As addressed in our March 2007 cover story, Senator Royce West is a powerful guy who makes a lot of dough collecting legal fees from the Dallas Independent School District. At the time, former Observer staff writer Matt Pulle reported payments of nearly $2.5 million from DISD to West in a five-year period.
We think it's time for an update.
From October 2002 to October 2008, West's took in a hefty $3,890,219.67, according to an open records request filed by Unfair Park. We were told DISD records don't go back prior to October '02. Additionally, a request with the city of Dallas showed West earned $205,622.75 in legal fees from May 2006 to April 2008.
So is it a conflict of interest for West to conduct business with DISD and the city given his immense influence as a legislator and power as a politician in Dallas? Here's what he told Pulle nearly two years ago.
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West says he goes to great lengths to remind clients that when they come to visit him, they're not sitting down with a state senator but with a lawyer eager to work on their case and only their case. "I tell people all the time, 'When you come into this office, you're seeing me as an attorney.'"
It's easy to see why they might be confused. In West's law office is a nameplate, positioned at the front of the desk, facing potential clients. It reads, "State Senator Royce West."