Dallas Developer H. Walker Royall Abuses Eminent Domain, Is a Royal Pain

I know a lot of Dallas developers and H. Walker Royall isn’t one of them. For which I’m thankful. According to The Institute for Justice, Royall abuses eminent domain and then sues anyone and anything that calls him out on it.

According to the IJ’s website:

Royall worked with the city of Freeport, Texas, to try to condemn a generations-old shrimp business owned by the Gore family to make way for a luxury marina. The project became the subject of the book, Bulldozed: “Kelo,” Eminent Domain, and the American Lust for Land, authored by veteran legal journalist Carla Main. Bulldozed tells the story of Freeport’s plan to take the Gores’ waterfront property for Royall’s luxury marina development project. Only hours after the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain abuse decision, the city instructed its attorneys to redouble their efforts to seize the Gore family business. Bulldozed unravels why, after years of litigation, the threat of condemnation continues to hang over the Gores. The book was reviewed in many newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, was nominated for the Texas Historical Commission’s annual T.R. Fehrenbach Book Award and it won a highly competitive independent press award for political science writing.

Royall sued Main and her publisher Encounter Books, for defamation, and he “even sued nationally renowned Law Professor Richard Epstein who wrote a blurb for the book’s dust jacket. When someone reviewed the book, he sued him. When two newspapers published that review, he sued them.”

Rather than try to defend his indefensible effort to have the government take someone’s land for his private development project, H. Walker Royall sues and sues and sues and sues,” said Matt Miller, executive director of the Institute for Justice Texas Chapter, which is defending the book’s author, the publisher and law professor Epstein. Earlier, when the Gores—the original victims of Royall’s eminent domain abuse effort in Freeport—complained against Royall’s actions, he sued them for defamation. That lawsuit is ongoing.

Full story is here.

Thursday Roundup: Fishy Searches in Addison, Fishy Hotel Claims, Fishy Bailouts & More

  • Mr. Jones said that bookings at the center are up 20 percent to 25 percent over last year on word of progress on the hotel.” I’m sorry, I don’t believe there’s any evidence of causation at all, and Philip Jones has shown that he is not factually neutral when it comes to pushing the city into this $550 million (and growing) boondoggle.
  • North Texas cities are lining up at the trough. Their list of items they want the rest of America to pay for is — frankly disgraceful: skate parks, tennis centers, unmanned drones (for God’s sake), and the biggest joke of all, hundreds of millions for the city-owned taxpayer hotel, which is such a great investment it already needs a bailout.
  • “I’m a simple country boy from Nebraska, and all I want from politicians is to educate my grandchildren and give me highways I can drive on,” said Larry Ihfe, who smoked at the Dallasite bar in East Dallas while watching the council session on television. “I have to have a four-wheel-drive truck to drive the streets in Dallas, and the City Council is more concerned about me smoking in a bar.” I have nothing to add. Except a disgusted head shake.

Wednesday Roundup: Smoking Ban, He’s Got Crabs & More

Dallas takes another step down the yellow brick road of paternalism. I’ll have more on this nanny state mentality in the February issue of D Magazine.

“The man told officers that he accidentally drove over his uncle during a fight, police said.”

McKinney man’s crabs cost him $1,910. Seriously? A fine for transporting crabs?

So was this one-day kidnapping just another inept failed crime by some incompetent criminals, or a portent of things to come with Mexican kidnapping customs working their way north of the border?

Tuesday Roundup: Leppert Wants a Hotel Bailout, Russ Martin Off the Air & More

  • Mayor Tom Leppert’s hat-in-hand visit to DC was more embarrassing than I thought. According to the folks at “Citizens Against The Taxpayer-Owner Hotel,” Leppert asked for pork to pay for the $550 million convention center hotel project. Anne Raymond, whose heading up the opposition to the hotel project, was at no loss for words. “Following in the footsteps of failed Wall Street banks and automakers, Leppert’s request for federal funds for a hotel bailout illustrates exactly what a money-losing venture this would be.” Saving grace? Leppert’s just one in a long line of city mayors lining up at the trough for a feeding.
  • One of the movers behind the brilliant DISD grading policy — the one where you get to retake tests until you pass and homework can’t be counted against you if it would lower your grade — is leaving.
  • I’m betting the firing of Russ Martin isn’t going to go over well in the short or long term. His fans are uncommonly committed, and I just don’t see yet another sports radio station making much of a dent in The DFW.

Monday Roundup: Busting Drug Cops, It’s Not News It’s AP, Death Penalty Conundrum, Dallas GOP & More

  • This may be the coolest thing this week — a show that puts drug cops under the spotlight, and it’s done with at least as much fairness as all the breathless, mouth-breathing reality cop shows like “DEA” and “Cops.” It’s called “Kop Busters,” and they stage houses to be raided by cops that use phony information to get illegal search warrants. Here’s a rundown on what Kop Busters does, and here’s raw footage of the raid where they punked Odessa narcotics officers. (Via Robert Guest via the Agitator via nevergetbusted.com.)
  • This is one of those stories that belong in the “people actually meet online and date” file. Why should this be surprising in the least? What are modern video games except interactive entertainment?
  • Every time I think I’ve finally overcome my last vestiges of support of the death penalty– and it’s been a hard decision to settle on — along comes a guy who deserves it so much it throws a wrench into the works. Anyone else have this problem?
  • That’s it. I’m converting my daughter to Amish. Amishism. Whatever. Before she’s 16. And I’m giving her male classmates walking tours of my home armory. And the swampland where I can dump bodies.
  • My colleague Sam Merten does a bangup job profiling Jonathan Neerman’s vision for the future of the Dallas County Republican Party. Neerman hits a bulls-eye with this: “We spend too much time worrying about shit that doesn’t matter.” (*cough* gay marriage, border fence, school prayer, online gambling, Internet porn, gay adoption, the War on Drugs *cough*)

Friday Roundup: “Rent” Oh My, Unequal Justice, NO More Cowbell

  • Some Rowlett parents think that if the high school cancels its production of “Rent,” students will be shielded from ever having to hear about topics like drug abuse and homosexuality. Good luck with that. By the way, take a guess how many of the protesters have even seen the play.
  • Scott Henson at Grits for Breakfast asks why there have been no charges filed against the crazy woman whose phony child abuse report triggered the state’s raid of the Yearning for Zion property and the separation of more than a hundred children from their parents.
  • This is my worst nightmare.
  • Correction. This is:

Thursday Roundup: Inland Port, Leppert Silences the Masses, Selling Fear & More

  • Jim Schutze gets what I’ve been saying about this inland port “master plan” scam. Good stuff, especially on how the Perot’s interests are involved. Except as my friend Michael Davis points out — he goes overboard in making point about South Dallas. I’ve been guilty of that, too; Michael’s point being that South Dallas is no more a homogeneous block than any other part of Dallas.
  • You’re the ex-FBI agent who helped fumble the OKC bombing investigation a decade ago, and now you’re in the security business for yourself. How do you drum up business? Why, spread a little fear around and watch the media lap it up.
  • And speaking of — you know the recent judge’s ruling that red-light cameras in Texas are illegal? (Woo hoo!) Buried at the end of this story, you have the claim that, “Even if the judge is right, it doesn’t affect any of the past notices that have been issued. If you get [a citation] before the court takes any action, you need to pay it.” This is absolutely false. You do not need to pay a red-light camera fine. It does not affect your driving record, your driver’s license, and it cannot be used against your credit rating. There is absolutely no consequence for refusing to pay one of these illegally levied fines. Tear it up the ticket and throw it away. Show some backbone and assert your rights.

Into the Air, Junior Birdmen!

I have discovered my next hobby. If you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas, there you go.

Wednesday Roundup: Gay Old Time, Mass Transit Hysteria & More

  • My friend Jacob Sullum — honestly, I have no idea where this guy finds the time to write so much — explains so even the thickest brow social conservative can understand why the gays should be free to marry and adopt, and why it’s none of government’s business in the first place. Meanwhile, the lower primate wing of the GOP will likely take this poll on (most) black people’s attitudes about gays to mount another dead-end offensive. Meanwhile, a few Republicans are starting to get it.
  • The best hope from this story? The “new plan is too ambitious and, perhaps worse, too complicated to pass the Legislature.” Which is nice. Because as hard as it may be for the backers of mass transit schemes to believe, we might need those hundreds of millions a year more than they do. If your idea is so great, you pay for it. Don’t force the rest of us to.
  • The actual content of the story here contradicts the headline. And this one, too. The lazy headline writer trifecta is in play. Submit your find.

Tuesday Roundup: Choke Me Spank Me Driver Lady, Girls Gone Wild & More

  • Usually you have to pay a woman to spank and choke you — so I’m told — but a Plano bus driver was doing it for free to one of her riders. (Bonus: Sociopaths praise this psycho woman in the comments section.)
  • There’s something about cute girl criminals that’s just…Wait. What’s her age? Never mind.
  • Carolyn Barta sums up the case against a city-owned convention center hotel nicely: “Despite the economic collapse all around us and warnings in the media of municipalities in trouble, the Dallas City Council is barreling forward to build a convention center hotel. Never mind that the credit crunch is making the floating of new bonds harder. And never mind that a May referendum is yet to be held to get taxpayer approval.”