New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - February 26, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas
New Braunfels Herald Zeitung Tuesday, February 26,1986 8Law firm's attorney conduct irritated Mattox
AUSTIN (AP) — A Fulbrlght & Jaworski lawyer’s conduct so irritated Attorney General Jim Mattox in 1983 that he told another member of the firm to “get your lawyer there under control” and also said the firm couldn’t expect “special treatment” for its bond work.
Both statements were made in a taperecorded phone call on June 20,1983, between Mattox and Fulbright k Jaworski’s bond chief, Wiley Caldwell. The tape was played Monday at Mattox’s trial.
Charged with commercial bribery, Mattox is accused of threatening to withhold his needed approval of the bonds unless
Fulbright & Jaworski lawyer Thomas McDade stopped trying to question his sister, Janice Mattox, in another case.
On the tape played Monday, Mattox told Caldwell that McDade’s efforts to question Miss Mattox were improper and unethical. The legal maneuvering took place in a case involving the state, wealthy South Texas rancher Clinton Manges and McDade’s client, Mobil Oil.
Mattox told Caldwell he was disappointed that agreement couldn’t be reached on McDade’s actions.
“It just doesn’t look like we’ve made any real progress,” Mattox told Caldwell. "I
asked for a few simple things that could have been handled in 30minutes.”
Several times, Mattox said there was “no embargo” on bond issues handled by Fulbright & Jaworski, but said McDade’s actions had branded all of the firm’s lawyers.
“There’s no general embargo,” Mattox said. “But because of his conduct, we’re just going to have to exercise the utmost caution. All these (bond) transcripts are going to have to be individually reviewed.”
Later, Mattox told Caldwell the scrutiny was “because I can’t trust the lawyers” and advised him that “you’re not going to receive
any special treatment like you've received in the past."
Caldwell — who alleges that Mattox in an earlier call threatened to put the firm out of the bond business —■ pressed Mattox about the $350 million-plus in bonds his firm had pending in the attorney general’s office.
“Your bonds will be approved after they’ve received careful, conscientious review,” Mattox said. “We're not going to give F&J the special treatment (as) in the past when we thought we could trust the lawyers.”
The tape was made by Arthur Mitchell, who in 1983 served as Mattox’s special
counsel. Mattox was in Mitchell’s office for the call.
Mitchell said he decided to record conversations with McDade because he thought McDade earlier tried to change terms of an agreement made with Mitchell and Mattox.
“I had a firm conviction that I was not going to trust that man. I recorded the conversations. I’m glad I did,” Mitchell testified.
Mitchell recounted a series of what he termed “unethical” actions by McDade in handling the Mobil-Manges case, including a bid in May to have Judge Buben Garcia of I .a redo barred from presiding over the suit.Senators face battle over bill allowing free time for teachers
AUSTIN (AP) — Seven senators have banded together to block a bill that would allow public school teachers to take off 25 minutes for lunch without having any school duties.
Sen. Carlos Truan, bill sponsor, said more than 600 Texas school districts do not provide duty-free lunch periods.
“It’s only fair for teachers to have at least 25 minutes of duty-free lunch period to allow them to concentrate for their next classes in the afternoon,” said Truan, D-Corpus Christi.
Sen. Roy Blake, D-Nacogdoches, said a similar proposal was introduced as far back as 1973, and the cost then was estimated at $12 million.
Truan responded that the Senate approved the bill two years ago, and added, “The cost is difficult to ascertain because of the way the school districts may implement it at the local level."
The State Board of Education would set guidelines for teachers to forego their duty-free lunch in the event of a personnel shortage, extreme economic conditions or unavoidable or unforeseen circumstances.
“It is one more local option that you’re taking away from local school boards," said Sen John Traeger, D-Seguin.
Truan replied, “We’re allowing the State Board of Education to provide for implementation so it will not cause the local school board an extreme economic hardship, senator.”
Monday’s vote to debate Truan's bill was 23-7 but he needed 25 votes.
Voting against the motion to bring up the bill were Blake, Traeger and Sens. O.H. “Ike” Harris, R-Dallas; Grant Jones, D-Abilene; John I^eedom, K-Dallas; Bill Sims, D-San Angelo; and Craig Washington, D-Houston.
Truan could try again for Senate approval.
Two Blake bills on unemployment compensation cleared the Senate and were sent to the House. One would bring Texas into conformity with the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, and the other would give the Texas Employment Commission authority to collect certain overpayments from employers.
The Senate approved a bill changing the formula for distributing funds for the Engineering Excellence Fund established in 190. Sen. Kent Caperton, D-Bryan, said the change commits the state to “high-tech research.” He said the formula was amended to encourage major colleges to participate in the program.
Bill seeks checks on child care workes
AUSTIN — Bills giving the Texas Department of Human Resources access to criminal records of prospective child care employees at day care centers and state schools received first round approval from a Senate committee.
The bills, sponsored by Sen. Ted Lyon, D-Mesquite, each got favorable 7-0 recommendations from the Senate Health and Human Reources Committee on Monday.
