Highland Park Community League Shares Address with HP Town Hall?

I noticed this comment left on another post this morning. I couldn’t risk letting it get buried- it’s a super good question. Bueller?

Can anyone at HP Town Hall explain to the taxpayers of Highland Park why the Highland Park Community League has the address of 4700 Drexel Drive, HP, Tx 75205 Tele. 214-521-4161.Well, The address coincidentally is that of HP Town Hall, and I dialed the telephone number and HP Town Hall answered. I was told to talk with Gayle Kirby, the Town’s Deputy Secretary! Ms. Kirby then told me that she only receives their mail!

So, let me understand this, the taxpayers of HP are funding the agendas of the HPCL, using HP employees, housing the HPCL with an address, and using HP employees to answer their listed telephone number.

What’s up with this!

45 thoughts on “Highland Park Community League Shares Address with HP Town Hall?

  • May 3, 2010 at 10:57 am
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    Max, This is the kind of hand grenade I was talking about.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2010 at 11:02 am
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    Hey, Tucker, I’m just passing along a good point made by someone else. I can’t help it, I’m just a messenger.

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  • May 3, 2010 at 11:15 am
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    It is an excellent question.

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  • May 3, 2010 at 11:21 am
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    Merritt,

    I love your hand grenades. You throw them with a great change-up. I was responding to a comment that Max had made about your needing to be in city government. My response was that you were more effect outside, tossing hand grenades into the good ole boys fox holes. Really. Check the previous post you made about how your city wants you.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2010 at 11:28 am
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    Loved the fox hole thing.

    But, Tucker, why do you think HP Community League is sharing an address with Town Hall?

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  • May 3, 2010 at 11:32 am
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    “why do you think HP Community League is sharing an address with Town Hall?”

    Because HP is not really a democracy.

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  • May 3, 2010 at 11:33 am
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    Good ole boys in the fox hole. This fox hole just happens to be HP Townhall.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm
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    Merritt

    Thanks for posting my complaint. You will also notice that the address the HPCL sent on their campaign letter, and to every HP resident, was from 3601 Cedar Springs, Dallas, Texas 75219. This was other than the address they have apparently posted on their website. I good smoke screen.

    I’ve been campaigning for months in my door to door campaign, standing out in front of HP Town Hall every day of last week and today, and campaign central has been operating right under me at HP Town Hall.

    I’m glad so many former mayors signed off on the HPCL letter and the many HPCL members because i think everyone of them needs to be held accountable.

    If you would like, I will make you a copy of the letter that my wife and I were sent by the HPCL.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm
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    The new question then becomes who works or lives at 3601 Cedar Springs?

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  • May 3, 2010 at 12:58 pm
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    @James Tucker: After a brief Google search, it looks like Dexter and Company Inc. and CD Benefits Inc. share the space.

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  • May 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm
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    According to DCAD:

    SALI LP owns most of it ($850,000) and Dexter & Company ($149,600)

    Reply
  • May 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm
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    This is getting juicy. I just went to the HP Community League’s website, hpcommunityleague.org. As of 2:50 PM today, the front page of the site has information about the town hall elections and the League’s endorsements. I wanted to see the League’s street address for myself but none of the links along the top of the page are working (such as “About Us”, “Contact”, “Join” etc.) Because the site is so crude, it could be a problem with my browser (the latest Apple Safari version). The official League site, at least as of right now, does not contain the League’s address.

    So I tried something else. I Googled “Highland Park Community League” and the League’s site was mentioned first. Google also provided a link to a cached version of the site. (For you typewriter users out there, the cached version is basically a snapshot Google took of the site at some point in the recent past.) According to Google’s note at the top of the cached version, they took this snapshot on April 22, 2010. The front page of the cached site has the same information about election dates, endorsements, etc. But guess what – at the bottom of the page, we have a street address and phone number for the Highland Park Community League: 4700 Drexel Drive, Highland Park, Texas 75205, Tel: (214) 521-4161.

    The discrepancy between the current version of the League’s site and the cached version doesn’t necessarily mean that the League scrubbed their site after Mr. Tamborello brought up the address issue, but until we hear more from the League, I think we’re entitled to speculate.

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  • May 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm
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    The link on the @”Its the internet” post takes you to a “general purpose campaign finance report” that lists the address of the League as HP townhall and has the treasurer at the Cedar Springs address.

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  • May 3, 2010 at 4:27 pm
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    Looks like the “scrub” gamble did not pay off for the HPCL. I just happen to have made copies this morning from the HPCL website. Their endorsement “slate” page on the bottom contained the address and telephone number of Highland Park Town Hall.

