Phil Romano and Kenneth Hersh Win Big at 2014 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards

EY revealed its Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners for the Southwest Region at a June 21 event at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. The program honors outstanding entrepreneurs who have driven economic growth and demonstrated passion through innovation. Two of the winners, Kenneth A. Hersh, co-founder and CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management, and Philip […]

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Matt Rutledge, Founder of Woot, Launches His Next Dumb Idea: Meh.com

The guy who invented the deal-a-day concept, Matt Rutledge, has gone to Kickstarter to announce his next gig. Watch the video below for details about the stuff and things, but here’s my summary: he’s relaunching Woot.com. Except now it’s called Meh.com. And, yes, he’s gone a bit Colonel Kurtz on us, as the video says. Man, if some magazine just had a 4,000-word profile of this guy, now would be the perfect time to publish it.

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D CEO Named Best Regional Business Magazine in the Country

D CEO magazine raked in seven wins at an Editorial Excellence Awards event hosted by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. The competition, which attracted more than 650 entries, was judged by 27 faculty members from the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

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NCPA Names An Interim Leader; Will Continue to ‘Collaborate’ with Ousted President and CEO

The board canned the founding president, John C. Goodman, for alleged sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty. The ousted chieftan struck back in the media, denying the charges and calling the people on the board “scared” and amateurish. Meantime, the National Center for Policy Analysis has been trying to carry on in a business-as-usual manner, issuing a flurry of announcements about their experts doing this or that and appearing here and there. Today the right-leaning Dallas-based think tank had yet another announcement, naming former bank CEO and business strategist Dennis McCuistion its interim president and CEO.

In an interview, McCuistion said he expects to fill the posts anywhere from six months to a year—or until a permanent replacement for Goodman can be found. He also said he’ll take a leave of absence from his job at UT-Dallas, where he’s been serving as executive director of the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance. Meantime, McCuistion added, the NCPA will continue to collaborate with Goodman on certain ongoing projects, just as it would with any other expert. One example: the Healthcare Contract with America initiative, which Goodman, the so-called father of Health Savings Accounts, helped shape. So, there’s no problem in an organization continuing to work with someone who was judged unfit for serious reasons to run the organization? No, McCuistion replied in a nutshell.

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Leading Off (6/20/14)

Dallas ISD Board Names Home-Rule Commission. The 15-member panel includes the husband of trustee Carla Ranger and the son of trustee Lew Blackburn. I’ll leave the hot sports opinions to Eric over on Learning Curve, but, umm, seriously?

NorthPark Center Planning Major Expansion? Owners Nancy Nasher and her husband have sold a 60 percent stake in the mall for $362 million. The transaction has prompted speculation that big changes could be coming to the North Dallas shopping mecca, since the last time they took on an investment of this size was to finance the hugely successful addition of a fourth side to the building in 2006.

Police/Fire Pension Fund Lost $60M on Luxury Homes. The bad investments in Hawaii, Aspen, and other spots likely contributed to the decision by the fund’s board to dismiss administrator Richard Tettamant.

Report Details Structural Flaws in Allen’s $60M Stadium. The school district hopes to begin repairs this fall — during which time the Eagles’ football team will have to play its “home” games in Plano — and reopen it by graduation time in May 2015.

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Vying to Rub Shoulders With Elizabeth Hurley—and Her ‘American Daddy’—at the NorthPark Neiman Marcus

There was a mob scene yesterday afternoon at the Neiman Marcus store at NorthPark, where Estee Lauder scion Leonard Lauder, 81, and actress/model Elizabeth Hurley, the cosmetics company’s 49-year-old “brand ambassador,” turned up to launch a new Estee Lauder in-store shop. The throng packed excitedly into the first-floor cosmetics area included not just customers, but about every fashionista-blogger/writer sort in town. Everyone was jousting to get close to the coolly regal Hurley—she’d be perfectly cast as a British princess type—and to Leonard. It was his mother, Estee Lauder, who founded the eponymous, $10.4 billion (2013 sales) “prestige cosmetics” empire in 1946.

