Police and Fire Fund Owes Arts District $10,000

You’ll forgive me. I’m emptying my reporter’s notebook here. But there’s a lot of stuff I couldn’t get to in the print version of the “Towering Inferno” story.

When I interviewed Richard Tettamant — the top dog at the Dallas Police & Fire Pension System, which owns Museum Tower — he said, “We want to be good neighbors.” He stressed that the pension fund has donated $100,000 to the Nasher and more than $1 million, all told, to other organizations in the Arts District.

The Arts District has a homeowners’ association of sorts. It’s called the Arts District Stakeholders’ Group. Your dues (used to pay for events, hire police, keep the joint tidy, etc.) are determined by the size of your operation. One Arts Plaza, as you might imagine, throws in more than the Cathedral.

Museum Tower’s membership dues this year are $20,000. But they’ve only coughed up half that amount.

When I asked Tettamant what was going on, he said that if that was indeed the case, the matter would get cleared up. That was March 30. I just checked. The matter hasn’t been cleared up. Bear in mind that the police and fire fund is a $3.24 billion operation.

Here’s something else that didn’t make the story but which you might find interesting. Bill Criswell is the owner’s representative on the Museum Tower project. The police and fire fund hired him to oversee construction of the tower. It was Criswell, in fact, who brought in architect Scott Johnson. Criswell told me that he himself drew the first sketches of the Museum Tower we see today. He made those sketches on a napkin. He later showed his ideas to Johnson, and he’s quite proud of how the building turned out.

“I actually think Museum Tower is a piece of sculpture,” he told me. “I think its situation right next to the Nasher is perfect. It’s almost like an extension of their garden.”

I am not making any of this up.

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5 comments on “Police and Fire Fund Owes Arts District $10,000

  1. These guys remind me of the scummy say-anything crooks who brought us the S&L crisis in the 80s: Liars. Shameless. Shameless liars

  2. D Magazine should run all this stuff by an expert in public pension plan governance.

    Take, for example, the fact that the Fund, which is underfunded by over $800 million, has apparently made over $1 million in charitable contributions… Or the fact that it apparently leveraged up its investment in the tower by 100%… Or the fact that it invested $32 million in the project before its plan was even finalized… Or the fact that the Fund’s primary goal here appears to be making an architectural statement, rather than maximizing investment returns to its beneficiaries… Or the fact that the Fund is acting as lead developer, when it has zero expertise in such matters… Or the fact that it’s current allocation to real estate exceeds the Fund’s own internal guidelines.

    The trustees of Dallas Police and Fire owe their beneficiaries and taxpayers some real explanations. I have a feeling this is going to get much, much worse before it gets better.

  3. I agree with Wylie; D please investigate. I can’t in my mind fathom why a pension system would make a $100k donation. Have my tax dollars funded that pension system? Nothing against the Nasher, but I want my piece of the donation back.

  4. @DallasMom–

    You better believe those charitable contributions came from your taxes. As Rogers points out in his excellent article, over $100 million last year alone.