    As of right now, the same page is missing the HP Town Hall address and telephone number.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm
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    This is the classic good old boy network with potential ethical issues. I would think the state would love to look into this.

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  • May 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm
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    Interesting–ARIN (the group that keeps tabs on who registers websites) says that hpcommunityleague.org is registered to someone at 3625 Normandy Ave.

    http://www.networksolutions.com/whois-search/hpcommunityleague.org

    dallascad.org says that 3625 Normany is owned by IDCA Limited

    http://www.dallascad.org/AcctDetailRes.aspx?ID=60136500030040000

    Pulling up a blank on the address the DCAD goes to (10505 Shady Trail #100, 75220) so get your google working.

    Anyone know who really owns it?

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  • May 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm
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    ARIN also lists the admin as Stewart Rogers and contact phone number as 214 521 1174. Email of contact is [email protected]. Perhaps one of our intrepid reporters could call or email and see if he would like to be interviewed. And reverse lookup on whitepages.com shows Stewart as living at that address, VP of Datasort Software, LP, with phone number of 214 521 1740. Datasort Software is also located at 3609 Normandy. With all that high-priced real estate, seems odd that HPCL feels the need to shack up at city hall.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 1:38 pm
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    Can we get a blogger/reporter to get some further info on this story? The HP Town Hall should be able to explain why they were the address, Bob Carter of Dexter & Co. should also be able to answer that as well……

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  • May 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm
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    @Avid, Clearly, I’m in charge of (as you can see from the first comment) explosions only- throwing dynamite in the fox holes and then running like the wind. So, my job here is done.

    But Dan is all over this.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm
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    Park Cities residents probably know that Stewart Rogers and Stephen Rogers (HP City Council candidate) are brothers.

    With regards to the who owns the property at 3601 Cedar Springs, public records indicate:

    SALI LP owns the property at 3601 Cedar Springs. SALI LP is owned by Solminzer Inc, A Texas Corporation. The listed officers for Solminzer are J. Robert Carter, III and William F. Davis. Public records further indicate Carter and Davis are officers of Dexter & Company which resides/occupies the property at 3601 Cedar Springs Rd. I could not find out any information on CD Benefits but a wild guess would be Carter and Davis (CD).

    Public records also indicate that Davis and Carter are residents of Highland Park.

    A.B. commented that following the ownership of 3625 Normandy pointed to a dead end (10505 Shady Trail). His reference is to a tax record for 3625 Normandy which lists IDCA as the owner. IDCA is a limited partnership with the registered agent being James W. Lee, III (probably the attorney). Further research seems to indicate Schahrouz Ferdows could be the general partner behind IDCA, LTD. CBF Corp is also listed at the same address. James W. Lee, III is also the registered agent for this company. Officers for CBF are listed as KIM BROWN PO BOX 540427 DALLAS , TX 75354 and SHANE FERDOWS PO BOX 540427 DALLAS , TX 75354.

    ARDCC, LTD. is listed as the owner of 10505 Shady Trail. Through a series of partnerships, it appears Schahrouz Ferdows owns/controls the property.

    I don’t know what any of this means in terms of who is qualified to serve on the council. It would seem that someone is trying to hide who is supporting certain candidates. With regards to the legality of this matter, I cannot comment on as I do not know Texas Election Code. It could be something sinister or not.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm
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    @Curious Parkie: “It could be something sinister or not.” True, but here’s my take on what we know so far:

    The fact that the League scrubbed their site yesterday morning to hide that they share the same address as HP city hall seems sinister. The fact that the Town of HP’s deputy secretary answers the phone when you call the number posted on the League’s website (at least until it was scrubbed yesterday morning) seems sinister. The additional fact that said Town employee admits to accepting mail for the League seems sinister.

    How can these things be sinister? Isn’t “sinister” too strong a word? Well maybe. But does Texas law permit registered political action committees (such as the HP Community League) to house themselves – at least on paper – in the town hall containing the very council members they endorse and presumably want to influence? And how does Texas law view a city employee acting as a telephone answering and mail forwarding service for the League? (Side question: does the League compensate the Town for these services?) And how does Texas law view the failure by the Town and the League for their apparent failure to disclose these arrangements?

    Two lessons: (1) Sunlight scatters the cockroaches, and (2) the internet never forgets.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 3:11 pm
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    I don’t reside in HP, but the bottom line would be for me is that city operating costs are being used to subsidize someone’s political action committee.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm
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    During the period that the General purpose campaign finance report, that @Its the internet referenced, there is no expenditures, meaning that the city was not re-imbursed for the use of city staff or phones.

