Kunkle Also Wants to See Someone (City, DPD, DA's Office) Investigate Happy Trails Contract

HappyTrails_presser.jpg
Photo by Patrick Michels
Park and Rec director Paul Dyer, second from left, watches as Jake Schroepfer makes his Happy Trails presentation last Thursday at City Hall.
I've left messages and sent emails all over Dallas City Hall -- to City Manager Mary Suhm, Assistant City Manager Forest Turner (who oversees Park and Recreation), City Auditor Craig Kinton, city spokesman Frank Librio and Chris Heinbaugh in Mayor-For-Now Dwaine Caraway's office. I've been told they are all presently tied up in meetings. I've also sent a note and left a message for Jamille Bradfield, spokeswoman for Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins.

The question is, simply: What, if anything, do they intend to do about allegations made on Channel 8 last night that then-Park Board president Mike Rawlings and Park and Rec officials, including director Paul Dyer, made sure one of Rawlings' good friends got the Happy Trails safety campaign contract when it should have been put out for bid?

Ron Natinsky already told us, in the wee small hours of the morning, there needs to be a "full inquiry" to see if laws were broken. And moments ago, former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle told Unfair Park he thought Brett Shipp "did a good job building a case that city of Dallas officials intentionally conspired to violate state purchasing laws to benefit a friend of Mike Rawlings." Rawlings, Natinsky and Kunkle, of course, are all hoping to be elected Dallas mayor on Saturday.

Kunkle said he too believes an investigation is in order.

"I just don't know if the council is equipped to investigate," he said. "The city auditor maybe could, but I think it could potentially be a criminal investigation, so maybe they'd want to bring in somebody from the DA's office or the police department's white-collar crime section. The city of Dallas should initiate it, but it also could be initiated by the DA's office. I assume a citizen could also file a complaint. That's an allegation made on a network news affiliate that had a lot of viewers, and if what Brett Shipp said is true or close to true it appears there was an intent to violate state statutes when it comes to purchasing."

More to come.
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19 comments
Admonkey
Admonkey

I do love those "emails obtained by WFAA" without a FOI request. Wonder where that trail would lead.

This is nothing but an "October Surprise" writ small for local political consumption and with even less importance (other than to reveal suspect behavior on the part of paid City Staff, both in "advising" the payment structure of the contact and in releasing the emails).

My guess: a Natinsky longshot to shave enough R support away from Rawlings to edge Kunkle out of the runoff in order to set the final pairing as a Rawlings v. Natinsky race.

We'll see on Saturday, but I'd be surprised if it still didn't come down to a Kunkle/Rawlings runoff, leaving Ron plenty of time to mend fences with his family.

Jane Smith
Jane Smith

If the City Auditor was truly "independent", this kind of stuff would not be going on. I'm afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Admonkey
Admonkey

"Dallas officials intentionally conspired to violate state purchasing laws to benefit a friend of Mike Rawlings."

You'd be hard-pressed to find an advertising contract awarded in this city that didn't benefit a friend of Mike Rawlings, regardless of a city connection to Rawlings or not. He has that many friends. In the advertising industry, in particular.

The problem is with those "Dallas officials," not with Mike Rawlings.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Big difference, Admonkey, is that Rawlings wasn't in a position that oversees ad contracts for the city. He WAS in a position that oversaw funding for parks stuff when this happened. AND he holds himself up as the paragon of ethics, criticizing others in that area, like the anti-gay-marriage politician caught toe-tapping in the public restroom stall.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Thanks for playing, but the city Parks Director, not the committee chairman, has fiduciary responsibility over the Parks Department-- and up the chain of command to the City Manager, the Council and the Mayor.

And you miss the major point: it wouldn't have mattered what agency was awarded the contract; an award to any one of them would have been an award to "a friend of Mike Rawlings."

So I guess the real question, NATF, is, Ron? Is that you? How's the fam?

MattL1
MattL1

This is hardly surprising, but if you're still on the fence, this is one of those things that might make you fall to one side or the other. Aren't there already signs in existence that would have worked just fine anyway?

(As an aside, I'm going to have that damn Dirk song in my head the rest of the day.)

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Sorry about that. But I too am similarly afflicted, so take whatever comfort you can in that. Dirk, Dirk ... NOWITZKI.

MattL1
MattL1

At this point, it's my own damn fault. I've watched the thing at least 10 times.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

This is amazing.... who at WFAA screwed up and let this on the air? The Belo folks must be screaming for Brett Shipp's head right now!

I notice the DMN is holding true to form and not carrying the story, at least for now.

There is also no way that Craig Watkins will investigate a fellow Dallas County Democrat unless he kills a man in broad daylight at a Mavs Game.

P.S. I almost commented at the time on how bewildering it was that the City of Dallas thought it necessary to go out and commission special signs and a whole campaign-- also, the end product looked pretty craptastic.

There is plenty of off the shelf signage that would have worked just fine.

stupidisasstupiddoes
stupidisasstupiddoes

Leave it to Dallas to screw up something as simple as trail safety signs. Most bike trail builders across the country (including DORBA here in Dallas) are recommending that cities go with signs that are universally known across the world- ski signs. Because no matter whet country you're from, they are recognizable and language neutral. Now we have created a whole new system here that makes absolutely no sense to anyone but Dallas.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Brett Shipp and Dallas Observer are the best

Dr. Michael Mombasa
Dr. Michael Mombasa

Rawlings is just old school, Scratch My Back, I'll Scratch Yours. One of the problems, in Old School, they didn't have email where you could see all the parties that were getting scratched.

Thanks to Brett Shipp for getting the word out. All those early votes to Rawlings are now just a waste. I just hope on election day, Mike and all his Back Scratching Consultants can craw back into their little holes until the next big thing comes along.

Much success, Chief!!

Watching South Detroit
Watching South Detroit

and the DMN recommends Rawlings for Mayor? Sounds like more of the good old boy, back room deal network with the DMN in someone's pocket.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Link doesn't work

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Thanks for the heads-up. Fixed now. That's what happens when you put the blog in the hands of the lowest bidder without properly issuing a request for proposals.

nunya
nunya

And the plot thickens..

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