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Larry Friedman, the Lawyer With the Most Interesting List of Clients in Dallas

We mentioned the Crosland divorce earlier today. Luke says Mary was having an affair with the couple’s plastic surgeon and claims she secretly sold a $1 million diamond ring to promote a book she wrote with the doc. Usual Dallas stuff. What caught my eye was the name of the wife’s attorney: Larry Friedman. The man has been on our radar since at least 1997. Interesting guy. Even more interesting list of clients. I searched a database of Morning News articles to remind myself whom Friedman has represented recently. This is just going back to 2010. I’m sure I’ve missed some. Imagine all these folks together at Friedman’s holiday party:

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John C. Goodman: NCPA Board is ‘Scared,’ Amateurish—And ‘Grasping at Straws’

The saga of John C. Goodman, former president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, is fast becoming worthy of a TV soap opera. Yesterday, the right-leaning Dallas think tank said it had ousted its nationally known founding president by a unanimous vote of its board, for reasons that would remain undisclosed. Then came a story in Friday’s Dallas Morning News in which Goodman called the NCPA vote a “coup” by the board, caused by disagreement over the organization’s management. He characterized the underlying problems as trivial and petty, adding, “Dallas needs a think tank. But Dallas is proving that it’s not ready for it.” This afternoon the NCPA fired back with both shotgun barrels, saying in a statement that Goodman was terminated “after an extensive investigation that found sexual misconduct and breach of fiduciary duty.” That was “not true,” Goodman told the DMN.

And, reached by cellphone this afternoon, the NCPA’s former leader seemed anything but contrite. Goodman contended the vote by the group’s 13-person board was not unanimous, as it was characterized, because just half the board members were present—and most of the members who “are supportive of me” were absent. He also said the organization proposed and discarded a number of reasons for his termination, seeking to find one that would stick. “They’ve had five different reasons for why they fired me,” Goodman said. “They sat with us, and our labor lawyer said, ‘That reason would violate federal labor law.’ Then they gave a second reason … then a third. They went through five reasons. Under labor law, if you want to fire someone and keep shifting the reason, you have a serious problem.

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Board Member: Ouster of Goodman at NCPA a ‘Shocker’

He was the right’s go-to expert on Obamacare, the so-called father of Health Savings Accounts, and the founding president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas think tank. Now John C. Goodman is out as the group’s president and chief executive. In a terse statement late this afternoon, the NCPA said that it has …

… terminated the employment of President and CEO John Goodman, effective immediately. A statement issued by the organization said that the board’s vote to dismiss Goodman was unanimous. “Because this is a personnel issue, the details are and will remain confidential.”

Reached by phone this evening, one NCPA board member said that, “on advice of counsel,” he and the other board members wouldn’t be commenting just now, because they’re “trying to speak with a harmonious voice.” But Goodman’s abrupt removal, he agreed, “is a shocker.” More details to come as they emerge …

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How Twin Peaks Is Winning the Breastaurant Wars

When I had breakfast with Randy DeWitt, the CEO of Front Burner Restaurants (no relation to this blog), several years back, he used a wine industry metaphor to explain the competitive advantage he believed his Twin Peaks restaurants had over the big dog in the “breastaurant” space, Hooters. Twin Peaks is like the  Kendall Jackson label to Hooters’ Turning Leaf. In other words, Twin Peaks is a cut above.

The New Republic writes this week about the other advantages the DeWitt’s chain has over its wheezing Florida-based rival and its garish orange shorts:

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Day of Reckoning for Richard Tettamant

As I first told you (must credit FrontBurner!), today is the day that Richard Tettamant almost certainly parts ways with the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System. Don’t feel bad for him. He’s had a good, long, two-decade run at the top of the pension system. In 2012, he made about $373,000. And his own personal pension will provide him enough money in retirement that he’ll never spend much time on the Power to Choose site, worrying over electricity prices. Tettamant will be comfortable into his old age.

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Jerry Shults, Gas Pipe Owner, No Stranger to Legal Trouble

By now you’ve heard about the federal crackdown on synthetic marijuana (or K2) that has the Gas Pipe and the Ridglea Theater in trouble. Both the head-shop chain and the historic theater are owned by a guy who lives in Highland Park named Jerry Shults. Just so happens that we wrote a story about Shults in 1982. Here’s the text, but the best part is the photo, above, that accompanied the story.

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The Walmart Heirs Could Buy Every Home in Dallas

Real estate site Redfin came out with a fun bit of click-bait today: which billionaire could buy your city?

Dallas, according to Redfin, has 330,028 homes that would cost a total of $109.4 billion to purchase. That’s too much for even the world’s richest man, Bill Gates, to afford. However, if the various heirs to the Walmart fortune pooled the contents of their money bins, and if every homeowner in Dallas sold to them, then Dallas could become the family’s private playground.

The same is true for Seattle, D.C., Miami, Portlandia, Baltimore, Austin, Las Vegas, San Antonio, and Atlanta. So if you’re the Walton family, which do you make a bid for?

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