Bob Perry's bought justiceDaily Texan Editorial
March 23, 2007
Bob Perry hemorrhages money for Texas politics. During last year's election cycle alone, the Texas home-builder dropped more than $6.7 million to candidates and political action committees in the state. He gave Gov. Rick Perry (no relation) $380,000 during the same period.
So it's not surprising to see that this sugar daddy wants a few favors in return. Right now, he's asking the Texas Supreme Court to help save his company, Perry Homes, more than $1 million.
When Bob and Jane Culls' Perry home began to show defects - an unstable foundation, cracks in the wall - the North Texas couple began writing letters to Perry, demanding repairs. After more than three years without a satisfactory response, the Culls sued Perry Homes in 2000, demanding action. Concerned with the possibility of a drawn-out legal battle, the couple moved to arbitration, which Perry initially fought. But a district judge, appeals court and even the Texas Supreme Court sided with the Culls and said the case should go to arbitration.
In 2002, an arbitrator ordered Perry Homes to pay the couple $800,000. Perry's lawyers said the judgement was biased but lost the appeal to a district judge and an appeals court. Now Perry is hoping the Texas Supreme Court, which heard arguments on the case Tuesday, will bail his company out of the settlement - now worth more than $1 million after interest. The Culls have yet to see a dime.
What makes the case so obscene is that Perry has individually contributed more than $94,750 to the Supreme Court's sitting justices, according to Texans for Public Justice. Texas judges are elected and are allowed to raise campaign contributions.
Two major political action committees Perry supports have also given more than $248,000 to the sitting justices. One PAC, Hillco, has given the justices $95,000. Another, Texans for Lawsuit Reform, has given the justices more than $153,000. For the 2006 election cycle, Perry provided 61 percent of Hillco's money raised and about 15 percent of what TLR raised. In essence, Perry has funneled more than $175,000 in campaign contributions to the current justices.
It could get even more interesting. Justice Nathan Hecht, who fought a judicial conduct sanction for his vocal support of Harriet Miers' failed bid for the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005, recently raised more than $340,000 in contributions to cover personal legal fees. Hecht is not required to disclose who gave him that money until July, but if history is any indicator - Bob Perry gave Bill Ceverha two $50,000 checks in 2004 and 2005 to cover his legal defense, after Ceverha was forced to defend his activity as treasurer for Tom DeLay's crooked TRMPAC - Perry may well have written Hecht a fat check for the justice's legal defense.
The fact that Texas' high court heard this appeal is perverted enough. If the court indeed rules in Perry's favor, we'll know just how sold-out justice has become in our state.