Local Dallas politics have never been short on controversy, whether over statues, sanctuary city status or voter fraud. The recent avalanche of media stories over the DCS bus scandal became even more interesting over the past weeks as evidence of payments, loans and outsized political donations to public officials and candidates have been reported.
NBCDFW and The Dallas Morning News have broken stories over Dallas beleaguered Mayor Pro Tem, Dwaine Caraway’s receipt of at least $70,000 in retainers and an ‘uncalled’ loan. On the heels of this story came a report that a number of City Council candidates and current members received campaign contributions from individuals or groups currently under investigation by the FBI.
Even more disturbing is the nexus between many of the largest recipients of the embattled bus entity. Mayor Mike Rawlings’ ‘dream team’ of Caraway (who he actively supported in his last campaign and his bid to become Mayor Pro Tem), Robert “Bobby” Abtahi ($12,000 campaign contribution) a failed city council candidate backed by Rawlings against his nemesis Philip Kingston, and the controversial Tiffinni Young, who served one term on the council before being defeated in a race where she received both $10,000 associates of the Louisiana school bus camera company and thousands from a PAC formed by one of the Mayor’s chief advisors, Mari Woodlief (For Our Community PAC).
If that’s not enough, a reporter in Dallas has said that coverage of Abtahi’s involvement was suppressed by Dallas Morning News editors. Popular left-leaning Dallas Observer columnist described the controversy on Facebook:
Feb 1, 2018 SO BAD IT’S FUNNY. The Dallas Morning News has been sitting on a story for almost two weeks now about the hoods from New Orleans and their bag-man, former Dallas City Council Member Larry Duncan, giving fat campaign contributions to council members.
They were working it pretty hard when they thought the recipients were all progressives, but, OOPS, turned out the fattest beneficiary by far was Park Board chairman Bobby Abtahi, who collected twice what anybody else got from the hoods. Abtahi is the establishment’s main hey-boy, the suck-up who was supposed to win District 14 for the old guard, fat chance, and who now carries water for the State Fair on the park board.
The rest of them got three, four, five grand each and thought it was from Duncan. Abtahi got twelve grand. So he’s the winner, right, top of the fold, mug shot on One.
But the story kept not happening, weeks after the reporting. Everybody’s waiting, “Hey, where’s Page One Bobby with a towel around his neck?”
So finally today the News figured out how to square the circle. https://www.dallasnews.com/…/dallas-city-council-candidates…
The lede and the photos were only CURRENT council members, not CURRENT OFFICIALS. That puts Griggs and Kingston on One, and Abtahi is buried on the jump with no photo.
Listen, the way you do this story straight is in the order of the take. The News is bending over backward to take Abtahi out if it. The delay in publication means there was a newsroom battle. The by-lined reporters probably had to fight to keep it from getting spiked entirely.
As a term-limited lame duck, Rawlings lacks, for the first time in his tenure, a solid majority on any one particular issue. This was made clear in August of last year when the Mayor’s ill-fated Trinity Toll Road project was scuttled.
We’ll continue to monitor Dallas City Hall, the Dallas County Schools scandal, and especially how they intertwine. Since Jim Schutze claims the Morning News refused to show photos of Rawlings’ Dream Team, we put together the accompanying graphic. Abtahi’s photo is from an ABC News interview after being denied service on an American Airlines flight.