As testimony concluded yesterday in the City Hall corruption trial, it appeared as though the prosecution would begin its cross-examination of Don Hill after Doug Greene, D'Angelo Lee's attorney, finished what is expected to be his relatively short questioning of Hill, especially after Victor Vital told us he had no plans to examine the former mayor pro tem. However, Vital did stress that he reserved the right to question Hill, and he'll exercise that right after Greene wraps up, using up whatever remains of the defense's 18-hour allotment with Hill before prosecutor Marcus Busch sinks his teeth into Hill.
"He's salivating like a junkyard dog staring at a T-Bone steak," Vital tells Unfair Park of Busch's excitement at the thought of questioning Hill.
Judge Barbara Lynn tells the jury that the Texas Rangers won a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians last night and says the defense has used 13 hours and 21 minutes examining Hill. So Busch should be taking over at approximately 2 p.m. if Vital is able to run out the clock.
Greene asks Hill if there are any prohibitions regarding employment for city plan commissioners, and he says there are none, only that commissioners can't participate in votes or discussions related to matters in which they have a financial interest.
"We've got some fairly wealthy plan commissioners," Hill says after claiming there's no limit on how much money a commissioner can earn, citing Mitchell Rasansky as an example.
Hill says Lee never asked him to do anything improper and was a good commissioner. After stumbling a few times with leading questions, Greene asks if it's possible to vote on something on the consent agenda accidentally.
"Yes," Hill says.
Greene passes Hill at 8:54, and Ted Steinke, Darren Reagan's attorney, has no questions. Vital asks Hill if he would be the most objective witness to speak about Sheila.
"No, I wouldn't," Hill says.
Hill describes Sheila's consulting experience prior to her contract with Southwest Housing as "very small business and entrepreneurial focused." He also touts her real estate experience, which he says includes buying, selling, remodeling, renovating and financing houses.
Hill says his wife was "quick to get involved in community fights," carrying picket signs related to education and involving herself in issues where she thought people were being mistreated. Her community desire was motivate by her mother dying when she was 9 and grandmother dying when her mother was 8 or 9, Hill says.
Sheila was most passionate about the homeless, Hill says, claiming she and friends would pick up homeless in her car and she knew several by name. Before The Bridge was built, Hill says she was involved in the creation of a holistic homeless uplift program.
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