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Sinking Ship? What Sinking Ship?

Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Daniel Perez
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At a time when the Dallas Area Rapid Transit board is already upside down and up for grabs, another Dallas member of the DART board departs. Attorney Daniel Perez has informed the city council that health concerns (a heart attack last October) are making it difficult for him to continue. Perez has asked to be replaced.

DART is a billion dollars short on what it will cost to build promised rail lines for Dallas the suburbs.The suburbs are racing to get their future rail lines under contract, thereby giving them a first lien on the money DART does have in hand. If the suburbs succeed, Dallas may have to seek legislative changes in DART’s charter in order to find the money required for proposed new city lines.

Perez’s announcement, in a letter to the council February 20, followed the departure of Dallas DART board member and chair, Lynn Flint Shaw, who has been charged with a criminal offense in an alleged scam on a creditor. Meanwhile there are strong rumors a third Dallas member may leave the board soon.

Mayor Tom Leppert has been flailing and failing for several weeks to come up with a replacement for Shaw. He first proposed former city manager John Ware, but Ware apparently demurred at some point. Now, according to sources on the city council who spoke on the condition that they remain anonymous, Leppert is pushing Dallas Urban league President Dr. Beverly Mitchell-Brooks.

Those sources told Unfair Park that Brooks at first was unable to serve on the DART board because of a conflict of interest involving a city contract with the Urban League, but they said that contract had been dropped to clear the way for her.

Willis Johnson, who was Leppert’s campaign consultant for Southern Dallas, is a member of the board of the Dallas Urban League. Johnson, a radio personality, is also president of Wai Wize I, LP, a telecommunications company. Johnson has confirmed to the Dallas Observer that his company has contracts with DART, even though DART told the Observer a computer search of DART records had found no contracts with Wai Wize.

Perez and Brooks did not return calls seeking comment. -- Jim Schutze

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