    Reply
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  • May 4, 2010 at 3:42 pm
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    Has anyone contaced the Rogers brothers for thier explanation?

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  • May 4, 2010 at 3:58 pm
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    Have to throw this in–it is possible that Rogers/DataSort is merely the registered agent in that he/the company operate the website. They might not have anything to do with the HPCL other than they were given the job of administering the site (as pitiful as it is) and scrubbing the site earlier this week. Of course, they could also be knee-deep in the whole thing.

    Reply
  • May 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm
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    A call to the Texas Ethics Commission found that there is apparently nothing in their code which prohibits such activity.

    A review of the Town of Highland Park Charter found under Sec. 1.07.003 Standards of conduct

    No officer or employee of the Town shall:

    (3) Grant any special consideration, treatment or advantage to any citizen, individual, business organization or group beyond that which is available to every other citizen, individual, business organization or group.

    Link http://codes.franklinlegal.net/highlandpark-flp/

    The Town of Highland Park Employee Handbook states:

    SUBJECT: POLITICAL ACTIVITY
    LAST REVISED: February 2, 2007
    STATEMENT OF POLICY:
    An Employee may participate in all political activities which are not prohibited by this policy. An Employee may not engage in political activities while on duty or in uniform.
    An Employee may not use his/her authority, influence, or official position as a Town of Highland Park Employee to influence the result of any election or nomination for elective office. An Employee may not directly or indirectly coerce, command, or advise any public officer or Employee to pay, lend or contribute anything of value to any person or organization for political purposes. Town-owned facilities, personnel, equipment, supplies, vehicles, printing facilities, local or long distance telephone services, or other resources shall not be used in or for any campaign or other political activity.

    Reply
  • May 4, 2010 at 4:19 pm
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    This is so typical. Has anyone not on the HPCL slate ever won??? HP is like communist Russia- only the hand picked get on the council.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm
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    Wow, you all a heavy duty. At least we don’t spend the Town $$ on redoing and redoing silly parks that you all have bitched about forever, then ther was the pool debacle which now you love. Oh, the car pool line, that’s HUGE. FYI, if all of you detectives want to get busy, Dallas does the same, there’s a group of Bus. men that pick “Dallas Citizens Council” all of the candidates, maybe not not since there’s a single district thingy. And if you all don’t think the state and National elections are wonky – WAKE UP KIDS

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  • May 4, 2010 at 6:11 pm
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    @A.B.

    A General purpose committee campaign finance report from 2005 lists a Stephen Rogers as Campaign treasurer.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 6:15 pm
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    I have only seen a few of these GOCCF reports. None of them list any political contributions. The only expenditure that I have seen was for advertising thru the People Newspapers. That was in 2006 and was for $591.

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  • May 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm
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    “Town Manager Bill Lindley said today that officials have asked the Highland Park Community League to remove the Town Hall address and phone number from its website”

    (Source – Lori Stahl, Dallas Morning News, 5-4-2010 @ 11:55 a.m.)

    Reply
  • May 5, 2010 at 11:25 am
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    My name is John McKnight and I am the Chairman of the Highland Park Community League. I see there is some interest in the address / phone that previously appeared on our website. The inclusion of the Town’s address / phone was an oversight in the volunteer development of our website several years ago. We have now removed the address / phone information and apologize for any confusion this may have caused. In any case, I can tell you that almost all mail received by the HPCL goes to our Cedar Springs address and only a handful of letters went to the Town address over the last couple of years.

    The Community League very much respects the separation between Town government affairs and its own activities. I can assure that the Town Staff has a similar view.

    The Community League has endorsed six excellent candidates in this year’s election and strongly believes that they can provide excellent, experienced leadership for our Town in the years ahead. We encourage all eligible Town residents to vote in the election this Saturday, May 8.

    Finally, if you are a Highland Park resident and a registered voter, please know that you are welcome to join the Community League. We have several civic events each year in which Town residents can learn more about our Town and community.

    John McKnight

    Reply
  • May 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm
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    Mr. McKnight,

    Thank you sir for that explanation, but in my opinion, it is a real Doozie. I have a response titled “True Colors” on my website. http://www.Tamborello.com

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  • May 5, 2010 at 4:18 pm
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    Mr. McKnight;

    This is a partial list of the PACs that are registered for 2010. Please scroll down and note that the information for the Highland Park Community League has HP townhall as it’s address.

    http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/tedd/paclistb.htm

    Latest GPAC report dated 4-8-10:

    http://204.65.203.5/public/448515.pdf

    Most immediately prior GPAC report:

    http://204.65.203.5/public/437549.pdf

    Both of which list HP Townhall as the committee address.

