Virtual Coffee: Episode 2

Sam Merten
Ron Natinsky points out a booger on the wall during a Trinity toll road debate last year in North Dallas

The first sip: Dave Levinthal keeps digging into council member Ron Natinsky’s expenses, and things continue to get worse for one of Mayor Leppert's buddies. Essentially, it amounts to proof that Natinsky is using taxpayers’ dough to pay for promotional items for his reelection campaign, including dish scrubbing brushes and pizza cutters with his name on them.

Natinsky was willing to lie during the Trinity toll road debates, he’s been the lead council member for the controversial convention center hotel, and now he’s using more than $12,000 of taxpayers’ money improperly. Hopefully, Far North Dallas is paying attention and someone will emerge to give him a battle for his seat in May.

The second sip: Trey Garrison wants to kill the master plan for the inland port against the wishes of The Dallas Morning News, the City of Dallas and County Commissioner John Wiley Price. In fact, Price was so ticked off at County Judge Jim Foster for voting against the plan last week that he promised Foster would be replaced in 2010.

Garrison explains that only 6,000 of the 75,000 acres of the project have a plan in place with more than $6 million already spent on a comprehensive plan from the Allen Group. “The Allen Group stepped into a place long neglected by government, put their money where their mouth is, and put into motion a plan that will create jobs and better the community,” he writes. “Government has done almost exactly jack and squat, and now it wants to latch on like a parasite.”

The final gulp: As if the economic meltdown wasn’t enough to deal with, Dallas resident Billie Bagwell’s retirement account is $100,000 lighter thanks to schemer Tom Petters. Petters, whose house was turned inside out by the FBI last month as part of a major fraud investigation, was the mastermind behind what the feds are calling one of the worst frauds in U.S. history, reportedly topping $3 billion.

Bagwell wants to write a letter to Petters, who is now behind bars (where he is likely to stay for the rest of his life), and says he should be forced to make restitution, even if it means washing windows. Petters is 51, and I’ll be generous and say they can put him to work 12 hours a day, seven days a week until he turns 90. Which means whatever he’s doing, he’d have to make roughly $17,560 per hour to earn enough to pay back the $3 billion he owes. Perhaps reparations can best be reaped Shawshank Redemption style. A few gang rapes from Bogs and the boys should make things even-steven. --Sam Merten

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