Publicity Paul

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A day before Fielding copped his plea, an FBI informant's secret videotape dropped the bomb on Lipscomb. The tape, played in court, shows the familiar African-American politico sitting with Fielding in the conference room behind the Dallas City Council chambers in November 1992. "We have to set up a company for him [Lipscomb] and have the damn thing certified" as a minority enterprise, Fielding says.

"I am the 800-pound gorilla," Lipscomb chimes in enthusiastically. "I can do it."

Eastern District prosecutors say that company began as a minority business front that later transformed into Lipscomb Industries, a legitimate if unsuccessful minority enterprise. The councilman and his lawyer have said the company always was a minority business and that Lipscomb has done nothing wrong.

The City Hall tape has been all over TV, and there are plenty of people who'd like to see Lipscomb made to explain it and myriad other business deals that suggest he has profited from his office.

If nothing comes of it, Coggins can count on more questions to liven up his Harvard Club appearances. Meanwhile, it hardly quells speculation for him to be seen socializing with Lipscomb.

In May, the two were spotted talking at the Blue Foundation banquet, an annual event in support of local law enforcement. Says Coggins of the chat in the Fairmont Hotel's Regency Ballroom, "It was just a hello."

Should he have been seen with a guy whom people think he should be investigating?

"What can I say?" Coggins replies. "I'm a friendly guy.

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Thomas Korosec
Contact: Thomas Korosec