Belo Corp. Board Member, Convention Center Hotel Folks and Jerry Jones Top List of Mayor Tom Leppert's Fund-Raising Pals

leppert_hotelpointing.jpg
Patrick Michels
That hotel victory is the gift that keeps on giving.
While his political future remains unclear, Mayor Tom Leppert raised a combined $243,000 in donations in the first half of this year, according to campaign finance reports filed yesterday. Meanwhile, his officeholder account and two specific-purpose committees -- Friends of Tom Leppert and Re-Elect Tom Leppert -- netted only $86,000, with about half of the expenses landing in Leppert's pocket to help repay the $950,000 he dished out to become mayor in 2007.

Both Nancy Hunt, the wife of oilman Ray Hunt, and beer distributor Barry Andrews donated the maximum contribution ($5,000) to Leppert's officeholder account twice. But, as consultant Laura Reed Martin told Unfair Park, it doesn't violate city code because the payments were allocated to the 2007 election cycle to pay off debt. (The maximum contribution applies to each election cycle.)

Leppert's loan balance dropped to $792,000 thanks to additional maximum contributions from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and wife Gene, billionaire Harold Simmons and wife Annette, along with 5G Studio Collaborative, one of the convention center hotel's architects.

McHenry Tichenor highlights the donor list for Leppert's re-election campaign, which hauled in $147,000. Tichenor's a private investor and executive director of the WWWW Foundation, but more important, he serves as one of Belo Corp.'s 10-member board of directors. Belo Corp. owns both WFAA-TV and Texas Cable News (TXCN).

In addition to helping Leppert retire his debt, Nancy Hunt and Jerry and Gene Jones also gave $5,000 donations to the mayor's re-election campaign. Joining them were Boka Powell, the convention center hotel's other architect, Robert Rowling, founder of convention center hotel operator Omni's holding company, and New York residents Kenneth and Elaine Langone. Kenneth is chairman of Geeknet and a former board member of the New York Stock Exchange and Home Depot. Former Pizza Hut CEO Mike Rawlings, who Leppert has chosen to chair the city's Park Board, kicked in $1,000.

Ann Margolin led all other council members with $62,000 raised, although reports from Vonciel Hill and Carolyn Davis have yet to be filed. Surprisingly, two names tossed around as potential successors to Leppert should he not seek re-election and instead pursue U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's seat in the March 2012 primary -- Angela Hunt and Ron Natinsky -- bring in the rear along with Jerry Allen with no dough raised.

As the council prepares to make a decision on the concession contracts at Dallas Love Field Airport, it's worth pointing out that food and beverage concessionaire Gilbert Aranza, a frequent contributor to various council members' campaigns (including Leppert) throughout the years, donated zilch over the past six months, even as the contracts were headed to an important February 22 vote by the Transportation and Environment Committee and subsequent April 28 and June 23 scheduled votes by the full council.

Aranza says he won't be showing up on Davis' or Hill's reports once they become available, as does state Representative Helen Giddings, who gave to just one person: 150 bucks to Tennell Atkins.

Other council members' reports:

Dave Neumann: $38,645
Friends of Dave Neumann: $450

Tennell Atkins: $19,400

Delia Jasso: $13,980

Linda Koop: $13,850

Dwaine Caraway: $5,850

Steve Salazar: $3,050

Pauline Medrano: $550

Sheffie Kadane: $250



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