Gary Griffith Opens the Books. Has To, Really.

Why is this man smiling (he is smiling, isn't he)? Because he's already got $103,000 to spend on running for mayor, and the race is still almost a year away.

Just got back from City Hall, where I snagged copies of Gary Griffith and Laura Miller's campaign finance reports, which are due to the city's elections manager, Brooks Love, by end of business today. (Darrell Jordan's still ain't available.) First let's look at Griffith's--since, ya know, Miller ain't running, last we heard. Among the council member's biggest donors are his campaign treasurer (real estate bigwig Ebby Halliday) and his campaign finance chairman (Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks), who have each kicked in $5,000. No surprise there; believe the phrase is "chump change." Also donating that much is Griffith campaign committee member Dianne Adleta (who only gave $2,000 to George Dubya in 2004, so there), real estater John Amend (who gave $77,000 to Bush during his 1998 Texas gubernatorial campaign, and thousands to the likes of Pete Sessions and Trent Lott), U.S. Risk Insurance Group, Inc. chairman and CEO Randall Goss and accountant Sandra Kuprion-Thomas (who has donated thousands to the likes of Kay Bailey Hutchison and Bob Dole). Real estate attorney Diana Bearden, a partner at Strasburger & Price, could only muster $4,000.

Today Newspapers owner Richard Collins really wants Griffith to be mayor: Not only did he give $5,000 to the campaign, but his wife Genevieve also kicked in two grand. Richard's mother and the first woman to sit on the Dallas City Council, Calvert Keoun Collins, likewise donated $2,500 to Griffith. But there's another Collins connection to be untangled in the Griffith campaign finance report: Among the biggest donors is Shirley Reiman of Coppell, who matched the big boys with $5,000. Who is she? Says here Reiman is the vice president and general manager of the House of Seasons, "a historic museum and bed and breakfast with exclusive dining and fine wines" located in Jefferson. So happens the House of Seasons was bought by Richard Collins in 1973, then turned over to the Calvert K. Collins Family Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit named, of course, for Richard's mother. All told, the Collins connection has netted Griffith $14,500 thus far.

There are some other high-dollar contributors to the campaign, of course: Big-time Bushie Louis Beecherl Jr., the former University of Texas Board of Regents chair more or less responsible for the Trinity River project, gave $2,000, as did George Grayson of Parker, Texas; and Dale Robinowitz, a Dallas dentist and an "old friend" of George Dubya's (well, he gave $2,500, actually).

Many folks gave about $1,000, including Mrs. Trammell Crow...and Erle Nye, the president and CEO of TXU, himself a rumored candidate for the mayor's seat at the horseshoe. Speaking of, former Dallas Mayor Steve Bartlett kicked in $500. No word on how much the ghost of Woodall Rodgers has coughed up. If we come across any more interesting tidbits, we will of course pass them along. Some notes from Mayor Laura's campaign finance report shortly. And we'll dissect Darrell Jordan's as soon as it becomes available. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky