Lest we begin feeling too terribly sorry for former Dallas Area Rapid Transit chairman Lynn Flint Shaw, who did the perp walk today at Lew Sterrett calaboose when she turned herself in on forgery charges, we might want to think back 10 years to the ArtServe debacle. Back then Shaw was chairman of the board of ArtServe, a “non-profit” ticket agency for local arts groups.
Problem was, somebody had been profiting from this non-profit without telling anybody. ArtServe sold tickets, all right, but they forgot to send the ticket money to the starving arts groups who were actually putting on the events. With more than $100,000 in unpaid debts, evicted from their offices, ArtServe finally died a merciful death, but not before screwing a lot of people out of a lot of money.
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Here’s the particular item that seems most striking now: In a lawsuit against ArtServe by a major creditor, ArtServe produced a letter in which it seemed to have warned the creditor of its problems before the creditor had extended a generous loan.
A little bit counterintuitive, eh? Just before the loan comes in, ArtServe sends a letter to the lender saying, We thought you should know, the city has yanked all our funding, and we’re totally screwed and probably won’t be able to pay you back. Then they get the loan anyway. And then they don’t pay it back.
Oh, but there was a problem: Unfair Park has learned that the letter was fake. How do we know? Whoever the genius was who ginned up the fake letter, he or she didn’t realize that the computer on which the letter was written would update the date at the top of the letter to the day the letter was actually written and printed.
Sorta faked themselves out there, didn’t they. Sound familiar? --Jim Schutze