DISD Turned Over Financials Concerning Oak Cliff Christian, But Questions Remain

John McCall, the former president of the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League who last week took the Dallas Independent School District to court over the imminent demolition of the Oak Cliff Christian Church, sends word: Per the agreement with DISD attorneys, he did receive the financial documents concerning the district's acquisition of the property.

As a last-ditch effort to save the building, McCall wanted to make sure no federal funds were used to buy and then raze the historic property, which isn't allowed. He writes that he did receive "approximately 100 pages" from the district, and "a cursory review" reveals that the church was indeed bought "from a wire transfer out of 2008 bond money," as district attorneys insisted at last week's hearing. However, McCall writes:

The money earmarked for the abatement, demolition, consulting etc. comes out of TWO sources, one is Bond Money and the other is Operating Funds. 

I have no documents providing any details of what OPERATING FUNDS consists of. 

While we all know that the purchase price was $450K for this property, the costs for abatement, demo and consulting, far exceed that number. Thus, over 50% of this project is potentially funded from something other than 2008 bond money. 

I have other questions that need answers, but will refrain from commenting until my accounting and controller assistants have had a chance to review this weekend. 

We will then compile a written request for more discovery from DISD and see if they can produce with enough time to review before the 2/5/10 hearing. 

Aside from the source of the funds, one has to question the financial decision to acquire this property, when the costs for this small lot of land will be in excess of $1million before the cement is even poured for the alleged tennis court. Land that is on the DCAD records with a market value of $38,250 for the land only.
A hearing is still scheduled before Judge Martin Hoffman in the 68th Civil District Court at 4 p.m. on February 5. If the district answers all of McCall's questions to his and Hoffman's satisfaction, then demolition on the building could begin as soon as the next morning.

In the meantime, the preservationistas fighting to save Oak Cliff Christian from DISD's wrecking balls are taking one last swing at saving the building. And it's very ... romantic?

As in: Do you think Oak Cliff Christian is one of America's 100 top romantic places? Seems unlikely, we know, but the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League is going to try.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is sponsoring a thing called "This Place Matters," which is a list of 100 romantic historic sites that should be saved. According to the Web site, it's "that place where you met that special someone, or where you first realized that she was more than just the girl next door."

The OOCCL is inviting people who may have met their sweeties at (or, let's say, near) Oak Cliff Christian to come have their pictures made Sunday: "Join us at 2:00 PM on Sunday January 31st rain or shine in front of Adamson High School where we will take a picture using the sign and then walk over to Oak Cliff Christian for another photo." They'll take the picture, then upload it to the National Trust site and hope Oak Cliff makes the cut.

People... who ... met .. their ... sweeties ... in front of Oak Cliff Christian. Well, no hay would be made if people didn't reach for straws. We believe that's a direct quotation of Homer. Homer who, we're not sure.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky