Who’s Behind RIP Dallas, Part One

RIP Dallas has already become a punchline in Dallas, but what’s amazing is the group claims to have no association with Mayor Leppert or the official Vote No! organization. No, it’s just a bunch of hip 20somethings who have the best interest of Dallas at heart.

But here’s a rundown a few of the people behind it:

  • Dupree Scovell, the apparent ringleader, is the scion of John ScovellPresident of the Dallas Citizens Council and head of Woodbine Development, which has been trying for years to get the People’s Hotel built. According to a regular and reliable reader and source, the elder Scovell is owner of the Hyatt Regency, has a residual interest in the land under Reunion Arena, and a leasehold interest in Union Station– all of which are located next to the area of the proposed convention center hotel. Woodbine is owned by Ray Hunt. (Old is the new young?)
  • Ben Browder is a real estate lawyer at Hunton & Williams.

Jump at the bottom for RIP Dallas’ filings with the City Secretary.

Coming Soon: Part Two — Who Else Is Involved In This Cluster?

Questions posed to a prominent member of RIP Dallas as yet unanswered by the source:

1) Who is providing financial backing for the Young Professionals and RIP Dallas? How does that break down, and what are the organizations’ budgets, expenditures, etc.?
2) Who are the governing members and officers of YP and RIPD?
3) Who designed the website?
4) Who covered the cost of the event last week?
5) What is Woodbine and Trammell Crow Co’s involvement?
6) What PR company designed this campaign?
7) Why are RIP Dallas signs being placed in vacant lots, for sale homes, and other sites in violation of city code?

Not that I don’t have some of the answers already; I’d just like to get it up front.

EDIT: It’s T. Dupree Scovell if commenter Chris, who uses phrases like “Mr. Angry Pants,” is right.




  1. Nathan says:

    My understanding is that Ray Hunt – who built the Hyatt and Reunion – has first right of refusal if and when the city decides to unload the land that Reunion sits on. That makes the two biggest non-government land interest holders in that corner of downtown Ray Hunt (Woodbine) and Belo. Now that’s a bad cocktail.

    And Scovell’s employment with Trammell Crow Co. does not, as I understand, put him anywhere underneath Harlan Crow. Trammell Crow Co. is a subsidiary of CB Ellis, not Crow Holdings. Just so people don’t get the idea that Dupree is some sort of modern day William Wallace.

  2. Pour One Out for Dallas says:

    I’m not sure if you are headed down the right path there, Trey. If people want to compare self interested motivations of the two camps, I think Ol’ Harlan wins in a landslide.
    Keep digging, though, this little blog of yours can be pretty comical at times.

  3. amanda says:

    Can the bad PR zingers stop? RIP was a bad idea, poorly executed, and is going to actually hurt the cause they wanted to help. It’s not working.

  4. Tom says:

    If this is the “next generation” of leaders for the Dallas Citizens Council, I look forward to reading of the group’s demise.

  5. RIP Dallas says:

    Dear Trey,

    Hope this helps…

    1) Who is providing financial backing for the Young Professionals and RIP Dallas? How does that break down, and what are the organizations’ budgets, expenditures, etc.?
    A: To date, no money has been spent, and everything has been an in-kind contribution by individuals, vendors and businesses that support our cause (though we will have to spend some money soon – albeit a small amount). The estimated budget for the entire effort is approximately $10-15K, and that includes all of the in-kind donations and what we need to spend for materials, etc. It’s a cheap campaign fueled by people who are donating their time, efforts, and talents; not their pocketbooks. The only materials we need to buy are signs and tee-shirts. The services required for events we’ve done and plan to do are mostly donated. For example, the lunch last Thursday was provided for free by the generous Eddie Deen. That was an in-kind contribution. Hopefully, if we can raise funds, we will try to compensate Eddie Deen later, but the goal now is to make sure Dallas knows about our concerns, and hears both sides of the argument.

    2) Who are the governing members and officers of YP and RIPD?
    A: The conversation started amongst a few like-minded young professionals. We were upset about the effort to stifle growth in Dallas (and it’s even worse that the YES campaign has been challenging the mayor’s integrity and spreading misinformation), and decided to do something about it rather than talk about it. The few people who you have sniffed out are indeed involved, but the way the lunch was organized was that 50 people who agreed on this issue each invited 10 more people. It’s a simple formula. The reason we don’t want to give credit to any ONE person is because this is a roundtable effort where we want people to run with their own ideas and have some fun with this. We couldn’t do anything without the help of MANY individuals. You will see the faces and words of supporter on our website very soon (we’re moving as fast as we can).

