So happens that Patrick stopped by Dallas City Hall Thursday, just as ad man Jake Schroepfer was giving his Happy Trails Dallas safety campaign presentation, which included that star-studded Junior Brown music video. Those photos come in handy this morning: WFAA's Brett Shipp had a piece last night tying Schroepfer (a former president of TracyLocke Promotions) to mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings, the former TraceyLocke CEO who was Park Board president when Schroepfer's agency, Jake:Ferguson, was awarded the safety campaign contract.
As Shipp documents, not only did the city fail to put out a request for bids, which is standard procedure for anything over $25,000, but Schroepfer's agency was directed by Park and Recreation Department staff how to low-ball the bid "so it does not look like we are being sneaky." Rawlings tells Shipp he recommended Jake:Ferguson, TracyLocke and the Richards Group -- though docs show way otherwise. Schroepfer acknowledges he and Rawlings are good pals who go way back, and campaign finance reports filed with the city show Rawlings has paid the agency thousands of dollars in "consulting" fees.
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Immediately after the piece aired, I asked the other mayoral candidates' campaigns for a response to the story. The only one I've heard from is council member Ron Natinsky, the recent target of a Rawlings campaign press release over the undoing of the ethics ordinance on April 13. Natinsky had this to say at 12:04 this morning:
These are serious allegations made by WFAA, and a full inquiry into this matter needs to take place to determine if any laws or rules were violated. I assume all of the Mayoral candidates would agree that transparency is key.
Brett Shipp's report follows.