fraud in DISD. "I ask questions, but if they don't want to answer, they don't have to," admits Parrott, who in the past has failed to win needed support from colleagues to explore DISD's inner workings.

This week, she sent a list of 31 questions to interim Superintendent Robert Payton, hoping to get answers before the school board's August 2 meeting to discuss the budget. She's especially perplexed over why the district continues to add administrators even after Rojas, who stuffed 3700 Ross Ave. with cronies at high salaries, has been booted out of town. For example, the budget calls for DISD to hire five new lawyers, even though DISD already contracts with 20 law firms. Ditto for swelling staffs in the testing, program evaluation, and communications departments.

Parrott also worries about "hidden costs" in DISD's $15 million-a-year contract with private company Edison Schools to run seven schools, a complaint that echoes gripes about Edison's now-terminated five-year reign in Sherman. She's especially curious about an $838,363 line item for Edison-related utility costs in the budget. "Will Edison pay all utility costs or not?" she asks in her memo. (Neither Edison Schools nor DISD officials returned Buzz's calls by press time to answer this question.)

Parrott doesn't blame Payton, who she says is forthright and honest, for the opaqueness of DISD's machinations. "I think he'll try to do what he can, but he's working with a system that's been around for a while."

But she may get the last laugh. That's because a lawsuit contesting DISD's contract with Edison Schools--brought by Parrott, the Rev. L. Charles Stovall, former DISD trustee Don Venable, and parent Harry Trujillo--is steadily moving forward. In two weeks, state District Judge Anne Ashby is expected to rule on whether Edison's contract is a de facto voucher system that funds schools unequally--which would be illegal under state law--or a boilerplate educational services contract.

Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams

No, seriously, we like to converse--via e-mail anyway. Write Buzz at [email protected].

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams