City News

City Council settles costly Exxxotica lawsuit and more Dallas news

City Council settles costly Exxxotica lawsuit and more Dallas news

Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center
Keeping the Exxxotica expo from tainting the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center cost Dallas taxpayers more than $650,000. Courtesy photo

The Dallas City Council put some old business to bed, involving a Confederate statue and a First Amendment lawsuit. Meanwhile Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall is in the hot seat.

Here's what happened in Dallas this week:

Police chief
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall has become a target following a spike in murder and other violent crimes.

Following the bloodiest month in more than a decade, Chief Hall briefed the City Council's Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee at a meeting on June 10, where she reiterated her department's stance against violent crime.

Dallas Police are now patrolling eight crime hotspots in patrol cars, on foot, on horseback, and from above. State troopers have been sent to help Dallas combat violent crime, including surveillance helicopters and other equipment, according to Chief Hall.

When Chief Hall first arrived in Dallas, she took over an understaffed police force with poor morale. Staffing is still a struggle. Finding prospective officers is difficult with many not passing background checks in order to join the force, Chief Hall told council members.

Now she is under fire for not moving the needle fast enough, with organizations such as the National Latino Law Enforcement Organization's Greater Dallas chapter calling for her resignation. The Latino union is the largest police union with a third of its members Latino, a third black, and a third white.

City Manager T.C. Broadnax tied his future to the chief's, telling about 200 people who attended a South Dallas town hall, "as long as I am the city manager, the chief of police will be here."

The Black Police Association of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Police Association, aren't joining the chorus. "We have total confidence in Chief Hall," said Terrance Hopkins, president of the BPA.

Confederate statue bidder revealed
The Robert E. Lee statue has sold for $1.4 million, and, after the City Council meeting June 14, the public knows the new owner: Addison attorney Ronald Holmes, who made the winning bid as "LawDude" in an online auction for the bronze.

The earnings more than cover costs to remove of the Robert E. Lee as well as The Confederate Monument. The city figures there will be about $285,000 profit.

Holmes, whose law office is on the Dallas North Tollway near Belt Line Road, is free to do what he wants with the sculpture, so long it never stands in the DFW metroplex, thanks to an amendment from District 12 council member Lee Kleinman.

Holmes could have purchased it as an agent for someone else, but he has no comment on the subject.

The city is proceeding with uprooting The Confederate Monument, which faces a court challenge just as the General Lee sculpture did before the city yanked it from the ground. There are currently no plans for the monument once it's removed, except to put it in storage and out of sight.

Exxxotica lawsuit
There goes another few hundred thousand dollars away from streets and police. At its meeting June 12, Dallas City Council settled a lawsuit it brought on itself in order to ban a porn and sex convention from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. The city will pay $650,000 to settle with Three Expo Events, which sought to host its convention for a second year in the convention hall. The event drew about 15,000 people when it was held in 2015.

In case you forgot whose votes have cost Dallas all of these thousands in legal fees, it's Mayor Mike Rawlings and city council members Casey Thomas, Carolyn Arnold, Rickey Callahan, Tiffinni Young, Erik Wilson, Adam McGough, and Jennifer Staubach Gates.

In case you forgot who the driver was behind the Exxxotica ban, it was Ray Hunt, the Dallas oil tycoon and part of the rich person cabal that backed new mayor Eric Johnson in an orchestrated effort to quash the campaign of City Council member Scott Griggs.

Transgender arrest
Kendrell Lavar Lyles has been arrested for the shooting death of Mulaysia Booker, the 22-year-old, black transgender woman who was killed weeks after a brutal assault.

Lyles was already in custody, in connection with the fatal shooting of Leticia Grant in Far North Dallas, when he was linked to Booker's death. A witness to Booker's killing picked him from a lineup.

A newly released arrest affidavit shares little details abound Booker's killing but did say that Booker got in the car with Lyles on Lagow Street in South Dallas, an area known for streetwalking. Booker was later found dead in the street in Far East Dallas.

Records show Booker's cell phone was at the crime scene and remained active after her death, though the phone later pinged in West Dallas. Police didn’t find a phone for Booker at the scene.

The witness told police Lyles frequented Lagow Street "to meet with transgender prostitutes," the arrest affidavit says.

City Council swear-in
The newly elected Dallas Mayor and City Council members make it official at a swearing-in ceremony on June 17. The inauguration takes place at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. The ceremony is free and open to the public. It begins at 10 am, and a reception will follow.