Monday, March 09, 2009

The Outlaws Take Over SMU

The wild west still has a fascination with outlaws, something the former cretin in chief seems to be counting on in his legacy. He seems to have missed the part about the outlaws of choice, such as Bonnie & Clyde, actually robbing the rich instead of bankrupting the poor.

In Dallas, owners and renters of a condominium that got swept into planning for the Liebury were powered out, and paid poorly, before the proposal of the Liebury was allowed to be reported on. The price those residents received was not a big one, and they are now in court to get compensation for the amount they could have asked, and gotten, if the usual secrecy hadn't been used against the public by the cabal.

Former President> George W. Bush is fending off efforts to pull him into a long-running legal battle that raises questions about whether SMU owns all the land where the Bush presidential library is set to be built.

Two condominium owners who are suing Southern Methodist University say they need sworn statements from Bush and his wife, Laura, about what SMU officials told them in private meetings before SMU was selected as the site of the presidential library. Attorneys for the former president have until 5 pm. today to file papers in state court outlining the legal rationale for their position that the couple should not be required to give depositions.

Already, businessman Ray Hunt, SMU president Gerald Turner and former White House counsel Harriet Miers have spent hours answering questions from lawyers for the two former condominium owners. Hunt is past chairman of SMU's board of trustees and Miers earned her undergraduate and law degrees there.

Bush's attorney is expected to cite cases in which courts have ruled that current and former presidents should not be drawn into civil disputes.

"What he's asking for is extraordinary," said Bush's lawyer, John H. Martin, referring to plaintiff Gary Vodicka. "He has had ample opportunity to ask others questions. He does not need to get any information from the president."

At issue is whether SMU officials pitched their proposal for the presidential library to the Bushes before the university bought condominiums that sat on a key tract at the proposed library site. The timing is important, plaintiffs say, because it could establish that SMU officials did not disclose information that could affect the value of the land.

Although Hunt, Turner and Miers have already been deposed – some for more than six hours – plaintiffs insist they also need the Bushes to say what they recall from the private meeting.

"They're fact witnesses in the case," said Dallas lawyer Larry J. Friedman, who represents a former condo owner, Robert Tafel. "We think they'll be truthful, and that's the key to our case."

But Bush's lawyer said that "merely showing that a president or former president possesses knowledge is not enough" to meet the legal standard required to compel the Bushes to submit depositions. Martin, a partner with Thompson & Knight, said he does not plan to assert executive privilege. He cited court rulings that protect presidents from "abusive" efforts to obtain their testimony.

But plaintiffs' lawyers say things have changed since Bush left the White House in January.

"I understand that when George Bush was running the country, their argument was that he had more pressing, important matters. ... I get it. We all get it," Friedman said. "We were patient. Now they're just citizens, and we respectfully need their truthful testimony about this lawsuit."

The land in question, along Central Expressway on the eastern edge of campus, was the site of University Gardens Condominiums. SMU, acting through Peruna Properties Inc., acquired units in the complex and eventually persuaded remaining tenants to sell and move out. The condominium's board of directors eventually sold the complex to Peruna Properties.

The lawsuit maintains that university officials never told condo owners that they wanted the land as a site for the presidential library.

They say condo owners might have gotten a higher price for their homes had they known.

But SMU officials maintain that they bought University Gardens because the property could fit into any number of future projects, not just the presidential library. SMU tore down the complex after purchasing it.

There is a tendency of the occupiers of the White House from 2001-2009 to keep the public from possession of its rights, even the most basic ones. We are in a worldwide crisis caused by their ideology. That ideology is being contested in this suit, although to a very limited extent.

It would be quite reassuring to have the inviolability of a criminal element overturned so that justice could be done. This suit would be a good place to start.


More on the Bush Legacy he hates to acknowledge, via Froomkin;

Daniel Gross writes in Newsweek: "To hear conservatives tell it, you'd think mobs of shiftless welfare moms were marauding through the streets of Greenwich and Palm Springs, lynching bankers and hedge-fund managers, stringing up shopkeepers, and herding lawyers into internment camps. President Obama and his budgeteers, they say, have declared war on the rich."

The "'massive increase in progressivity' that [Washington Post opinion columnist Michael] Gerson deplores. It consists largely (but not exclusively) of returning marginal tax rates to their levels of 2001, before Gerson and the epically incompetent Bush administration of which he was a part got their hands on the reins of power."

Amazingly, the pundittoes keep referring to President Obama's 'raising taxes in a recession', something he is not doing and which is totally false.

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Blogger Meander said...

Someone, someday, will get one of the Bush Davidians in the dock for something - and on that day all hell will break loose.

I'm stocking popcorn.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Why does that make me think of that scene in the Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the fella melts down? Or the ending of The Bacchae?

1:04 PM  

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