Finance Reports Confirm What You Already Knew: Harlan Crow and Ray Hunt Are Loaded

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

The spending gap between the two convention center hotel campaigns predictably didn't mimic the narrow margin at the polls, as Harlan Crow's $5.2 million anti-hotel effort dwarfed an otherwise impressive haul of more than $1.9 million by three pro-hotel committees. Nearly all of the funding for Crow's campaign came from his company's hotel, the Hilton Anatole, and most of it ended up in the pockets of Dresner, Wickers & Associates, a political consulting firm with offices in San Francisco and New York.

Final campaign finance reports filed this week show more than $320,000 raised between April 30 and June 30 for Enough is Enough -- a hastily formed group of business elites outraged at Crow's negative campaign aimed at Mayor Tom Leppert -- including more than $50,000 in contributions from Ray Hunt (oilman and owner of the Hyatt Regency), a $40,000 donation from Hillwood Development (owned by billionaire Ross Perot, Jr.), $35,000 from TRT Equity Advisors (a subsidiary of Omni Hotels, which will operate the city-owned hotel) and $15,000 from Robert Rowling (billionaire and owner of Omni Hotels). The majority of the committee's expenses were paid to the Wolf Group, which received a $50,000 bonus for winning the campaign.

Over the same reporting period, Vote No! raised more than $180,000, with most of the funds spent on consultants Carol Reed, Mari Woodlief and Kathy Neely. DAFE, Inc. was the largest contributor at $50,000, and Hunt made a $20,000 contribution through a disbursing account of Woodbine Development, which he owns. The committee raised a total of $1.1 million, topping Enough is Enough's $650,000 and Build the Hotel's $160,000. Both Vote No! and Enough is Enough also focused on defeating Proposition 2 in addition to Prop. 1, which would have killed plans for the publicly financed hotel project.

City council member and other political committee reports have also been submitted, with Friends of Tom Leppert raising more than $50,000. The mayor's biggest friend? Apparently it's $5,000 donor Brint Ryan, who lost the District 13 race to Ann Margolin despite spending an enormous amount of his own money and running a television ad. Ryan could be lobbying for an appointment, which isn't likely to make Margolin happy.

After Margolin's $26,013 in contributions, Dave Neumann's $17,414 and Linda Koop's $14,995, Tennell Atkins posted a noteworthy $13,175 among the council members, which will come in handy as he spent $2,130 on gas and $1,833 on phone bills in less than a two-month period.

How the rest of the council stacks up:

Tom Leppert: $13,036

Pauline Medrano: $9,250

Steve Salazar: $8,950

Angela Hunt: $8,800

Sheffie Kadane: $8,150

Jerry Allen: $8,125

Vonciel Hill: $6,100

Dwaine Caraway: $5,425

Ron Natinsky: $6,400

Carolyn Davis: $3,650

Delia Jasso: $3,500

Final hotel campaign numbers:

Citizens Against the Taxpayer Owned Hotel

January report: $976,050.28
April report: $1,764,223.40
May report: $2,054,948.36
July report: $468,072.04

TOTAL: $5,263,294.08

Build the Hotel

January: $75,398.34
April: $85,000

Subtotal: $160,398.34

Vote No!

April: $185,970.84
May: $735,550
July: $187,150

Subtotal: $1,108,670.84

Enough is Enough

May: $332,350
July: $323,008.58

Subtotal: $655,358.58

TOTAL: $1,924,427.76

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.