Note: This has has been updated below with a response from the candidate, who claims he was not arrested.
Let’s not make this too much about me, but the fact is I have been intoxicated at the Kroger on Mockingbird near Greenville Avenue. I can’t say precisely when, but I know it has happened. Greenville Avenue St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Duh. The key, though: I’ve never been arrested there for being drunk (or for any reason). And if I had been arrested there, I’d tell you if you asked. I’ve been arrested a few times; it happens.
Which brings us to District 9 Dallas city council candidate John D. Botefuhr, who in his Dallas Morning News candidate questionnaire was asked the question “Have you ever been arrested or involved in any criminal proceedings?” His reply: no.
Not so fast.
Back in 2009, a fellow named Avi Adelman posted a list of people who’d been arrested for public intoxication on Lower Greenville. The name John Daniel Botefuhr appears on that list, and the associated address is the Kroger on Mockingbird. Now, Adelman is a complicated character. If you don’t know anything about him, start here. Bottom line: if you dig Adelman, you see him as a First Amendment crusader. At times, he looks like that to me. But if you don’t dig Adelman, you see him as a shakedown artist. At times, he looks like that to me. For instance, when he published that 2009 list of public tosspots, he outlined how said tosspots could pay $251 to have their names removed from his list. Why $251? Because it’s a prime number? I don’t know. I called Adelman today. He hasn’t called me back.
And what about Botefuhr? Great question. The group of political gadflies called Reform Dallas first spotted the Botefuhr name on Adelman’s old list. Their Facebook post called out Botefuhr for the apparent lie on the DMN questionnaire. Botefuhr hasn’t replied to that post.
I called and texted Botefuhr early this morning, saying I wanted to ask him about the arrest for public intoxication, and he agreed via text to talk to me at 4:30. Prior to and after that agreed-upon chat time, we exchanged texts. I talked to a person who answered the phone in his chiropractor office. Both that person and Botefuhr himself assured me he was busy with Zoom meetings and would get back to me soon. Still waiting as of 8 p.m.
Here’s what I know with certainty: Avi Adelman was really good at shaming tosspots on Lower Greenville. In 2009, he got himself a John Daniel Botefuhr. The guy running for City Council, according to the Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners, is named John D. Botefuhr. A database of public records I searched indicates that there is just one John Botefuhr in the entire state.
Here’s one more thing I know with certainty: if I were running for public office and if a reporter texted me at 7 a.m. saying he wanted to ask about my arrest for public intoxication, I’d respond: “Which one?”
But if I’d never been arrested for public intoxication and if I’d represented as much on a candidate questionnaire, I’d immediately pick up the phone.
Update 10:49 p.m. After reading this post, Botefuhr called me at 10 o’clock. He said he was surprised to see the above post, given that I’d told him via text I would publish something tomorrow. I told him I thought he was dodging me and that the facts stood on their own.
But Botefuhr says he didn’t lie on his candidate questionnaire and that he’s never been arrested. Here’s the story he told me. I ran through the details of it three times with him to be sure I understood.
Botefuhr had been to Ozona Grill and Bar, just up the street from the Kroger, to watch a Cowboys game, he told me. Yes, he’d had some drinks, but he had a designated driver. That driver got pulled over and arrested. Not Botefuhr, though. The cops stayed with him and waited for him to summon another friend from Ozona to come pick him up. He was never arrested, never taken to jail, none of that.
(By the way, Botefuhr didn’t mention this, but the game was played on December 19, a Saturday, against the Saints, and the Cowboys won. Kickoff was at 8:22 p.m. The arrest of John Daniel Botefuhr, as recorded by Adelman, occurred December 20 at 11:25 p.m., a day after the game.)
I asked Botefuhr repeatedly if he’d hired a lawyer to have his record expunged. (Publicly available databases don’t today have a record showing he was ever arrested.) I told him that I know from experience that a drunken passenger in a car driven by a drunken driver is not likely to be given a pass by the cops. No, he said, he didn’t have his record expunged, and, yes, he was allowed to go home with another friend.
And even though Adelman has apparently had the arrest of John Daniel Botefuhr publicly posted since 2009, Candidate Botefuhr told me he had never heard anything about this until the matter was brought up yesterday on Facebook by the Reform Dallas group. Adelman addressed the deal on Facebook late yesterday, standing by the information he’d posted back in 2009.
So here we are. Adelman says he had the arrest report right. There’s only one John Botefuhr in Texas. The one running for District 9 says he has never been arrested.
“I’ll apologize for not getting back to you quickly,” Botefuhr told me. “It’s not true. I’ve not been arrested.”
Election day is May 1.