Monday, June 17, 2024 Jun 17, 2024
82° F Dallas, TX

“Family Feud” Ensnarls Natinsky Campaign


The brother of Dallas mayoral candidate Ron Natinsky, who cast doubt on the candidate’s truthfulness about his business background Monday (subscription required), says he stepped forward entirely on his own because he was “irked” by his brother’s attitude toward the boys’ late parents. But in an interview this morning, Michael Natinsky–who owns Texas Auto Transport Inc. in Austin–also seemed to back up Ron Natinsky’s claim that it was Ron, not the boys’ father, who conceived of and started the company called Dallas Tape Deck on Lemmon Avenue.

“I give [Ron] credit. It was his idea. He said, ‘Dad, this is happening; we can make money selling tape players,’ ” Michael recalled. “But my dad put it together. It was [Ron’s] idea, but he was an employee” of the company.

Publicized just days before the mayoral election, Michael’s May 9 charges against Ron appear to be part of a bitter, longstanding family feud involving Ron’s estrangement from his parents and, more recently, a battle over the estate left by the boys’ mother, who died in 2009, 13 years after the father passed away. Michael said Ron is contesting the will, which divided the estate among Michael and two other brothers, “cutting Ron out” of the inheritance.

Contacted about the flap this afternoon, Ron Natinsky called his brother a troubled individual who has harrassed him continually over the years. Michael “made it clear at the beginning of the campaign that he would discredit me, and I guess he’s just following up on that,” the candidate added.

The brouhaha recounted in this morning’s Dallas Morning News story focused partly on other businesses that Ron started with his parents until, Ron said in the article, “my father and mother packed up in the middle of the night and went to New York, and left me holding the bag on one of the businesses. He had not paid the withholding taxes, and I was surprised when the [tax authorities] came after me for it.”

Reached in Austin this morning, Michael said, “My folks were good people. Dad was a respected businessman. He was impeccably honest. In 1983-4 he decided to retire and he either gave or sold [a company called] Normark Inc. to Ronald. Ronald’s estrangement from his parents stems from his not wanting to accept responsibility. Asking our parents to pay a debt from a business they did not own was wrong. My father was disappointed and my mother was angry at him for even asking.”

FrontBurner: What about the tax liens?

Michael Natinsky: Dad didn’t pay the taxes, but it was because of accounting errors. It was probably just human error. Money was owed. It was pretty tough. … But, they didn’t pack up in the middle of the night and leave. They sold their home in North Dallas. The whole thing [Ron’s account] is just b*******.

FB: In today’s DMN article, Ron said you have a “vendetta” against him.

MN: I really don’t like him. But I’m not out to get him. I am out to set the record straight.

FB: He also said you can’t be trusted, because you served time in federal prison for marijuana distribution when you were younger.

MN: My conviction obviously tainted me in Ronald’s eyes. Nonetheless, I did my time [3.5 years of a 7-year sentence] and have turned my life for the better. In the ’60s there were many young people who turned to drugs, only to find it a mistake.

FB: Are you out to sink your brother’s mayoral campaign?

MN: I don’t have a problem with my brother being mayor. But … he didn’t even go to my mother’s funeral [in New York]. What kind of guy doesn’t go to his mother’s funeral? She wrote a will 20 years ago. He’s disputing it. When a guy can take $250,000 out of his own pocket for his [mayoral] campaign, why is he messing with me and my brothers? I am the executor. I was shocked when I was told, ‘Your brother is contesting the will.’ I told [Ron], ‘Don’t jack with us over the inheritance.’ Then we got a demand letter from his lawyer in New York.

FB: Were you approached by one of the other mayoral candidates to come forward with your account?

MN: No. What happened was, my sister-in-law e-mailed [an April 30 Dallas Morning News article describing Ron’s business background]. She forwarded it to me [on Friday] and said, ‘What do you think of this?’ So I e-mailed the reporter. I’m not trying to sabatoge Ron’s campaign. But, you have to be truthful. Our father taught us that.