The Other Perry

Democrat Radnofksy demands AG Abbott returns builder cash

Abbott: It's always handy to be on good terms with a builder
Abbott: It's always handy to be on good terms with a builder

Since neither was in a contested primary, there has not been much ink spilled over Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott and his Democratic challenger Barbara Ann Radnofsky. She's hoping to change that by raising the issue of Abbott's financial connection to controversial GOP sugar daddy Bob Perry.

Democrats know Perry as the money machine behind the astroturf Swiftboat Veterans for Truth smear operation, a multi-millionaire builder who has sunk seemingly endless cash into maintaining a business-friendly (read: kow-towing) Republican majority in Texas.

But in the last few days, he's hit headlines because of his business practices. A Tarrant County jury hammered him with a $51 million lawsuit after he spent a decade trying to avoid paying to fix a broken house even after he had been ordered to in arbitration. Perry's people claimed that the homeowners had waived the right to arbitration, and then dragged them through the court system. Seems that was a $51 million error on Perry's behalf.

In a screeching rebuttal, Perry's spokesman Anthony Holm called the ruling "jackpot justice". He then disappeared over the horizon completely when he said it was "equivalent to every single resident in Texas depositing $2 into the lawyer’s bank account." Which seems reasonable, if he believes that Perry in some way equals the state of Texas.

Now Radnofksy, noting Perry's all-too-chummy relationship with state government, and the $1 million Abbott's campaigns have received from Abbott in that time, and the fact that it was an Abbott opinion that allowed the broken, worthless, despised, business-backing and now disbanded Texas Residential Construction Commission to stay open, has demanded that the AG hand back the cash.

Hey, if he did, then Perry would only need to find $50 million to settle his debt.

Full press release below.

Houston, Texas. March 2, 2010. Barbara Ann Radnofsky, the Democratic nominee for Texas Attorney General, commented on the incestuous [i] relationship between Attorney General Abbott and Bob Perry, the Houston homebuilder ordered Monday to pay $51 million to a Mansfield couple who purchased a defective home from his company.

Radnofsky: "Bob Perry was protected for years due to his incestuous relationship with Greg Abbott. The Attorney General acts to protect his own political interests as funded by his patrons."

Since 2001, Greg Abbott has received in excess of $1 million in campaign donations from Mr. and Mrs. Bob Perry, of the huge Bob Perry Homes building giant. In return, the Attorney General has been active in coddling homebuilders.

Radnofsky explained how the Texas Attorney General shielded Bob Perry and other homebuilders, historically:

"The Texas Attorney General is a massively powerful position.

"It was an Attorney General opinion which enabled the wasteful, bureaucratic and industry-dominated Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) to flourish, until the legislature eliminated the Commission.

"I call on Attorney General Abbott to return every penny of the million plus dollars he received from Mr. and Mrs. Perry."

This includes, particularly, the $170,000 from July 29 through December 15, 2005 the Perrys paid to Attorney General Abbott. After the Perrys paid $100,000 of this amount on December 15, 2005, the Attorney General was sent a December 16, 2005 request from the Chairman of the House Committee on State Affairs questioning the Comptroller's Review of the TRCC. The Attorney General went on to thwart and quash the Comptroller's Review in a May 3, 2006 opinion, effectively shielding builders.

The Attorney General prevented investigation of the TRCC, a wasteful and intrusive government agency, by the Texas Comptroller.

John Cobarruvias, of Houston, Texas, an active member of Homeowners of Texas approved of Radnofsky's call for Greg Abbott to return the Perrys' campaign contributions, noting:

"Bob Perry and his wife gave well over a million dollars to Greg Abbott as Attorney General. In return, Mr. Abbott has done nothing for the homeowners of Texas who need his help. When you are stuck with a bad house, it wrecks you financially, and your family relationships suffer as well."

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Elections
Round Rock (ISD) Just Don't Stop: The Affair of the Forged Letter
Round Rock (ISD) Just Don't Stop: The Affair of the Forged Letter
Election shenanigans erupt on Facebook over weekend

Brant Bingamon, Nov. 7, 2022

Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Early Voting Locations and Voter ID Info
Find your nearest polling location and know what to bring with you

Oct. 14, 2019

More Election 2010
The Definition of Voter Eligibility
The Definition of Voter Eligibility
Could Dan Neil challenge the HD48 result?

Richard Whittaker, Dec. 8, 2010

Donna Howard Still the Winner
Donna Howard Still the Winner
Dist. 48 incumbent increases lead by one vote

Lee Nichols, Nov. 8, 2010

More by Richard Whittaker
That's One Pricey Burrito: Chuy's Sells for $605 Million
That's One Pricey Burrito: Chuy's Sells for $605 Million
Austin original acquired by Darden Restaurants, Inc.

July 18, 2024

Pale imitation of what made the original such an unexpected smash of a disaster movie

July 19, 2024


Elections, Election 2010, Greg Abbott, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, Bob Perry

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle