Mary Suhm Did Nothing Wrong, Mary Suhm Says

Never thought embedding a 20 year-old clip from a Nickelodeon show would be in my job description, but here we are. Late Friday, Observer editor Joe Tone unearthed a letter Mary Suhm wrote to the City Council in advance of Wednesday’s Trinity East drilling hearing. Unearthed might be the wrong word here since it’s in the City Council’s briefing packet, but since Tone posted it at 10 p.m. on a Friday, that’s an unearthing in my book.

Anyway, in the letter Suhm writes:

The City Attorney’s office has also affirmed that the City Manager had the authority to sign a non-binding letter with Trinity East — making no guarantees — to assist in moving the process forward through several different approvals and Council actions. Requests for assurance of assistance are often sought by outside parties in development deals and an example is provided in the appendix of the briefing.

In short: we’re cool. Nothing to see here. Why’s everyone so pissed?

Okay, so maybe the City Attorney said this is fine. Problem is, that sets up a domino effect of legal interests. If the City Council doesn’t approve the drilling application, Trinity East will likely sue the city, claiming its agreement with Suhm was above-board and should be honored. If the City Council does approve the application, the legal battle will begin from the other side, directed at the city again. Dallas’ anti-gas folks would cobble together some money, and the Sierra Club or Gus Van Sant and Matt Damon or the anti-fracking Illuminati will throw their money behind them to prove you can’t buy City Hall.

Either way, the city ends up in a multi-million dollar lawsuit fighting gas drillers or its own citizens. The entire letter and briefing are below, courtesy of Tone:

Trinity Gas Lease Briefing by Joe Tone


  • joeptone

    Yeah, “unearth” is probably too a strong word. “Copied and pasted from” would work, as would “regurgitated” or “snarkily regurgitated.” Also: “Read while he was supposed to be picking up his mother-in-law at the airport.” That would be accurate as well.

  • BradfordPearson


  • Jim Schermbeck

    OK, but isn’t better public policy to get sued over doing the right thing than the wrong thing? Once that refinery and compressor station open, there is no un-ringing that bell.