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Tom Pauken Never Saw It Coming

Tom Pauken, owner of Dallas Blog

Late this morning, Dallas Blog owner Tom Pauken posted a brief piece regarding the death of Dallas Blog columnist Rufus Shaw, in which he described him as a friend and touted his achievements as an SMU football player, community leader and writer. Pauken, a lawyer and former Texas Republican chairman, is in Amarillo today on business, but elaborated on the tragedy moments ago with Unfair Park. He described Shaw’s death as awful and is baffled that Shaw would have taken his own life after killing his wife, former Dallas Area Rapid Transit chair Lynn Flint Shaw.

“You wish before something like this, someone picks up the phone and calls you and vents or something where you could talk to them,” Pauken tells Unfair Park. “You have a feeling of helplessness because this is the end, and you can’t take that back. You can’t undo it.”

Pauken says Shaw told him about having prostate cancer, and although Shaw didn’t discuss the details, “It seemed fairly serious.” He says Shaw, who was unpaid for his work, would send him columns on Saturday or Sunday, with his last one about a potential Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket e-mailed to him Sunday. Based on this piece, Pauken says there was no indication something like this would happen.

“There is nothing in that article that reflects somebody about to do this,” Pauken says. “It almost suggests to me that he found out something Monday that set him off.”

Pauken says Shaw never confided in him about any financial problems. “He always struck me as a very talented guy, but [who], for whatever reason, had not done all that great financially.”

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Shaw had political enemies that would comment on his blogs, some of which weren’t posted because they were “out of line,” according to Pauken. Former city council member Sandra Crenshaw even called Pauken threatening to sue him if Shaw’s columns were posted.

Scott Bennett, former co-owner of Dallas Blog, says, “I am dumbfounded. What a terrible tragedy.”

Trey Garrison, who covered City Hall for Dallas Blog before leaving for D, posted his thoughts on FrontBurner. City Plan Commissioner Mike Davis posted his thoughts on Dallas Progress early this morning.

As some of you know, I also covered City Hall for Dallas Blog before coming here. Since Rufus Shaw worked from home, as most writers there do, I can’t say I knew him very well. We had some disagreements over some issues, particularly the Trinity referendum, but I always respected that he was an important voice in the black community and Southern Dallas. --Sam Merten

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