Giraffes, Monkeys and Lepperts ... Oh, Yeah, and a Strip Club VP

Sure, we haven't always been on the same page as Mayor Tom Leppert, but one thing we apparently agree upon is there's no shame in accepting cash from people or businesses otherwise shunned by the masses. When we found a strip club's vice president among the sponsors of Leppert's fund-raiser and 55th birthday bash tomorrow night at the Dallas Zoo, our differences melted away, if only for a moment.

Yup, it turns out the claim on the event's Web site that sponsors are "of all stripes" couldn't be more accurate as Ron Shaddox, vice president of the Dallas Gentlemens Club, appears with philanthropists Peter and Edith O'Donnell as "Leppert Tamer" sponsors of the event. This designation is given to those coughing up $5,000 to raise funds for "Friends of Tom Leppert," a committee formed to pay the mayor's consultants.

This came as a shock since, as the site explains, the benefits of writing a $5,000 check include a mention in the invitation mailed to 25,000 households and recognition as a booth sponsor for one of the free activities, including face painters, magicians, caricature artists, crafts and bounce houses.

The Ron Shaddox Bounce House -- isn't that on Stemmons? Lemme look in the back of the paper version of Unfair Park ...

Perhaps Leppert can use the money raised to find himself some new consultants since the ones he has now didn't bother to find out anything about the man behind the dough.

"The contribution is a personal check, and he is a first-time contributor to Leppert," Laura Reed Martin e-mailed us in response to our inquiry about Shaddox. "We do not have any additional information."

Our research found that Shaddox was previously the vice president of Burch Management, which owns the majority of the strip clubs in Dallas and is the Observer's largest ad account. We then found him linked by address to the Dallas Gentlemens Club, and a woman at the club told us Shaddox could be reached at "the corporate office," giving us a phone number to Club West Management in Addison.

Shaddox was a bit shy when we asked about his ties to the club, claiming he's merely a management consultant and it's among his clients. However, a call back to the club revealed that he serves as vice president.

"I have just observed [Leppert] since he's gotten into office and been very, very impressed with his work and dedication, working for nothing as way of compensation. I think he has his salary sent to a charity or something," Shaddox says regarding why he became a sponsor. "He's just turned out to be an outstanding mayor of all the mayors I've seen. I'm very, very impressed with him."

So if running ads for joints like the Dallas Gentlemens Club makes us a "a sexually oriented weekly tabloid," does that make Leppert's shindig a sexually oriented fund-raiser?

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Sam Merten
Contact: Sam Merten