Ron Natinsky Wants "Full Inquiry" to See If Laws Were Broken When Mike Rawlings's Pal Got Trail Safety Campaign Contract

JakeFerguson.jpg
Photo by Patrick Michels
Jake Schroepfer at last week's debut of the Happy Trails campaign at Dallas City Hall
Speaking of ethics at City Hall...

So happens that Patrick stopped by Dallas City Hall Thursday, just as ad man Jake Schroepfer was giving his Happy Trails Dallas safety campaign presentation, which included that star-studded Junior Brown music video. Those photos come in handy this morning: WFAA's Brett Shipp had a piece last night tying Schroepfer (a former president of TracyLocke Promotions) to mayoral candidate Mike Rawlings, the former TraceyLocke CEO who was Park Board president when Schroepfer's agency, Jake:Ferguson, was awarded the safety campaign contract.

As Shipp documents, not only did the city fail to put out a request for bids, which is standard procedure for anything over $25,000, but Schroepfer's agency was directed by Park and Recreation Department staff how to low-ball the bid "so it does not look like we are being sneaky." Rawlings tells Shipp he recommended Jake:Ferguson, TracyLocke and the Richards Group -- though docs show way otherwise. Schroepfer acknowledges he and Rawlings are good pals who go way back, and campaign finance reports filed with the city show Rawlings has paid the agency thousands of dollars in "consulting" fees.

Immediately after the piece aired, I asked the other mayoral candidates' campaigns for a response to the story. The only one I've heard from is council member Ron Natinsky, the recent target of a Rawlings campaign press release over the undoing of the ethics ordinance on April 13. Natinsky had this to say at 12:04 this morning:
These are serious allegations made by WFAA, and a full inquiry into this matter needs to take place to determine if any laws or rules were violated. I assume all of the Mayoral candidates would agree that transparency is key.
Brett Shipp's report follows.

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20 comments
Really
Really

This is a classic example of a second-rate local "investigative" reporter willfully creating a controversy and spinning every out-of-context detail into a predetermined narrative, avoiding proper research because it would weaken the story, and all probably with the help and direction of Natinsky's political hacks.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

This is pretty serious sheet. Unlike 'my brother didn't treat my parents as well as he should have' this is ethics/political influence buying that affects the taxpayer. No bid for the contract because I am Mike's long-time friend, eh?

Yet another reason for me to shift my vote away from Rawlings.

Bullchitz Filter
Bullchitz Filter

The story is bogus. You have Rawlings basically saying, "I'm not sold on 'Agency B,' we should talk."

Here is how I would speculate that discussion went:

"Hey, glad you got back to me. I just watched that thing from The Richards Group. Nobody wants to watch first graders sing. I actually jabbed one of my eyeballs out, just to make it stop. That is not why we are spending this money. That Junior Brown spot is the shit. It's between that and Tracy Locke, and I am in no way getting in the middle of that one. You need to get the best ad. I don't know what you have to do in order to do that, but I'm telling you this is the ad you want, not that ridiculous shit that The Richards Group is pitching, I wouldn't watch that shit with Ron Natinsky's eyeballs."

I could not agree more with the need to investigate, but the Rawlings connection is just showbiz.

You can't find documentation of a "push" management style with the guy. He is a "puller." That's why his actual lone fuckup, which people SHOULD note, was trusting too much that the City Council would do the right thing when redistributing homeless shelters. East Dallas neighborhoods (and to a smaller extent, the homeless) got it up the bazooka chute there.

Follow the money. Channel 8 makes bank on this story for days.

warden62
warden62

Brett Shipp always does his homework. He's one of the few who keep me watching WFAA when I choose to watch local news on TV. The other old dude, what's his name, investigative reporter, does his homework too but is much more of a dick when he talks to people.

RS1963
RS1963

It just shows that he knows exactly how to run the city.

This type of friend/brother/cousin/auntie/husband/son "contract" is how the majority of deals are done with the city, DART, and especially DISD. As someone who has done bidding on similar projects, it was always irritating to find out that after you put in hours of yours and your company's time and expenses into the bid process, to find out that the winner was almost always someone with connections to the powers-that-be, or their relatives.

Oak Cliff Res
Oak Cliff Res

Any news on Natinsky's brother and his claims that their parents actually started the Dallas Tape Deck business and not Ron??? Maybe a full inquiry should be looked into that.

3rd Wheel Marketing
3rd Wheel Marketing

I think this says more about WFAA than anything. The timing is suspect in my opinion.

Nttaylor1
Nttaylor1

For a minute there, he almost fooled me. Now I see Rawlings is just another crook.

Why does money and power continually make people corrupt?

PizzaTheHut
PizzaTheHut

When this city learn that these big time CEO guys didn't get to CEOs for their amazing business ability. Sure you gotta be smart but you also gotta do ALOT of favors for ALOT of people and then they do you some favors and when you get to public office you gotta pay them ALL back. Leppert did it with Turner and Rawlings will do it with the myriad of businesses he was involved with.

City Credit Union will be replaced by Ace Check Cashing

All meals for city events will now be provided by Pizza Hut

Love Field and DFW concessions will be run by Legends Hospitality

Guess Dallas can't just wake up to this...

Stop being fooled by the big corporation business people and start listening to the small business people. These CEO types couldn't run a small business if their life depended on it. All they know is quid pro quo and excel spreadsheets.

Admonkey
Admonkey

Of course he does-- anything to suck the oxygen away from his brother!

md
md

Agencies don't typically do spec work. It's more conceivable they would have presented concepts. But before that point there is typically a Request For Proposal sent out to prospective agencies. Then those that make a short list pitch their ideas.

The news report says Tracey Locke and the Richards Group were never invited to submit a proposal. If you come up with a short list off the top of your head and simply pick one you haven't done your due diligence.

My question would be who initiated the campaign? Was it the Parks Board or did Jake Ferguson approach them? If the latter, they might have felt some obligation to go with them.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

You are right on one thing. What you wrote is your speculation. Nothing more.

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

Yes, because that matters SO much to the taxpayers of Dallas. I am sure all the Washingtons just loved George and none of the Lincolns had a gripe against Abe. Give me a break. This is about ethics violations, possible laws being broken. Let's geet serious shall we?

Anon
Anon

From the DMN:

In today's paper, I had a story about Ron Natinsky's brother's accusation that the mayoral candidate wasn't being truthful about how his first business, Dallas Tape Deck, began.Today I heard from a guy who says he did business with Dallas Tape Deck way back the year it opened, 1967, and it seemed clear to him that Natinsky, not his father, was calling the shots."The father was just working there; the father didn't run the company at all," said the man. "Really and truly, Ron did run that company. He was the only person I dealt with, because he was the one that made all the decisions. So what he's saying there is true."The man on the phone was none other than cellphone magnate Alan Goldfield, who is most famous for the monstrous, 48,000-square-foot palace he and his wife built for themselves a few years back out in Hickory Creek south of Denton. (It's for sale, if you're interested.)Goldfield said that before he started his cell phone company, CellStar, he managed another company, Allied Recorded Sound, that sold tapes wholesale to retailers like Dallas Tape Deck. He said he stopped by Natinsky's shop occasionally, as he did all his customers."I can't tell you who's on the paperwork or whatever, but they did pass the credit check," Goldfield said. "As far as I knew he (Ron Natinsky) was the owner, and he made all the decisions.""The father was a nice guy, and what I remember specifically was his father telling me how proud he was of Ron," he said.Goldfield said after the 1960s, he's seen Natinsky only once -- when he ran into him at a City Hall event a few years ago."I'm just calling because I don't like people to get damaged when it's not true," Goldfield said. "If it's true, screw 'em, I don't give a s*&#, you know."

NotAnotherTaskForce
NotAnotherTaskForce

I would agree...EXCEPT...the whole signage thing has only happened in the past couple of months. And Belo endorsed Rawlings. No, this is a widely respected investigative reporter doing his job. Good for him. Rawlings may still get elected but now he cant sit on his righteous ethics horse the way he was before.

PizzaTheHut
PizzaTheHut

Belo has recommended Rawlings for mayor... why would they undercut their own guy unless it was so true that they had to. This trails commercial just came out.

Montemalone
Montemalone

It's more likely corrupt people seek out money and power.

I don't know you , but you probably have some sort of moral compass that tells you that certain things are wrong, and you don't do them.

These guys have no such thought process, it's only "What's in it for me and how soon can I get it?"

dertymindz
dertymindz

Dude, I thought you ate yourself?

Bullchitz Filter
Bullchitz Filter

MD: I think that's a good point. Still, though, it's just about City Staff. Even if what happened was that Mike Rawlings led a selfish, scorched-earth campaign against his former company and Richards Group, and paved the path for his friend on nothing but a wish to see him profit...there is no "there" there when it comes to the actual violation being alleged.

Not for Rawlings. For the staffer, sure. Absolutely. You don't have to look hard to see that someone did something stupid, wrote it down in an email, and then answered other emails about it. But the only thing it said that Mike Rawlings did was talk to the guy about why he had gone cold on ONE of the vendors.

The story was made about Mike Rawlings because that's the only thing that would make it worth airing. $$ Follow the money. It's the root of all evil, and most truth.

Bullchitz Filter
Bullchitz Filter

Absolutely. But the Park Board is just another set of Council Appointees who get together and vote on things that City Management ignores. The story about Paul Dyer circumventing the bid process...probably true. Clearly true. Rawlings' ethical culpability? Zero. He is supposed to advocate for what he wants as a Board member. That's what they do...It's not like a corporate board. They have no fidiciary accountability.

City Management did this. On some level, that's where the trail ends. They're the executive branch in Dallas government, not the Mayor/Council.

It is not speculation to understand that Channel 8 has a meal ticket for four days if this is about Rawlings, and a non-story if it's about Paul Dyer.

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