Danny Faulkner’s I-30 condo trial, which was too big for Dallas, has barely caused a stir in Lubbock.
More than 350 miles from the stretch of Interstate 30 that lends its name to the latest chapter in Texas financial scandals, Faulkner and seven other defendants stand trial in U.S. District Court in Lubbock on various charges of fraud, conspiracy, and racketeering. Since the proceedings opened in February, Faulkner- whom his attorneys describe as a poor sharecropper’s son-has been a model citizen of the West Texas town that has lately been dubbed “The Peoria of the Plains.”
The I-30 saga fills its share of the Dallas papers, but it’s not the hottest story in Lubbock. The local media took notice of Faulkner’s past when the federal government’s roadshow opened in February, but the event has drawn scant attention since. Most Lubbockites probably think a “land flip”-the rapid sale and resale of land that inflates its value-is an antique farm implement.
Faulkner’s family followed him to Lubbock, and they are staying in a condominium (what else?) in a fashionable West Lubbock neighborhood. They attend services at First Baptist Church a few blocks down the red-brick pavement from the federal courthouse. Their Sunday outings stirred some courtroom drama when the prosecutor unsuccessfully sought a mistrial after a juror was reported to have remarked during church that Faulkner seemed to be a “nice man.”
If convicted on all counts, Faulkner faces a maximum of 346 years in jail and fines of up to $297,000. So far, however, he shows no signs of abandoning his fabled generosity and high-rolling friends. One day at LaLa’s Restaurant, a Tex-Mex eatery near the courthouse, nine members of the Faulkner party ran up a modest tab of $45 for lunch. One of the entourage called the waitress over and announced, “This is your lucky day,” as a $100 bill fluttered to the table to cover the check.