We've been moving toward this day for quite some time — five years, to be exact. In 2008, the City of Dallas signed leases with Trinity East Energy, giving the company mineral rights to large swaths of city land. But a 22-acre tract in L.B. Houston Park was not on the initial gas drilling lease brought before the council.
The fact that parklands were added late into the deal, coupled with the fact that city manager Mary Suhm signed a letter promising Trinity East Energy that she would do everything in her power to help the company drill on parklands (which is specifically prohibited by city ordinances), landed Suhm in hot water.
Mayor Mike Rawlings ordered a briefing for Suhm to address the council about her dealings with Trinity East. Although Scott Griggs and Angela Hunt took Suhm to task, most councilmembers felt the city manager did the best she could with a complicated lease agreement.
In the end, Suhm was bestowed with grace, not the wrath many expected. Nevertheless, it was still about as colorful as three hours at City Hall can be. Here’s what you missed:
When you step back and look at this convoluted mess, which looks worse all the time, you can see that it’s not only our health, safety, and air and water that’s at risk, but its democracy itself and your legacy as someone entrusted to make the right decisions. — Molly Rooke, Dallas Residents at Risk
You had every opportunity to clear the air on this, and we’re having to wait five years. And I don’t buy what you’re saying. I believe we need an independent investigation on this to look at all the facts … and make a separate legal conclusion about whether there was any wrongdoing. — Councilmember Angela Hunt
I recognize that we have to be accountable, and I recognize that you have the right to change your mind. — Mary Suhm
That’s a very short peg to hang your hat on. — Councilmember Scott Griggs
I distrust you. I think this was dishonest. — Angela Hunt
You’ve done nothing but stood up for what is right for Dallas, Texas. — Councilmember Dwaine Caraway
I don’t think that our city manger did anything deceiving or behind closed doors to hurt the citizens or the city. — Councilmember Vonciel Jones Hill
This is my life’s work, and I didn’t lie to you. It is not worth all this to lie to you. — Mary Suhm
We have concluded that the city manager did not exceed her authority when she executed the Trinity East lease agreement. — City attorney Tim Perkins
The majority is speaking that you were within your bounds. — Mayor Mike Rawlings