Under current laws, the Human Resources
department can only check the history of those seeking a child care license.
Federal funds of $800,000 are available for the child care facility checks.
Brenda Whiteaker of Austin told the committee her two sons, ages five and nine, were molested by a day care facility employee who had a criminal conviction.
The employee, who was convicted and sentenced to serve IO years in a state peniteniary for abusing her children, had previously performed sexual acts in public, Ms. Whiteaker said.
“Had his criminal record been checked and this law passed four or even two years ago, this would have never happened to my sons," Ms. Whiteaker said.
She said her nine-year-old son has become very withdrawn and is requiring psychiatric treatment because of the molestation incident.
Carlos Colburn, however, says the new regulations would be costly and have a time factor burden.
Colburn, director and owner of Joyland Child Care in Amarillo, said the cost of having the criminal record checks could cost $100 to $150 per prospective employee.
“I have a private day care center. I’m not funded,” Colburn testified. He said he is already having to contend with $4,000 of liability insurance.
Sen. Hugh Parmer, D-Fort Worth, told Colburn, “I don’t think you should be in the business unless you spend some money."
Colburn said the time factor in getting clearance from the department would be a burden because of the high turnover rate. But Parmer said nothing in the bill would delay hiring.Six teens drown in submerged car
PALESTINE (AP) -Authorities said six teen-agers found inside a partially submerged car apparently drowned after the vehicle plunged off a bridge into a rain-swollen creek.
Justice of the Peace Ben Perry pronounced all six dead at the scene, including a couple whose wedding ceremony he conducted in January.
“I couldn’t recognize either of them,” Perry told the Palestine Herald Press, speaking of I^rry Atwell, 16, and Stacey Atwell, 15, who werejnarried in the Anderson County Courthouse on Jan. 28.
She was pregnant, Perry said.
The other victims were Earl Poe, 17; Chris Toole, 14; James Atwood, 17; and his wife, Tammy Atwood, 16; all of Anderson County.
Preliminary autopies performed Sunday night by pathologist Dr. Don Sheppard of Conroe indicated that drowning would be ruled as the cause in all six deaths, Perry said.
Department of Public Safety Sgt. James Sanders said tile accident could bp the largest single-vehicle fatality accident in Anderson
“Ifs the worst thing this town has seen since a tornado hit in the 1940s,’’ said DPS trooper Steve Severn, who helped pull the bodies
out of the car, which was found in 3^ feet of water.
ITm accident occurred Saturday on a wooden bridge 14 feet wide and 28 feet long over Wolf Creek. It has no guard rail and la not marked by reflectors, DPS officials said. Normally, the road crosses about six feet above the creek.
“The creek was swollen and the bridge was covered,” Severn told
the Dallas Times Herald. “Maybe there were a few inches of water (over the road) and they miaaed the edge of the bridge. We know it was a real low speed accident.”
The car was spotted Sunday afternoon as tile water receded.
Authorities said the teen-agers were unable to escape because of the pressure on the car doors from the outside. All were found huddled in an air pocket at the back of the car
Severn and his partner were the first officers on the scene. They smashed a window on the car, saw the bodies and called for an ambulance and a wrecker. A door on the car was torn open with hydraulic jaws.
Sanders said the driver of the vehicle was not established. Poe was the owner of the 1976 Chevrolet involved in the accident, according to insurance papers found inside, Severn said.
Suspect—Highway killing accidental
DALI AS (AP) — A man accused of killing a commuter on a Dallas expressway was trying to scare off the motorist and a companion who had harassed him for .several minutes, the man’s attorney said.
Jack Vaughn, 38, of Fort Worth, was killed Feb. 18 as he and his stepson were riding to work. Deno Victor I foredo was arrested Feb. 20 and later charged with murder. He is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.
Bill Rice, Loredo’s attorney, said Monday that I>oredo told him the victim and his companion swerved several times toward his car then pulled ahead and braked abruptly, making Ixrredo fear for the life of his wife and 1-year-old baby.
Loredo, 27, was pointing the gun toward the front of the victim’s car when it accidentally discharged, Rice said.
“The gun went off. He had no intention of killing anybody,” Rice said. “His only Intention was protecting his wife and child.”
Police said after the shooting that they believed it was random and unprovoked, but since have said they are investigating reports that
a traffic altercation preceded the
Larry Evans, the victim’s stepson who was driving, said neither he nor Vaughn noticed the gunman's car until Vaughn said, “That guy has a gun,” and the shot was fired
Evans denied Monday that any provocation preceded the shooting, the Dallas Times Herald reported.
Rice said that his client told him that when he first encountered Evans’ car several miles before the shooting occurred, it was going very fast and “came up right behind and it looked like it was so close that the bumpers were touching.”
Ixiredo told Rice that he changed lanes and each time, Evans' car changed lanes behind him, flashing its bright lights and staying close behind. Then Evans’ car swerved toward Loredo’s car, almost forcing it off the road, according to Rice.
