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Making Dallas Even Better

First Exxxotica Lawsuit Has Been Filed

As expected, the city of Dallas has been hit with lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the council’s decision to forbid the Exxxotica porn expo from returning to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Only this first legal shot hasn’t come from the organizers of the Exxxotica event. Instead it originates with a vendor who attended and worked the expo last year. Richardson attorney Gary Krupkin filed the suit and has raised the specter of this becoming a class-action:

“There’s a possibility — and I am not saying it’s gong to happen — but a possibility this might turn into a class action suit where the city could be prosecuted by everybody who would like to attend Exxotica,” he said. “And joining them would be commercial vendors too. To that extent, what Exxxotica would file would be a suit particular to them. My suit offers the possibility of having other class members join at some point in the future.”

Dallas: Big Things Happen Here.

Leading Off (1/29/16)

Dallas Schoolchildren Required to Play. The DISD board voted Thursday that all district elementary schools must give students 20 minutes of recess each day for the rest of this school year, increasing that to at least 30 minutes daily next year. Recess also can’t be withheld as a form of punishment in disciplinary matters. Trustee Dan Micciche, who brought the proposal to the board, cited studies indicating recess improves social and emotional health. Considering the gorgeous weather we’re expected to have today, I plan to make the same argument to Wick this afternoon.

Arlington Woman Awarded Millions For Awful Book. I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey, unless you count Buzzfeed’s abridged, illustrated version. But millions have bought author E.L. James’ book that began as fan fiction published through a website co-founded by Arlington woman Jennifer Pedroza. A jury last year found that Pedroza’s partner had cheated her out of her rightful share of royalties from the work, and on Thursday a judge awarded the Fort Worth schoolteacher $10.4 million in royalties plus $888,643 in pre-judgment interest, as well as $1.7 million in attorney’s fees. So Fifty Shades has made so much money that a woman who didn’t even write the thing, and is splitting her royalty share with the other partners who worked to publish it, still looks to make $11.5 million? Jeez, you people like your S&M.

Dallas Police Chief Doesn’t Need Your Resume. Testifying as part of a civil suit filed against the city, David Brown explained the process by which he decided whom to promote to the rank of major within the department. His “intricate vetting process” has “little need for resumes, job interviews, detailed personnel histories or opinions outside of his command staff.”

Kennedale Smells Like Old Rotted Fish. Parts of Arlington too. Residents there are blaming recent changes at a landfill run by the city of Fort Worth. If I were better acquainted with Kennedale, I’d insert a cutting punchline here. But for all I know it was previously a veritable Garden of Eden, redolent of lilac and baby powder.

Sam Wyly Considered Renouncing U.S. Citizenship

Dallas (former?) billionaire Sam Wyly is in the midst of a bankruptcy trial in U.S. District Court. He and his sister-in-law Dee declared bankruptcy in 2014 after a judge found Sam and his late brother Charles liable to the tune of $229 million for federal securities violations involving offshore trusts.

The headlining revelation from today’s hearing in the case is that Wyly considered giving up his U.S. citizenship in the hopes of avoiding tax obligations:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Holly Church started her cross-examination of Sam Wyly on Monday by reminding the witness that he testified last week how much he loves America and even cited the Boy Scout oath and its loyalty pledge to the country.

“Isn’t it true that you considered renouncing your citizenship?” Church asked.

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Dallas and Tarrant Counties Are Two of the Deadliest for Police Killings

An alert FrontBurnervian points us to a compelling story in the Guardian about the U.S. county with the most police killings per capita. It is Kern County, in California. You should read the story (the Guardian’s online presentation is pretty slick). But about midway through the story, I saw this chart and was a little startled to learn that Dallas and Tarrant counties are in a five-way tie for fifth place. I mean, Chicago has had a rash of gun violence, yet Cook County, Illinois, with more than twice Dallas County’s population, has fewer police killings. What’s going on here?

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Ahmed Mohamed’s Family Demands $15M From City of Irving and Irving ISD

The lawyers for the family of former Irving teenager Ahmed Mohamed sent a letter demanding $10 million from the city of Irving and $5 million from the Irving school district for how police and officials handled the clock controversy.

From the letter, via DMN:

He will continue for the rest of his days to experience pain and suffering. A large segment of potential employers will steer clear of Ahmed to avoid controversy, despite his many obvious talents. There is no other way to put it: his reputation in the global community is permanently scarred. One also that Ahmed, quite reasonably, will have a lifelong fear of the law enforcement and educational establishments that have let him down so terribly.

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Fifth Circuit Court Clears Stream Energy in Pyramid Scheme Suit

If you’ve been reading FrontBurner awhile, there’s a chance you’ll remember Scott Clearman. He’s the bow tie-wearing Houston attorney who filed a class-action suit against Stream Energy, alleging that the local power provider was a pyramid scheme. We were dragged into the affair because I profiled Stream’s founder, Rob Snyder, in 2006, and our sister pub D CEO wrote about him in 2010. I had some fun at Clearman’s expense in 2009, when he sent me a letter warning me that he might demand all the emails, ever, between me and Rob. Then I had a chuckle in 2012 when Clearman had D Magazine served.

Well, it has a taken many years and many dollars, but Clearman’s lawsuit is finally dead — or, if not fully dead, it’s doing that thing where it grabs at the gunshot wound in its stomach and gurgles right before it falls into a lifeless heap on the dirt road that runs through the center of town, as the sheriff holsters his six shooter. Sorry, I got carried away. Anyway, The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans reversed a lower court’s ruling. Stream put out a press release today about the matter.

As for Scott Clearman, though the State Bar says he’s eligible to practice in Texas, it appears that his law firm has been dissolved and he’s fighting with his former partners.

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Poll: Do Uber and Lyft Belong at D/FW Airport?

As Tim mentioned in Leading Off this morning, Dallas taxi operators have sued to prevent Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport from allowing drivers for app-based services like Uber and Lyft from picking up passengers there. Cabbies argue that “the entire culture that has developed at the airport taxicab queue is one based on the American dream.” By implication, D/FW officials hate the American dream.

What do you think?

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Forest City Sues Headington Companies

The writing’s been on the wall for a while now, but today it’s official: Forest City has sued Headington Companies. As I told you a couple weeks ago, the new Forty Five Ten will be very close to its neighbor, the Wilson Building (where I live). The new building’s height and proximity will block the windows in eight of the units facing west.

Both companies have spent a lot of money and a lot of time developing the core of the city (Headington with his work along Main; Forest City with its residential buildings). I guess it was only a matter of time until the two giants clashed.

The video above, prepared by Forest City’s team, shows their reasoning behind the lawsuit and the possible impact of the new building.

You can read the lawsuit here.

UPDATE 4:40 p.m.: Headington’s people respond.

“Our client believes the lawsuit grossly mischaracterizes the facts related to this project,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and lead counsel for Headington. “The project, which has enjoyed widespread support from many city leaders and community stakeholders, brings a significant new business to the downtown district.”

Brewer continued, “Although our client has attempted to work cooperatively with Forest City, they have rebuffed those efforts and instead chosen to file a lawsuit which we believe lacks merit. We believe the release by Forest City of a professional video in conjunction with the filing of the lawsuit should be viewed as what it is – a desperate attempt to disparage Headington and to extract value to which Forest City is not entitled.”

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Al Hill III Smacked Down with $40.9 Million Judgment

Hunt oil heir Al Hill III has gotten some bad news. Read this Texas Lawyer story if you want a fuller understanding. (If the link won’t let you read the story, just google “Al Hill” and “Texas Lawyer”; they’ll let you in through that door.) Upshot: a judge has ruled that an appeals court mandate stands, and Hill III owes a raft of lawyers nearly $41 million. That’s a big number. One wonders whether Hill III, now living in Atlanta, has ever considered pulling a Wyly.

Nina Pham: A Case Study in Media Manipulation

Please understand that I am not commenting here on the merits of Ebola survivor Nina Pham’s lawsuit against Texas Health Resources. She says she has nightmares and her hair is falling out. She says Presby used a video of her without her consent. Maybe she’s entitled to some money. And maybe, as she has said, she really does want to “make hospitals and big corporations realize that nurses and health care workers, especially frontline people, are important.”

No, what I want to talk about is Charla Aldous, the lawyer representing Pham. Because Aldous has pretty much posterized Texas Health, and right now she’s hanging on the rim, looking down at Texas Health, enjoying the afterglow of her monster dunk. If I’m reading her playbook correctly — and I’d like to think I am — here’s how she did it:

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Barrett Brown Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison, Looks Horrible in Mustard Yellow Jail Togs

Yesterday at the Earle Cabell Federal Building, in the fine city of Dallas, Texas, a fellow named Andrew Blake wore a curious t-shirt to Judge Sam Lindsay’s court for a hearing to determine how much longer Barrett Brown ought to stay in prison. Blake got his shirt while covering the trial of Chelsea Manning. It was black, with one word, in white, printed across its chest: “truth.” Before things got started yesterday, a federal marshal approached Blake and told him he had to cover up the word. In case you missed that: he had to cover up “truth.” In a courtroom. That’s how it went for much of yesterday, like a script for a bad movie that any reasonable studio executive would read and reject because no way could the plot transpire in real life.

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