Woodley "Woody" Hunt

Woodley Hunt

Woodley "Woody" Hunt

Vital Stats

Gubernatorial Campaign Contributions:

-Bush: $39,000

-Perry: $73,038

Years as Regent:

February 1999-February 2005

Residency: El Paso, Texas

"As a business we are dependent on the product that is now being turned out by the elementary and secondary K-12 system in the state."

-Hunt, on the problems in higher education: the "product" (students) are not being "turned out" (educated) appropriately for his "business" (UT).

Woodley Hunt is an important figure in the Texas business scene. In addition to the regents, he has a few positions at UTIMCO that give him substantial control over state funds. Hunt is a regental representative and vice chairman of the Board of Directors at UTIMCO. He is also a member of the Audits and Ethics Committee at UTIMCO. Mr. Hunt is allowed this control despite his inability to responsibly manage his own companies.

Hunt is chairman and CEO of Hunt Building Corporation (HBC), a major defense contractor for military construction. According to a press statement released by HBC, "Hunt Building Company, Ltd., founded in 1947, is a privately owned, full service development construction company. Hunt Building has built over 33,000 housing units for various branches of the U.S. military throughout the United States and its territories, from its headquarters in El Paso, Texas. Hunt has built more military housing in the U.S. than any other entity." HBC is on the forefront of the privatization of the military, extracting huge profits from development contracts doled out by the military. In 2003, HBC was part of a consortium that was selected for the largest military housing privatization project in history valued at $750 million.

However, the gravy train does not always run smoothly. HBC was sued by the U.S. Justice Department for building military barracks that would not stand up in the wind. The Justice Department found that more than half of the housing units he built at Ellsworth Air Force Base were "uninhabitable." The department cited violations of "fire safety rules, flawed heating systems and improper design... causing units to break apart in high winds." In some units, pipes were simply inserted into the ground to make it look like mandatory sewer clean-outs had been installed. Also, improperly vented plumbing caused sewer gases to back up into some units.

Hunt is also a member of the Governor's Business Council with regents Rita Clements, Dub Riter, and Charles Miller. Hunt also joined forces with regents Riter and Miller on education reform via the non-profit Cimarron Foundation. The three have worked with El Paso Energy's Bill Wise and Enron's Ken Lay, among many others, to advance charter schools and standardized testing on state government monies. Underfunded public schools are hurt furthermore with these "experiments" to improve education in Texas. UT has a charter school that will open in August 2003. Hunt has also told the Daily Texan that he is "especially interested in privatizing higher education." He seems to have gained a victory with deregulating tuition, which will ultimately hurt students.

The Longhorn Pipeline Connection

The Longhorn Pipeline has been dormant for the past 50 years but is hoping to be resurrected. It extends from Houston to El Paso, meeting with the Chevron and Kinder Morgan pipelines in West Texas. Hunt serves on the Board of Directors for the strategically located banks Chase Bank in Houston and El Paso, the book ends of the Longhorn Pipeline. Chase Bank is a part of JP Morgan Chase, who had $630,177 in investments from UTIMCO as of June 2003. Hunt also serves on the Texas Regional Advisory Board of JP Morgan Chase that is comprised of CEO's from the corporate energy world (such as Conoco, El Paso Energy, and Enron). JP Morgan Chase is also a parent company of the Beacon Energy Investment Group Fund, which owns 31.5 percent of the Longhorn Partnership.

As of June 2003, UTIMCO had $9.3 million total invested in JP Morgan Chase, ExxonMobil, BP Amoco, and Williams Companies Inc. that own a majority of the partnership. The pipeline is opposed by many, including the City of Austin. With seats at JP Morgan Chase, Chase Bank, the Board of Regents, and UTIMCO, Hunt demonstrates that integrating business and politics can go against public opinion. And don't be surprised if Hunt gets re-appointed by Governor Rick Perry since he received $136,438 from the Hunt Building Corporation in the 2002 gubernatorial race (with $73,038 coming from Hunt's personal donations).

-parts selected from pipelineaction.org

Bibliography

Boards and Executive Positions

Hunt Building Corporation:
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer

Chase Bank of Texas, N.A., Houston:
Board of Directors

Chase Bank of Texas, N.A., El Paso:
Board of Directors

The Cimarron Foundation:
President

El Paso Leadership & Research Council:
Member

The Governor's Business Council:
Member

Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce Foundation:
Board Member

The University of Texas Investment Management Co (UTIMCO):
Director

UTIMCO Audits and Ethics Committee:
Member