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Ron Natinsky

05/19/05  They used to say "At least Al stays bought."

Councilman James Fantroy once thought that, too, but he's learned the hard way there's no such thing as an honest thief or bribe-taker.

No matter what anyone says or what excuse they use, Al Lipscomb confessed to taking bribes from two bad guys to use his influence to get some things done for them that were very bad for everyone else.  Al Lipscomb took money from Floyd Richards (Yellow Cab) to support restrictions that pretty much put independent cab drivers out of business, independent cab drivers who were mostly African immigrants.  Al Lipscomb took money from Nick Rizzo to use his influence to keep police officers out of the sex clubs on Northwest Highway, which allowed the sex clubs to prosper and encouraged more to open up in the no-cop land near Bachman Lake.

Al Lipscomb took money from his friends while he was on trial in Federal Court.  Councilman James Fantroy was one of those friends who paid for hotel rooms and meals for all of Old Al's family who were out in Amarillo for the trial.  Look how Old Al shows his gratitude.

Remember that old song about the woman who took in the snake, cared for him and then was shocked when he bit her?  Remember what the snake said after he bit his benefactor?  You knew I was a snake when you took me in.  

The Richards and Rizzo bribes are not hearsay, that's what Old Al confessed to in Federal Court.  His conviction was not overturned based on new evidence proving his innocence.  His conviction was overturned on a technicality.  That's not to say Old Al is not a liar, but most NORMAL people lie to cover up wrong doing. 

Fantroy, Lipscomb just getting warmed up
12:49 AM CDT on Sunday, May 8, 2005
By GROMER JEFFERS Jr. / The Dallas Morning News
James Fantroy vs. Al Lipscomb: And this time it will count.
   The grudge match between the former friends now begins in earnest, after they finished neck and neck Saturday in the District 8 race. Neither candidate mustered 50 percent of the vote in a crowded six-person field, so they will meet in a June 4 runoff.
   Mr. Lipscomb, 79, who is seeking to make a return to the City Council after being ousted in 1999 by a bribery conviction, was confident Saturday night.
...  Mr. Fantroy said. "I'm going to do what I have to do to win the race and continue to move this district forward."
...  The two candidates ? except for rare exceptions ? stayed away from each other during the campaign.
...  political scientist Rufus Shaw Jr. "Al has apparently been able to cast doubt about Fantroy, particularly his health."
... Mr. Fantroy chose to get his message out through a series of district town hall meetings, where city officials touted the millions of dollars in economic development that had come to the district.
... When Mr. Lipscomb announced that he would run for City Council, Mr. Fantroy loudly complained that his former friend had betrayed him.
   "He stabbed me in the back," Mr. Fantroy said Saturday. "You don't do that to a friend, to someone who had helped your family. You can't trust him."
... During Mr. Lipscomb's controversial bribery trial in Amarillo, Mr. Fantroy provided his mentor with financial support, even giving the Lipscomb family an open tab at a local restaurant.
... When asked Saturday about running against his old friend, Mr. Lipscomb replied: "What old friend? I met Mr. Fantroy in 1992. He doesn't know the people I know. Let's dispel that rumor now." ...

Is that cold?  Or what?  "What old friend?  I met Mr. Fantroy in 1992."  A 13-year friendship is a big deal to most people, but then Old Al is just a belly crawling snake who has no sense of gratitude or loyalty.

Who's bankrolling Old Al's campaign?  The word on the street is that it's Park Cities money.  What a surprise!  I have my own theory. 

Wonder if Herb Kelleher's behind Old Al's race?  It's pretty coincidental that Herb and his cronies are suddenly on a kick to repeal the Wright Amendment, and his favorite crooked politician (went to Amarillo on Old Al's behalf) is in a runoff for the city council. 

We may never know where the money for Old Al is coming from since he has a history of late to never filing his campaign reports.  Of course, that was before the days of "Keep it Clean" Allen Gwinn was focused on errant politicians.

Why would people want a crook in office?  Why would people want a crook representing them at City Hall?  Why would people want a crook held up as a role model for their children? 

