Pulse of the CITY


■ Legend Airlines founder T. Allan McArtor figured it out. Now he’s made it happen.

February 29th is D-Day for the liberation of the Dallas business traveler.

■ Despite his modest demeanor, Dave Campo is tougher than a bus station steak. Watch for a nastier, meaner breed of Dallas Cowboy next September.


■ Poor AI. How was he supposed to know those payments were meant to be bribes? Doesn’t anyone just give gifts anymore?

Two months after it was invited into Dallas, debt-ridden Edison Schools was kicked out of Sherman after a five-year experimen

Overruled yet again by the Fifth Circuit, Judge Jerry Buckmeyer will have to go back to the drawing board on his public housing scheme. The retirement party’s ready when you are, Judge.

American Airlines. A major employer. A great civic asset. Best of all, no longer a business-class monopoly.

Defending Oprah

CHIP BABCOCK MAY HAVE found the dream client. For the last several months, he’s been shuttling back and forth to Chicago to defend Oprah Winfrey and her production company. Harpo. in federal court against two employees who claim that the rights to images on film they shot for her talk show for more than 10 years belong to them, not her. They are asking for millions in damages.

Oprah found her legal white knight back in 1998 when she was sued by Texas cattlemen who contended she libeled the beef industry on her talk show and hurt their sales. She chose Babcock because of his reputation as one of the state’s experts in the fields of intellectual property rights and libel. When the trial opened, the Panhandle may have been hostile territory, but by the time il was over, Babcock’s legal strategy and Oprah’s charm had the Amarillo jury eating (veggies) out of her hand. The surprise victory led Oprah to rely on Babcock’s counsel for similar legal troubles.

Although she’s the most successful woman in America. Oprah has been curiously immune from lawsuits. In fact, the cattle lawsuit marked the first time she had been sued personally. Those days are over. The TV star is now the target of litigants hoping for a “cheap, easy settlement,” Babcock says. He adds that Oprah refuses to roll over just to make a nuisance suit go away. Bet he’s grateful.


“There’s better use of your time than trying to predict Dennis Rodman.”

-NBC announcer and former NBA great Bill Walton

How Lipscomb’s Lawyers Screwed Up

Rule #1 : Don’t tick off a federal judge.

THOSE WHO RELIED ON THE pitiful coverage of the Al Lipscomb trial in the News may have been surprised by how quickly the jury returned with a conviction. Courthouse observers weren’t surprised at all.

Lipscomb’s “dream team” of high-dollar legal talent-Scottie Allen, Billy Ravkind, Tom Melsheimer. and Mark Rich-man-signed on with the idea of reaping an expected windfall of publicity, but bungled the case from the very start. Reaching into the defense lawyer’s typical bag of tricks to influence the potential jury pool, someone in Lipscomb’s camp leaked the favorable results of co-defendant Floyd Richards’ polygraph. The trick backfired. Infuriated by the defense’s violation of a court order. Federal Judge Joe Kendall promptly moved the trial to Amarillo.

Finding themselves whiling away precious billable hours in frozen West Texas, the attorneys continued to trip over one another. Let us count the ways. The lawyers:

Were unrealistic. They rejected repeated plea tenders. Early on, the prosecution offered to let Lipscomb plead guilty to one felony, with an exposure of five years in prison and probable probation. Lipscomb’s team countered with a guilty plea to one misdemeanor, which would have allowed Lipscomb to remain on the council. Prosecutors refused.

Never constructed a clear strategy to keep their co-defendant on board. Lipscomb had no assets to forfeit. Floyd Richards faced not only prison but the loss of his Yellow Cab company, which prosecutors shrewdly had indicted as well. When the trial was moved to Amarillo, his lawyers saw the handwriting on the wall. Richards agreed to plead guilty to one felony and testify against Lipscomb if charges against his business were dropped.

