Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Trinity Toll Road backers include "well-heeled North Texas philanthropists, business leaders and corporations."

Toll road backers failed to itemize $52,000

Amended disclosure by Save the Trinity details individual donors

July 25, 2007

The Dallas Morning News
Copyright 2007

A group opposing a proposed referendum on the Trinity toll road amended its campaign finance report Tuesday because it neglected to itemize $52,000 in individual contributions.

"It was my fault. I simply failed to complete the forms correctly," said Craig Holcomb, treasurer of Save the Trinity.

With the amended filing, the total amount in contributions collected by Save the Trinity did not change, remaining $146,450.

But the new disclosure gives more detail about where that money came from. It shows individual contributions, ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, from a few well-heeled North Texas philanthropists and business leaders.

In filings made public last week, Mr. Holcomb had listed $94,450 in contributions from corporations and other organizations.

He said he didn't file a separate itemized list of individual contributions because he misread the forms. He amended the group's report, on file with the Dallas city secretary's office, after the omission was brought to his attention by The Dallas Morning News.

The largest individual contribution to Save the Trinity, $20,000, came from oilman Louis A. Beecherl.

Dallas investor Peter O'Donnell Jr. and his wife, Edith, together gave $10,000. J. Ralph Ellis Jr. of Irving, an oil executive active in many civic organizations, also gave $10,000.

Frances Walne of Richardson, widow of the founder of Herb's Paint & Body Shops and the mother of former Dallas City Council member Alan Walne, gave $5,000. So did Deedie Rose, an arts patron and wife of Rusty Rose, former co-owner of the Texas Rangers.

In a videotaped endorsement for Save the Trinity, Ms. Rose said the Trinity River Corridor Project, of which the toll road is one component, has the power to transform Dallas.

"Great urban plans or the lack thereof make enormous impacts on the way we live and work in the city," she said, "and this ... was an attempt to get a great urban plan for this enormous asset that we have."

Mr. Holcomb's group has emerged as the organized opposition to an effort by City Council member Angela Hunt to force a public vote on the toll road.

Ms. Hunt's group, TrinityVote, has gathered more than 80,000 signatures for a November referendum. The city secretary is expected to announce by the end of the week whether a sufficient number – about 48,000 – are valid.

According to its finance report, TrinityVote raised more money (about $197,000) and spent more (about $219,000) than Save the Trinity.

© 2007 The Dallas Morning News Co

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