Texas first husband Ray Hutchison, spouse of U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, must be counting his blessings these days.
Last year, the former legislator and hotshot bond attorney uncharacteristically rolled over when a group of bondholders sued him and his Dallas firm, along with former Texas Governor Mark White and other dealmakers. The bondholders alleged that the high-profile power brokers had violated securities laws in helping to raise money to build six private prisons. The prisons ultimately went belly up.
Last year, while Kay was sweating out charges of misusing state property and employees, Ray settled with the bondholders, forking over $655,386 (ouch!) in return for a release from all the charges. As an extra bonus, the plaintiffs got to use Ray's videotaped deposition to press their case.
Shrewd move, Ray. Last week, a jury in Houston federal court issued a whopping $84 million verdict against Hutchison's former co-defendants in the case--including former Governor White and his Houston law firm.
Where was George W.?
It was like a shot of Visine for eyes sore from watching partisan campaign sniping. Democratic Governor Ann Richards sat on a stage last week chatting amiably with Republican County Judge Lee Jackson. They were about to join another dozen Republican and Democratic candidates for state legislative offices in agreeing on some issues.
The group had gathered at the Munger Avenue Baptist Church for an "accountability night," organized by the Dallas Area Interfaith, a nonpartisan group of interdenominational religious organizations.
At these pre-election gatherings, the Interfaith leaders ask the candidates to commit--with a simple yes or no--to a platform of proposals. Last week, the four-point platform included a $1 million job-training program, $50,000 in grants to develop community support for schools, an after-school program, and legislation to control liquor-related businesses.
All the candidates--Republican and Democratic alike--stood up and pledged their support. The event's organizers then trotted to a huge chart and marked in the pledges.
But one significant blemish appeared on the bipartisan chart. Beside Republican gubernatorial candidate George W. Bush's name was written "No Show."
Though Interfaith leaders had asked Bush months in advance to attend the bipartisan gathering, he claimed he could not be in Dallas that night. Coincidentally, he also never made it to El Paso, Houston, or the Rio Grande Valley, when sister organizations there held their own accountability nights.
Asked why Bush had turned down a chance to appear with Governor Richards at a bipartisan event, his press secretary, Karen Hughes, said Bush was at a fish fry in Winnie, Texas.
Politics of the personal
When real estate magnate Harlan Crow gave David Godbey $5,000 to help him defeat incumbent Judge Lynn Hunt for her 160th Civil District judicial seat, Godbey told the Dallas Business Journal, "He was kind enough to take a personal interest in the campaign." Real personal, we'd say.
Lynn Hunt happens to be one of the lawyers who represented Harlan's former wife in the multi-millionaire's bitter divorce.