    This is the website for all of the GPACs associated with the Highland Park Community League:

    http://www.ethics.state.tx.us/php/filerpdw.php?acct=00015696gpac

    What say you?

    Reply
  • May 6, 2010 at 9:03 am
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    HPCL/HP Employee bonus payments!!

    I thought to myself, could this drama of the HPCL camapaign activities into HP Town Hall get any sinister? Well, according to Lori Stahl of the Dallas Morning News, a tid bit of more activities of the HPCL have surfaced.

    It appears from her interview with HP Town Manager, Bill Lindley, that the HPCL “operates a charitable arm which has has donated money to pay for employee bonuses and the like.” (DMN, May 5, 2010)

    Come on!!, now HP employees get a bonus check from the Polital Action Group HPCL?

    Reply
  • May 6, 2010 at 10:13 am
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    Wha? HPCL has actually cut checks to town employees? For their personal use? For real?

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  • May 6, 2010 at 10:29 am
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    Sam and kmom: The University Park Community League has done the same thing. If you check out their campaign finance reports, it shows that they paid out cash awards to University Park’s employees of the year during the banquet in their honor.

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  • May 6, 2010 at 11:36 am
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    Ms. England,

    Out of curiosity, does the post by Mr. McKnight directly above (and specifically the address / phone number “oversight” comment) and the response by “Its the internet, we know who you are” raise your brow?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  • May 6, 2010 at 11:42 am
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    Sam,

    Because we do our very best to investigate both sides of every question, I can only say that we’re looking into discrepancies and whether laws were broken.

    I do appreciate your curiosity and your willingness to ask difficult questions.

    Eric Nicholson did write a story about the Highland Park Community League’s address issues, and it’s in this week’s issue of Park Cities People.

    Reply
  • May 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm
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    Congrats to the reporters at the Park Cities People with the article on the HPCL. Great job!

    Speaking as a taxpayer, I would like for the HPCL to refund the taxpayers of Highland Park for the use of taxpayer owned town hall, the use of taxpayer phone lines, taxpayer owned equipment use, and taxpayer funded mail services by the Town secretary’s office. And if I missed something, hopefully the HPCL will step up and let us taxpayers know.

    I didn’t know about the failure to report the contributions, that’s a biggie. Thanks. I’ll be sure to add that one in my Texas Ethics Commission COMPLAINT for running the phone lines into Town Hall during early voting, using taxpayer property, equipment, mail services, and personnel us on the backs of the HP taxpayer.

    Now I understand why the recent post card I received a few days ago by the HPCL was URGING the HP residents to vote for their slate. In my opinion, this is simply shameful.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2010 at 9:49 am
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    Conflicting Stories

    HP Community League: Wednesday edition
    6:08 PM Wed, May 05, 2010 | Permalink
    Lori Stahl/Reporter

    We’re still trying to figure out whether city officials knew that the Highland Park Community League listed Town Hall’s phone number and address on its website.

    That’s a potential problem because the league operates a political action comittee that made endorsements in the upcoming municipal elections. Those kinds of groups are generally prohibited from using tax-funded resources such as equipment and personnel time at Town Hall.

    Several city officials privately downplayed the situation, saying that the league also operates a charitable arm which has donated money to pay for employee bonuses and the like.

    Today Town Manager Bill Lindley said staff was not aware that the address and phone number were on the league’s website. He said he asked that the information be taken off “to avoid any possible appearance of conflict during the election period.”

    Asked whether that would change after the election, Lindley gave this response: “At this time, the Town believes this is a permanent change.”

    Posted by Mustang @ 3:07 PM Thu, May 06, 2010
    The statement from the Town that the “staff was not aware that the address and phone number were on the league’s website” is completely untrue. I had a very specific conversation regarding this subject with the Deputy Town Secretary in late October of 2009. I was informed that it was common practice to receive the HPCM mail and answer or refer any phone calls.

    Reply
  • November 5, 2010 at 7:57 pm
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    I bought the house at 3625 Normandy Ave a year ago in 2009 … The domain was registed with this address back in 2006 therefore making the prior owners of this property the culprits of this blog … Thank you for posting my information all over the internet. What a warm welcome to HP.

    Reply

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