    3) Who designed the website?
    A: Do you mean who technically put it together, or who came up with the concept? All will be in the reports we file in terms of web hosting etc., but the concept was kind of a melting pot of ideas that was turned into reality by our wonderful web guy. It all had to move pretty fast as you may have guessed.

    4) Who covered the cost of the event last week?
    A: See #1

    5) What is Woodbine and Trammell Crow Co’s involvement?
    A: Absolutely none. Individuals in our group represent themselves and not their firms. We want to make this point abundantly clear.

    6) What PR company designed this campaign?
    A: A bunch of amateurs/volunteers who all bounced ideas off each other (that’s why it can be a bit rough around the edges – we don’t have the money to bring in the big guns). No one was paid. We just wanted to draw the attention that you’re giving us (thanks).

    7) Why are RIP Dallas signs being placed in vacant lots, for sale homes, and other sites in violation of city code?
    A: Not exactly sure. We’re a volunteer organization, and we’ve noticed people have been moving signs around. We apologize if that caused any nuisance.

  6. Mister Charlie says:

    R.I.P. and ‘Enough is Enough’ are so transparent. These people will profit from a convention hotel whether it flops or not. This is a government bailout for downtown real estate interests, spreading all the risk among Dallas citizens.

    Come on, anybody who knows Dallas knows that these two groups represent the city’s business elite. These people and their spawn are extremely wealthy and well-connected. The people on the list of ‘Enough is Enough’ supporters could put together a convention hotel deal without public backing, but the financial markets don’t buy the business plan, so they are going to try to get Dallas citizens to take all the risk.

    If the convention center hotel gets built, the downtown real estate interests and the developers – R.I.P. and ‘Enough is Enough’ – will benefit from the new development no matter what, but they will reap the lion’s share of any real gains while the citizens shoulder 100% of the risk.

  7. Chris says:

    Once again, Mister Charlie knows nothing of what he speaks.

    Hey Charlie — arent you and Mr. “Deep Ellum” the ones who had all of the investment brokers in my office guffawing over your post elsewhere that said an entrpreneur is one “who takes a risk in a business USING HIS OWN MONEY? Sort of hard to take anything you say seriously after that one.

    That plus the idea that RIP Dallas represents the business elite. So the 10 or so students from Paul Quinn College who belong to the group is your definition of the city’s business elite. And the smattering of Oak Cliff democrats who belong. And the gay guys from Oak Lawn and Lakewood who are making donations? Can you even spell the word C-O-A-L-I-T-I-O-N?

    And has it dawned on you that when the convention center hotel passes, we RIP kids will also be bearing part of that 100 percent risk as citizens of Dallas. Guess who won’t be though? Non-citizen Harlan Crow.

    Now I’m sorry refresh my memory…what is that widely held definition of an entrepreneur again, Mr. Angry Pants? Get the truth at http://www.ripdallas.com/blog

  8. Chris says:

    PS — I’ve never even met the guy face to face but I at least do my research well enough to know the guy’s name is T. Dupree Scovell, not J. Dupree Scovell.

    Strike yet another one for the lack of credibility on this blog. Um, it’s called basic Journalism 101 fact checking, gentlemen…

  9. Mister Charlie says:

    Chris, I can tell by your writing that you have no friends.

  10. Wylie H. says:

    One of Eddie Dean’s major sources of income appears to be catering events at the Dallas Convention Center; another large client is the City of Dallas.

  11. Wylie H. says:
  12. Wylie H. says:

    Of the five R.I.P speakers to City Council, two (Brett Shropshire and Dejuan Collins) are on the Mayor’s Southern Sector Taskforce (along with Dupree Scovell) http://www.southerndallas.org/documents/meetings/ED%20-%20Minutes%201.27.09.pdf

    Of the three others:

    Alexis Martinez works at Pillar Commercial Real Estate, where she reports to Manuel Ybarra who is a long-time City political appointee. He has served on various city boards, including Dallas’ Planning and Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment. He is a current member of Dallas’ Real Estate Task Force, a committee established to advise the city council and staff on economic development issues and real estate projects impacting the city of Dallas. He has served on the board of directors for Dallas’ Downtown Improvement District.

    Dominique LaShae (one of the other R.I.P. speakers) is the head of a “grassroots” marketing and ad agency: http://www.theqnetwork.com/services.php

    Lindsey Allen (another of the R.I.P. speakers) is a real estate broker at Transwestern. She is also a member of the Trinity Trust and Launch the Trinity (in addition to several real estate organizations).

  13. Wylie H. says:

    Since when does a grassroots group go out and retain The Richards Group as for p.r. services during their first week of operation?

  14. Build it and they will come says:

    Chris-I’m your friend.

    Everyone else–I find it interesting that you point fingers at the RIP members like what they are doing is against the law or they’re trying to undermine something. Did I wake up in Russia?

    What should be against the law is ONE guy putting almost $3 MILLION of HIS on money behind this Vote Yes campaign. Maybe Harlan is just pissed that he doesn’t own the Reunion Arena and Eddie Deen’s property.

  15. Wylie H. says:

    I suspect that Harlan is upset that the city is planning to use tax revenues (including the very substantial taxes paid by his hotel) to compete directly against him using the following unfair advantages:
    1) low-interest tax-exempt debt (which gives the city a low interest rate);
    2) government-guaranteed debt (which gives the city an ever lower interest rate);
    3) a virtually unlimited pocketbook (in the form of forced taxpayer subsidies in the event the hotel runs into some lean times); and
    4) exemption from property tax payments.

    “Build it and they will come” – I have no idea what you do for a living, but how would you feel if you built a successful business and the City of Dallas decided open an identical business to compete directly against you?

  16. Stephen King Scovell says:

    Trey, Wylie, Mister Charlie, and Nathan

    Thank you for uncovering the largest conspiracy this side of the North Pole. You have now connected almost every dot of the pro development plot.

    Allow me to get you over the hump – T. (Tyler) Dupree Scovell is the Great Grandson of Bertie. Grandson of Ganner, Granddad, Gammal, and Pop Pop. Son of John and brother of myself (hello my name is King).

    There’s more – Dupree happens to be related to his mom, dad, and 2 brothers and all have the same last name. Coincidence?… I think not.

    So team conspiracy theory – what i think we have here is a family. I’ll keep you posted as this unfolds…

  17. White Shoes Johnson says:

    Wylie, other than the fact that it is a free market and who on earth would try and duplicate a concept like a hotel with meeting space, you forgot that Harlan has spent $5m to protect his neighboring city’s tax payers – not to protect his own asset.

  18. Chris says:

    And of course Harlan is a relative of Trammell who begat Jonah who begat Rachel who begat…wait I’ve gotten carried away here.

    So, you truly think your readers are so naieve as to believe that all of the 150 people who showed up at City Hall last week, and all of the 680 who attended the launch luncheon at Eddie Deen — every single one — has a trust fund they live off of?

    And not a single one of the 8 who showed up for the Vote Yes group at City Hall this week does not?

    Good luck with that… I guess I respect your readers’ intelligence more than you do…

  19. Chris says:

    Um, Wylie, on the subject of the city competing against Harlan…what do you call Harlan having built a convention complex within the Anatole a few years back?

    Or do you think he just didn’t KNOW the city of Dallas has a convention center…???

  20. East of 75 says:

    Who else is behind RIP Dallas?

    Colin Fitzgibbons (son of Richard’s Group principal)

    Marcus Walther (grandson of Neiman Marcus founder)

    If King is involved these two are never far behind.

  21. Chris says:

    Crazy. One word to put it. How is putting a Convention Center Hotel in a undesirable area gonna make us comparable to New York, Los Angels or even New Orleans? Dallas has thousands of students that are having to sit in crowded classes, in crappy schools because our tax dollars are being streched and You Mr. Grim and you Lover Mr. Tom Leppert need to get your head out of your arse and wake up!! Lets get more in the hole like St. Louis did. They purchased a tax payer hotel and I don’t know about you but when I think of cities with great night life St.Louis is not one of them. I want a downtown that never sleeps , a convention center hotel has nothing do with that. The Sheraton in downtown has plenty of empty rooms ask them why we don’t have a night life around there. We need some Class, hot spots, bars that don’t close at 2:30 in the morning. We need to use our history to or advantage or create a new reason to come to our great city to party!! Lets all party together with out being 500 million in debt for a failed hotel!!!