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Fire and Cop Pension Lawyer Resigns

UPDATE (4:47 pm) Someone just pointed out to me the whole deal about the forensic trace on Councilman Scott Griggs that Lawson paid for. I was ignorant of that. So yeah. Now I totally get why Lawson resigned. Better to resign than be fired. Original item: Gary Lawson, a Strasburger lawyer, has represented the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System for more than 25 years. Today he delivered a letter (PDF link) to the pension's chairman, informing him that he is resigning. It's a curious letter. Lawson says that he's resigning because his representation "has become a distraction as the board and management deal with issues unrelated to the legal services we provided." He refers to the whole Mike Snyder sock puppet affair. But that was more than two years ago. Why resign now? Then he brings up Museum Tower, but it's hard to see how that would be a distraction, because the pension board voted in August to drop that matter altogether and walk away from the problem. No distraction there. Notice the pivot he makes in his penultimate paragraph. After vaguely alluding to the old sock puppet business, then bringing up the now dead Museum Tower problem, he says, essentially, "I've worked for the pension for a long time. I had hoped to keep working for the pension." Then he says he can't. See if you can make sense of the letter:
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UPDATE (4:47 pm) Someone just pointed out to me the whole deal about the forensic trace on Councilman Scott Griggs that Lawson paid for. I was ignorant of that. So yeah. Now I totally get why Lawson resigned. Better to resign than be fired. Original item:

Gary Lawson, a Strasburger lawyer, has represented the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System for more than 25 years. Today he delivered a letter (PDF link) to the pension’s chairman, informing him that he is resigning. It’s a curious letter. Lawson says that he’s resigning because his representation “has become a distraction as the board and management deal with issues unrelated to the legal services we provided.” He refers to the whole Mike Snyder sock puppet affair. But that was more than two years ago. Why resign now?

Then he brings up Museum Tower, but it’s hard to see how that would be a distraction, because the pension board voted in August to drop that matter altogether and walk away from the problem. No distraction there.

Notice the pivot he makes in his penultimate paragraph. After vaguely alluding to the old sock puppet business, then bringing up the now dead Museum Tower problem, he says, essentially, “I’ve worked for the pension for a long time. I had hoped to keep working for the pension.” Then he says he can’t.

See if you can make sense of the letter:

It has been my privilege to serve as outside legal counsel to the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System for more than a quarter century. My commitment over that time has always been to provide sound counsel on the many complex legal issues that impact and govern the operations of this pension system. This has included resolving or winning lawsuits at the local and appellate level that have recovered millions of dollars for the plan and improved the availability of benefits for deceased firefighters and police officers’ loved ones. Despite speculation to the contrary, I have had no agenda other than to provide the fund with sound legal advice and counsel.

Recently, it has been suggested that an invoice from an outside vendor that our firm retained on behalf of the DPFP showed that I authorized payment for a forensic trace on a member of the DPFP board of trustees. In fact, just the opposite is true. I immediately rejected that suggestion from the outside vendor and told him not to even consider taking that action and, in fact, it was never acted upon.

I became aware, approximately 2 years ago, that this same vendor had posted comments relating to Museum Tower under a false name. I immediately ordered those activities to end and also immediately terminated all work by that vendor.

Over the last several years our firm recommended a process for resolving the issues surrounding Museum Tower. We have worked with the board and a team of nationally renowned university and private sector engineers and scientists to study and offer constructive solutions to bring together interested parties to finally resolve the Museum Tower issues.

I had hoped the entire board would consider that as fiduciaries to the fund and its beneficiaries that continuing with legal counsel with a strong track record of success for the fund would be a vital component to moving forward successfully to achieve solutions to issues you are and will face in the future. With many recently elected board members and new management now in place, lack of such institutional knowledge may slow the process of dealing with the many complex issues the fund faces going forward.

Unfortunately, my representation of the DPFP has become a distraction as the board and management deal with issues unrelated to the legal services we provided. For that reason, I am resigning as counsel to the DPFP effective today.

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