Dallas lawyer Michael Sorrell told Unfair Park yesterday he had received less than $2,000 as a consultant to one-time city council candidate Lynn Flint Shaw -- even though Shaw’s campaign finance reports show a total of $19,225 paid to Sorrell in 11 payments over a 13-month period.
A spokesman for the Texas Ethics Commission told Unfair Park that an inaccurate report could be subject to civil penalties under state campaign law. He said the fact that reports are signed and sworn could also invoke more serious criminal penalties for perjury. Shaw -- who has been in the news this week over allegations that she forged a document with the signature of Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins in order to avoid paying a debt -- signed and swore to her reports.
Unfair Park left messages for Shaw at her place of business and with Dallas Area Rapid Transit, where she is chairman of the board of directors. A DART spokesman said he had passed on the message to Shaw. Unfair Park also spoke with Shaw’s husband, Dallas Blog columnist Rufus Shaw. He said: “I don’t know anything about that, because I was not involved in the campaign. What I’m going to have to do is take your number and have her call you.”
A spokesman for a public relations firm that represents the law firm that represents Lynn Flint Shaw in the forgery accusation returned Unfair Park’s call last night and promised to formulate a response this morning. So far, that response has not come in. Unfair Park will immediately publish the response when it arrives.
Sorrell, a lawyer who is president of Paul Quinn College, said he had no idea why Shaw’s reports would have shown such a large total amount paid to him.
“Let me just say this,” he said. “It has to be a typo. I will tell you I have documentation that will show we weren’t paid more than $2,000, which is entirely consistent. You know, that would be unconscionable to charge that kind of money for something like that.”
Unfair Park also raised questions this week about Lynn Flint Shaw's status as treasurer of a fund-raising committee for Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert.
Shaw attended a hearing before the Dallas City Council earlier this week at which a DART official tried to explain why it took him eight months to reveal a billion-dollar shortfall to DART’s board of directors. Shaw did not join the official at the dais or make herself available to reporters.
Sorrell told Unfair Park he was concerned that questions about how much Shaw paid him for her short-lived council campaign earlier this year may unfairly link him to her growing problems.
“All I am is the guy that had the bad fortune to take this on as a client,” he said.
Much more on all this in my column next week. --Jim Schutze
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