Thursday, June 12, 2008
Developer holds party for Wilmer city employees and politicians
Xebec Realty Partners is currently seeking annexation and zoning changes for land that they want to develop.
Xebec Realty Partners, the developer of over 90 acres west of Summers off Belt Line Road currently seeking annexation and zoning changes by the City of Wilmer, hosted an invitation only (i.e. "secret") party in Cottonwood Valley Nature Park for city employees, elected officials, appointees and their families. Wilmer Public Citizen is investigating the details of this event using the Texas Public Information Act.
Xebec Realty Partners (http://xebecrealty.com contact Ronny Guerrero, Partner via telephone at (972)836-8023 fax (972)836-8033 or email mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org) was unavailable to comment or return our telephone inquiries before press time. Xebec CEO Randy Kendrick was also unavailable to take our call, but his personal assistant indicated he was not inclined to give interviews to the press.
Our Public Information Request has so far revealed that all city employees, elected and appointed officers and their families were invited. We have obtained supplementary information that several members of the general public were invited that do not hold any position with the City. We are told that printed invitations had not been given to employees prior to the event and had been destroyed Monday.
According to sources with Dallas County, a city containing a county park acts as the manager for that facility and handles lease and rental arrangements for the facilities. The county provides park facilities for the public benefit - but does allow cities to lease the facilities for private parties. According to county rules, alcoholic beverages are not allowed at park facilities. The prohibition extends to private events unless the City provides on duty police to ensure the event is not opened to the general public.
According to our investigation, no such lease was prepared by the city nor were any funds or deposits required from Xebec Realty Partners to sponsor the event. At press time, the City of Wilmer had not made any lease/rental agreements or copies of financial transactions available for review.
Tuesday (June 10) all traces of the party had been removed from the grounds of the Forest Preserve and Park, with the exception that the gates to the facility were left open. County policy prohibits motorized vehicles of any kind within the gated nature facility, although clear tire tracks were observable inside the facility. According to sources Wednesday, Dallas County Sheriffs officers had the facility open seeking to capture two stray horses inside the facility.
A partial list of attendees includes Mayor Don Hudson, City Secretary Crystol Birdwell, Councilman Matt Leal, Councilwoman Marlena Hagen, Councilwoman Tiny Lange, and Councilman Eugene Lowe. We are attempting to determine from the Texas Secretary of State if a quorum of governing body officials at a city sponsored "lobbying' event constitutes a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Dallas County District Attorney's office refused to respond to our telephone inquiries regarding the potential ramifications (if any) for this type of influence pedaling.
Pegasus News Content partner - Wilmer Public Citizen