UTIMCO: The Texas Rangers Connection
George W. Bush had connections to the Texas Rangers baseball team, which of course meant that UT had connections as well. Dallas billionaire Tom Hicks, a former UT regent and UTIMCO director, had bought the team for $250 million, Bush's share was around 15 million dollars. Even now, UTIMCO (unlawfully) has private meetings at the team's new ballpark; it was at one of these meetings in Arlington that Tom Loeffler and Tom Hicks decided to invest in the Maverick Capital Fund, run by the Wyly family.
Bush's dealings with the team
Fresh off of his insider trading deal of Harken Oil stock, George W. Bush was eyeing the Texas Rangers. Bush was offered a sizeable chunk of the Rangers for only $600,000 relatively soon after he gained a reported $848,560 from sales of stocks days before the company went under. The people who made this unusual offer were the people who also helped Harken through some hard times- "mainly friends of my uncle" (and of course his of his father).
Some of the names include Richard Rainwater, who was told by then Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth to join "out of respect" for President George H.W. Bush 1, Mercer Reynolds, William DeWitt, Rusty Rose, and his best friend Roland Betts. Later when Bush was dealing with the prospect of being President of the nation, he sold the team to Hicks in June of 1998.
Taxpayers' money used to make him "more money than I ever dreamed I would make."
-George W. Bush to the Fort Worth Star Telegram
- the following is adapted from a article in the Texas Observer2
Bush and his partners were looking to build a new stadium for the team, their wit generating the name the Ballpark at Arlington. There were some private owners of the land Bush and his partners were looking to build upon, and the owners were not interested in selling to these men for the astoundingly low offer they presented.
Instead of increasing the offer, Bush and his partners turned to a (conveniently) newly formed government agency, the Arlington Sports Facility Development Authority (ASFDA). The agency had foreclosed the land and paid only 1/6 of its worth to its rightful owners. The agency then floated the bonds to flip the bill for the acquisition, which was guaranteed and repaid by taxpayers.
This subsidy totaled $135 million, as compared to only $60 million that the team itself paid. This made the team more appealing for Hicks (as if their invaluable friendship wasn't enough). In addition to the the excessive profits, Bush used his powers as governor to sign into law a $10 million bonus for the owners of sport franchises who build new stadiums. By law, the $10 million from the Ballpark at Arlington originally went to Rainwater, but he ended up giving it in full to Bush, partly for already making the team cash hand over fist, partly since that meager amount (at least to Rainwater) would go a long way in the world of politics. All in all, Bush used his powers as governor to make himself rich while the rest of the state copes with underpaid state employees and more children not covered by health care than every other state in the nation besides two (this is while we're 4th in eligibility!).
Aside from the $170 million in profit, each of the selling partners are continuing to stiff the taxpayers a measly (as compared to what they all made) $7.5 million. Under the terms and agreements to receiving the land, these men are still required to pay this but continue to ignore demands.