Leading Off (5/8/14)

City Council Gets to Wear Hard Hats. You can see that in the photo here of the council touring Texas Horse Park, scheduled to open in October. You can also read Mayor Rawlings saying Texas Horse Park is “beautiful so far.” But most of that story is about the fact that one of the operators with whom the city signed a 21-year agreement, River Ranch, is a little shady, or at least its owner is — and the city did almost no due diligence before signing that contract. You’ll also learn that the city apparently almost never does — no background checks, no combing over financials. But, sure, headline that story “Dallas City Council likes what it sees in tour of horse park.”

Denton Could Be First North Texas City To Ban Fracking. Its city council passed a temporary ban on Tuesday and they’re looking to make it permanent.

Cowboys’ Road to Another 8-8 Season Begins Tonight. I hope Jerry Jones and the Cowboys draft Johnny Manziel. Not because I think they need him. They probably don’t, or at least they need a lot of other things than quarterback. Storyline-wise, though — oh, man. Oh, sweet mercy. It would be the best thing ever. EVER. Also, ESPN would probably move half its work force here.


  • Rick

    Last time this Horse Park controversy cropped up, I did what many can do and googled around. I checked the FINRA broker website and found a number of issues. I checked Guidestar for non-profits and found that the charity involved filed their IRS tax forms years late. If one were to snapshot all that bad news to the time when the city was vetting potential operators of the Horse Park, the red flags would have been enormous. They still are today.

    These are liability issues for the city going forward. Forget all the allegations about the animal cruelty. Sounds like a he said/she said issue to some degree and who knows the truth in that. The real glaring issues are the financial responsibility aspects, past problems with fiduciary duty and the impact it will have on the City of Dallas going forward if the poor business practices continue.

    On the City Hall side, this situation should serve as a moment of extreme pause for citizens as it spotlights the lack of duty, audit and standard vetting processes that we in the private sector use everyday to hire employees and contractors. The City of Dallas has a small army of attorneys and an entire audit department who should have vetted those in the RFP for the Horse Park.