Failed to adapt. Ravkind geared his argument to the black members of a Dallas jury (after all. he’d only need one vote to hang it up). He got to the Panhandle and didn’t change his script.

Got cocky. Behind the scenes during the first week of the trial. Lipscomb’s team furiously tried to negotiate a last-minute deal. Meanwhile, in the courtroom they brought on a parade of character witnesses: Mayor Ron Kirk cried on the stand and Southwest Airlines chief Herb Kelleher called AI “incorruptible.” Feeling the momentum shift in Lipscomb’s favor, the lawyers pulled the plug on plea negotiations.

Finally, were unable to control their client. When a jury says guilty, it’s time to show contrition. Instead, Lipscomb loudly proclaimed his innocence to waiting cameras on the courthouse steps and announced he would not resign his seal. An exasperated Judge Kendall released evidence not used in the trial to show Lipscomb had taken $7,700 in payoffs from a strip club owner.

“Kendall is one judge you don’t want to get torqued off at you,” says one legal observer. A now very contrite Lipscomb goes before Kendall in April to learn his fate.



GOTTA LOVE THOSE STARS. Farrah, Laura Dern, Helen Hunt, Richard Gere, et al., brought major dollars to town with the filming of Robert Altman”s Dr. T and the Women. Estimated take to local vendors (lumber yards, hotels, florists, etc.): $25 million. That beats other recent film productions. Universal Soldiers, a dumb action flick starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, spent $15 million last year, Any Given Sunday, which filmed only two scenes here, also spent $15 million. Memo to Dallas Film Commission; Keep ’em coming!



The heroin purity rate for street buys in Dallas-Fort Worth, compared to a national average rate of 3%-6%.



Number of people employed by restaurants in Dallas.

Texas Restaurant Association


Average salary increase during the fourth quarter for telecom managers, raising the typical salary to $74,000.

Matrin Resources


Millions invested by venture capital funds in Dallas start-ups by 3rd quarter 1999.



1999 average rental rate for suburban class A office space per square foot.

Cushrnan & Wakefield


“Paint being used to cover graffiti”

-DMN. 1/27. Next month: “Air being used to breathe.”


“There’s a cloud, but no rain.”

-DISD Superintendent Bill Rojas, responding to a question about the fraud investigation hanging over the district. Rojas pledged to post DISD financial data on the Internet by March 31.

Why John Anders Got Axed

The News acts to cut deadwood.

THE REASON COLUMNIST John Anders departed the News had less to do with the flabbiness of his prose than with the fatness of his paycheck. The News’ management, like its readers, probably didn’t bother to read Anders’ columns, but they can read their own financial statements, where profil margins are in sharp decline. Anders was one of the highest paid writers on staff.

The star system in newspaper salaries started when the Times Herald stole sportswriter Skip Bayless {now at the Chicago Tribune) from the News with a six-figure salary, making him the highest-paid print journalist in town. When the Herald began pursuing Anders with an offer to double his salary, the News countered-and Anders stayed. By the mid-’90s, Anders’ compensation package, which also included a hefty cache of Belo stock, had steadily increased to new levels. Meanwhile, the Herald died. The lack of crosstown competition seems to have sent Anders into a columnist’s netherworld, where he seemingly recycled subjects on a semiannual basis and routinely dusted off old columns to rewrite for the next edition.

In late 1998, as Belo’s stock price took a dive, the paper began cutting costs. Anders and other long-time employees were offered early retirement, but Anders, who is 54, declined. Last summer, the offer became “take it or else.”

Who’s going to replace Anders? Nobody. The editors like having that open space on the front of the Today section. The accountants like saving a columnist’s salary. And no one seems to think the readers will miss anything.

Anders and wife Helen Bryant are moving to Austin. She’ll continue to produce her gossip column (the p.r. people have her fax number). Anders has no immediate plans-presumably beyond praying that, thanks to aggressive cost-cutting, Belo’s stock price goes up.