You can understand why the Park Cities crowd want Old Al back at City Hall.  He's been their man Downtown OFF and ON for a couple of decades.  He's absolutely shameless which ties right in with their zeal to own our City Hall.

There's more talk on the street about the second wave of assault from the Park Cities.  We hear that Ray Hunt has instructed JJ to sell her home and move to Dallas to be ready for a 2007 run for mayor.  Preposterous, you say?  Hey, they almost replaced our entire city charter for pocket change.

Then there's the rumor that Leo Chaney has anointed convicted wife beater Ron Price ("Just call me on my DISD cell phone" because "I'm traveling on the DISD's dime.") to be his heir to the District 7 council seat.  It's a paying gig, which would be a new thing for Ron Price.  Will Leo Chaney go back to his old job at the DISD?  If the job is so unimportant that it has been held open for him for 6 years, why does the DISD need Chaney back?

Think about the city's future?  We could have a convicted bribe-taker teamed up with a convicted wife beater making decisions that impact our lives. 

Remember how it was when Old Al went back on the council the last time?  Disgusting to think about him coming back.

Remember when we were all screaming against Old Al being named to the Police Review Board?  Poor Mr. Fantroy has to be really hitting himself in the head over that mistake.

Councilman Fantroy is in good company when you think about all the people Old Al has conned over the years.

Floyd Richards actually went to prison for GIVING Old Al money.  Old Al served his abbreviated time in front of a big screen TV in his new living room.

Paul Fielding actually went to prison because he would not rat out Old Al.  They were after Old Al, and Paul was just collateral damage. 

  You can only imagine how embarrassing Old Al's campaign race is to the Judge who allowed Old Al to serve his time at home because he had done such a great Fred Sanford act in Amarillo.  Old Al and his fake doctors did a pretty convincing act that he was at death's door.

It's hard to know what's going to happen in the District 8 race.  People are working hard to keep Councilman Fantroy in office.  The wackos are working to get Old Al elected. 

At least, we now know Marvin Crenshaw is not the little innocent he has always represented himself to be.  If he cared about honest government or "power to the people", he would not be out campaigning for a convicted bribe-taker.

I could almost cut Old Al some slack on the bribes because he is so inept nothing would have come of the money changing hands had he not had a not so inept "high ranking police official" helping him assist Nick Rizzos.  You know what bothers me more?  It's the idea that a man who pushed heroin and young women into prostitution might be sitting on the city council again.

We always heard the rumors about the California convictions, but Allen Gwinn got proof.   See
Lemma:  A Heroin Dealer's Story (, 12/22/03).

It makes me crazy when I hear people call Al Lipscomb a civil rights leader.  That's like saying Genghis Khan civilized China.  Al Lipscomb's job was to keep a lid on the radicals.  He was a good performer.  He played the role of civil rights champion as well as he did his Fred Sanford Act in Amarillo.

Why is Commissioner John Wiley Price being so quiet in this council race?  Why would he want Old Al back in office? 

You just have to be so sad for James Fantroy.  He very well may win, but this is not just about winning an election.  He has been betrayed by a man he befriended.  He put Old Al on the Police Review Board when everyone in the city was begging him not to do so.  He paid for food and housing for Old Al's family to be with him out in Amarillo during the trial, which Old Al is only now denying.

It's just too sad, and too typical of Old Al.

Think about the snake song again, but exchange the befuddled woman for any one of Old Al's victims:

Floyd Richards:  But, Al, I gave you thousands of dollars ...

Old Al   You knew I was a snake when you took me in.  

Paul Fielding:  But, Al, I tried to set you up in business, and refused to rat you out ...

Old Al   You knew I was a snake when you took me in.  

James Fantroy:  But, Al, I treated you with respect and demanded others show you respect ...

Old Al   You knew I was a snake when you took me in.  

Is District 8 going to come up snake eyes again?






  Ward politics is the Devil's key to the soul of the city council.  It is how some council members got themselves in trouble in the past.  It is the bait that will get others in trouble in the future. 4/6/8