Rice said I/iredo displayed the gun hoping to scare off the pair but they only laughed and made obscene gestures, Rice said.
Texas teen undergoes double transplant
PITTSBURGH (AP) A Fort Worth teen-ager today was undergoing a heart-liver transplant — only the third such operation of its type — at Presbyterian University Hospital.
The double surgery on 17-year-old Mary Cheatham began about 6:30 p.m. Monday after a donor — who was not identified — was located.
Officials said the double operation was expected to take 20 to 24 hours, barring complications.
The University of Pittsburgh
transplant team was unsure late Monday whether it would be able to perform both the heart and liver transplant, according to Cara East, one of Miss Cheatham’s doctors at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas.
East said doctors feared both operations together could Im* too long.
But as of 6 a.rn. CUT, the surgery was continuing, said hospital spokesman Mark Shelton. He declined to elaborate.
Miss Cheatham was born with a
rare genetic disorder that inhibits her liver's ability to gauge cholesterol levels in her body and remove the excess. Cells then produce too much of their own cholesterol, clogging tile arteries of the heart.
The surgery is the third such double transplant performed. Stormie Jones, a 7-year-old Texas girl, underwent the first operation on Valentine's I >ay 1964 The second heart-liver transplant was performed last November on a 2-year-
old Alabama girl who died from complications related to the surgery.
Miss (’heatharn had flown to Pittsburgh Dec. 20 to await the donated organs. Officials said her condition had grown worse since that time.
A donor became available about 5 p.m. Monday and the girl was rushed to lite hospital while doctors flew to the donor to get the heart arni liver They did not reveal where or how the donor was found.
Former cadets plead guilty to lesser charges
BRYAN (AP) — Three former Texas AAM University cadets who had been charged with negligent homicide in the forced exercise death of another cadet pleaded guilty to reduced charges and were given 90-day probated sentences.
I/mis Fancher III of San Antonio, and Jason Miles and Anthony D’AUesandro, both of Houston, pleaded guilty Monday to charges of hazing.
The former AAM students, all 20, had been charged with criminally
negligent homicide in the death of Bruce Goodrich, 20, a transfer student from Webster, N Y., who died of a heat stroke on Aug. 30 after being forced to participate in “motivational exercises.”
The homicide charges were dropped as part of a plea bargain County Court-at-Law Judge Carolyn Ruffino sentenced Miles, D’Alessandro and Fancher to a probated deferred adjudication sentence of 90 days, a fine of $250 and ordered them to perform IOO hours of
conununity service The three also were to contribute $750 to an A&M scholarship fund established in memory of Goodrich.
Under terms of the deferred adjudication rule, the criminal charges will be removed from court records if the terms of the probation are carried out Brazos county attorney Jim Kuboviak and defense attorney Hank Paine of Bryan agreed to drop a hazing charge against a fourth former cadet. Gabriel Tundra, 21. of
Houston Cuadra had been convicted earlier of tampering with evidence
and was given a probated sentence.
Mrs. Lynn Fancher, mother of I/mis F ancher III, said the outcome
was “not a matter of fairness. Ifs
She said the three former cadets were “scapegoats paying for 108
>ears of tradition.”
The father of Fancher said
university officials “had washed their hands" of the whole matter.
Valley sanctuary work continues despite trial
SAN BENITO (AP) - Jack Elder, the director of a shelter for Central Americans, says work at the shelter will continue even if he is jailed for aiding two Salvadorans.
“As long as there is a need there will be people willing to take care of the needs at Casa Oscar Romero,” Elder told a news conference Monday at the Catholic Church-sponsored shelter.
Last week, Elder and Stacey Lynn Merkt, a volunteer at the shelter, were convicted by a Houston federal court jury of helping the Salvadorans enter the country illegally.
Elder, 41, was convicted of six counts — two each of conspiracy, of helping the Salvadorans enter the United States illegally and transporting them to a bus station in McAllen last November.
Ma. Merkt, 30, was convicted of the conspiracy charge and acquitted of two other counts.
The case attracted national publicity and Elder said the convictions hopefully will get people “to look at the larger issues,”
specifically the civil war in El Salvador and United States’ involvement.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 27 before U.S. District Judge Filemon Vela, who presided over the case after moving it from Brownsville because of pretrial publicity.
Elder faces up to $28,000 in fines and 30 years in prison. Ms. Merkt faces a maximum five years in prison arid a $10,000 fine.
I^ast month in Corpus Christi, gr Elder was acquitted on three charges of transporting Salvadorans from the shelter to a bus station in Harlingen.
Ms. Merkt is on two years’ probation on a similar conviction last May. She is scheduled to appear for a probation hearing before Vela on March 15. If her probation is revoked she could be sentenced to 90 days ii jail in that case.
But she said Monday that “prison is not something to fear.”
“I’m taking one day at a time. I am a hopeful person,” she said. “My innocence is clear. I can be as innocent in jail as outside of jail. ”
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