Our Quickie Primary Primer

The March 14th GOP primary is the only local election [hat matters. For the little-known judicial races at the bottom of the ballet, here’s our handy clip-out guide.

14th District Court: Mary Murphy. (Incumbent John Marshall is too cozy with certain members of the bar.)

95th District Court: Karen Armstrong (Incumbent Sally Montgomery is not highly rated in the bar association poll.)

Criminal District Court No. 2: Cliff Strickland (Incumbent Ed “Bubba” King-errred greviously on bail in the Mary Richardson murder.)


Mansion super-chef disses rumors.

RESTAURANT CIRCLES HAVE BEEN’ ABUZZ WITH TALK (hat Dean Fearing, whose signature Southwestern style recently earned the Mansion restaurant its fifth appearance on the coveted Mobil five-star list, will follow other key executives out the door in the wake of management changes. “There is no truth to the rumor.” says the everebullient chef. “The only new kitchen I’ll be cooking in is the newly remodeled one in my house.”


Mark Cuban’s 10 Steps to Internet Success

At a recent D Magazine/ Arthur Andersen forum, the co-founder outlined what he thinks makes an Internet company work:

1. The only thing that matters is profits. Not market share, not staking territory, not going public. Show how you’ll make money.

2. Reward hard work. “We tell our employees we expect them to work 9-to-5. That’s 9 a.m. to 5 a.m.” Rewards keep employees focused.

3. Celebrate your wins. “When someone signs a major account, we show our appreciation by throwing a party.”

4. Keep the organization flat. Be “anti-empire.”

5. Do not, under any circumstances, listen to your customers. They only think they know what they want.

6. Build barriers to entry. Forge exclusive partnerships. Sign up the major accounts, Don’t leave a crack for a new competitor to crawl through.

Be unique. What about your site makes people say, “I have to go there”?

8. Traffic is king. Nothing matters unless people see it.

9. Make It easy. Belfs and whistles are nice, but not if they make your site hard to navigate.

10. Sell, sell, sell. Sales cure most ills. Customers won early can be customers for life.

Clutch This!

DIOR HAS DONE IT AGAIN: ANEW SPRING line that has a flair tor the fabulous and is stretching the timeless designer from classic couture to cleverly designed malice bags. The small pony-hair totes are nice for a funky night out or for dinner with Mom and Dad.

Saks Fifth Avenue, Christian Dior Boutique. Leopard print malice, $900, Silver mirrored embroidered malice: $1490.

EVEN A CARD-CARRYING MEMBER OF PETA can enjoy these cleverly designed bags and accessories. The look of leather is deceptive; the bags are constructed of durable vinyl. Styles available for both men and women. Gifted. Domino bag, $27 to $40, depending on size.

SPRING 2000 HAS ARRIVED, BRINGING SHIMmery friends and faux nuances. Though you can still find familiar names on the shelves. breakthrough designers have found a home as well. Neiman Marcus. Lime beaded silk Delphinium bag by Badgley Mischka, $770. Red faux-python bag by Zenith, $275.


WHO: Venita Benitez. former public relations manager for Pro-line Inc.

WHAT: “Tribute to Comer Cottrell” {founder of Pro-line) at the Meyerson, supposedly benefiting UT Southwestern, Dallas Can Academy, and Paul Quinn College.

WHEN: November 15, 1999

OUTCOME: Paul Quinn College confirmed it received $10,000. Dallas Can Academy and Southwestern were still waiting at presstime.

RESPONSE: Benitez declined to say how much was raised. Asked why two beneficiaries had not received disbursements after three months, she said. “I’m still waiting to hear from them.”


“Jake came out of her bathroom and walked toward the bed, his manhood dangling at his middle.”

-Our favorite line from The Protégé, author George Clidienst’s novel of one Dallas businessman’s struggles in life and love. The next sentence doesn’t tell what Jake’s manhood was dangling from or what it was in the middle of.


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