Police and Fire Pension Fund Should Never Underestimate the Powers of Dave Neumann

Categories: Schutze

Dave Neumann can throw hexes on people.

On the Opinion Blog of The Dallas Morning News today, editorial writer Rudy Bush identifies one Dave Neumann as "a clearly unqualified former council member" in reference to Neumann's recent brief engagement as a public relations consultant to the city's police and fire pension fund.

Unfair? Could be.

The fund, in trouble over stupid investments, is clicking its claws trying to crab-walk backwards from a threatened external audit. The fund hired Neumann, a former City Council member from a demographically diverse district, at $5,000 a month to help it with "public relations." Bush, who uncovered the arrangement, has described Neumann several times as having no background in public relations. Neumann has already been fired by the fund.

But wait. What is public relations? That is the question. In this case, public relations is getting out of an external audit. How could Neumann have helped the fund do that? I don't know. I can only guess.

This is sheer speculation, but if I were a former council member from a diverse district, here is how I might pitch my deal to the anxiety-ridden claw-clickers at the pension fund. Please imagine me in a board room with a bow tie using a laser pointer to call attention to a large projected graphic on the wall showing head shots of all 15 members of the City Council, including the mayor.

"Fifteen votes total on the council, eight votes to kill the audit," I would tell them. "We need to offer cover -- something they can do instead of an audit. Anything. I'll come up with an idea over the weekend and tell you Monday. Maybe group therapy. Just no audit.

"For votes we start at the soft end. Everything begins and ends, in fact, with the black members from southern Dallas. The trick is to sign up the black votes, then use those votes to leverage North Dallas white votes.

"I am a made guy from a diverse district. I can get a call returned from everybody on the council but Scott Griggs, the son of a bitch who beat me, and who needs him?

"Most of the black members are going off the council soon because of term limits. They're hungry. You've got a big fat pension fund. It won't take much -- a modest position in one of the management companies you use, something untraceable. C'mon, you were paying some dude in Hawaii $300,000 a year as a house sitter, right? Give me half that to work with, and I can get you three solid black votes to kill the audit.

"Now we play. North Dallas member Jennifer Staubach Gates needs votes to get her husband's development deal done at Preston and Northwest Highway. She's close to the votes she needs anyway. She doesn't need big help, just insurance. We give her a script about how somebody she knows benefitted once from group therapy. Doesn't matter: If I can pledge three solid votes to her for her husband's deal, she'll come my way.

"Gates is usually bonded at the hip with North Dallas member Lee Kleinman. The problem with Kleinman, though, is that he's going to be afraid to do anything that looks friendly to the pension fund for fear of pissing off the culture-vulture community, who hate the pension fund because that condo tower they built is reflecting too much sunlight on the Nasher Sculpture Center.

"Offer to blow it up. No, seriously, at this point all you care about is the audit, and the condo tower is costing you more votes than it's worth. Tell Kleinman you are going to blow up the condo tower and you will let him push the plunger on TV. He's in. No audit for him.

"OK that's five votes. We only need three more. I send my three black council members to all the old white people on the council, and they threaten to start a civil rights movement in Dallas.

"Think about it. We've never had one. The old white people will start having nightmares -- black and white newsreel footage from the '60s. Listen to me, it's just this button we can push. It's always good for at least two elderly white votes. We'll give them a script where they can say they decided to forestall the audit 'while tempers cool.' Always good for two votes.

"So that's seven. Almost over the top. The last one, that ultimate vote you are paying me to get for you, is the mayor. I know. I know. The mayor has been talking big for a half year about wanting an audit. But I can do it. He's a get that I can do.

"How? You may have to trust me on this. All I can tell you is that there's somebody still lurking in the corridors over there, somebody I know well, somebody for whom I was a boot-licking lackey during all my years on the council, somebody who owes me, and she has the power to flip the mayor on a dime no matter what he's been promising the public for the last six months.

"She's supposed to be retired, and they're afraid to ask her to leave the building. What does that tell you? All we need to talk about now is a modest advance on my next 12 months fee."

That's public relations, people. Screw the public. Have some relations. Are we sure Neumann is not the man?

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primi_timpano topcommenter

I am still awaiting justice for Christina Rees.


This would be a plausible story for a successful local politician. Neumann was an abject failure. If his connections were worth a damn, or he had dirt on anyone who mattered, he could have won re-election.


The funds problems are only just beginning. Any fund with that much exposure to real estate has more to fall. This is what happens when an Administrator works the system with very few checks and balances to invest in what he wants and grease his "buddies". Tettamant and the rest of the staffers used the fund as their own source of cash to take exotic trips and luxuries on the backs of police and firefighters - Disgusting!!!

I really dont want to hear shit from the Council now, everyone (including me) heard this was going on with Tettamant and his relationships!    


It was a ridiculous task, similar to opening negotiations with Russians as they rolled through suburbs of Nazi Berlin.  Nobody is going to stop an audit in 2014 unless Mother Teresa runs the fund.  The Pension Fund has no friends and would not get any at last minute.  People basically knew what the audit would create, the staff bounced, the City Council reps changed.  They should have retired and taken off for Belize.


How to button hole the black councillors. Rumor has it they live in the burbs, not their putative abodes in their districts. But that's ankther column of fraud digging.

Maybe get bush and Robberson on that.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

This would be amusing as hell, if I was 100% certain that Dallas politics didn't work this way.  Unfortunately, it seems that is probably an entirely too-accurate portrayal of gettin 'er done in Dallas.

holmantx topcommenter

He was hired to lobby.  You just can't call him that, and its in the DPD's initial kiss anyways.

Kinda like getting something punched through Building Permits down on Jefferson.

You have to hire a former employee in Building Permits as a . . . consultant to . . . facilitate.

Monkey see monkey do.

The DPF didn't need a "public relations consultant".  

They just needed to demonstrate they were willing to give an ex employee (in this case an elected one) a wad of cash.  That he might make a few phone calls is only icing on the cake.

The DPF had the council at the hire.  The rest is a kabuki a fan dance no one pays attention to.


I also heard that certain developers had blank checks from DPFPF, courtesy of Tettamant. Developers like the one that developed the Convention Center Hotel that Omni manages. 

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