Saturday, September 05, 2009
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Regent: I was pressured to resign
Perry appointee endorsed rival for Texas governor
APRIL CASTRO Associated Press
Friday, September 4, 2009
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AUSTIN — Texas Tech regent Mark Griffin said Friday he was pressured to resign his governor-appointed seat after he endorsed Gov. Rick Perry’s rival, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, in the governor’s race.
Griffin, who made a recent public appearance endorsing Hutchison, told The Associated Press that Perry’s former chief of staff, Brian Newby, called him days later with the message: “The governor expects loyalty out of his appointees.”
Griffin said he asked Newby if the governor wanted him to resign, and Newby said yes. Griffin said Newby told him, “The governor’s not going to ask you himself” but Griffin says he got the impression that his resignation was in the best interest of the university.
Hutchison is challenging Perry in the March 2010 Republican primary. Perry is seeking his third full term as governor.
Newby did not immediately return a phone message Friday seeking comment.
But a spokeswoman for Perry, Allison Castle, said Perry’s office had nothing to do with Griffin’s resignation.
“The governor appreciates Mr. Griffin’s service to Texas Tech and the state of Texas. Our office has not had any contact with Mr. Griffin regarding his resignation (other than Griffin’s resignation letter and Perry’s acceptance letter). The governor will name a replacement, but no decision has been made,” Castle wrote.
“I felt like staying on would put the institution at risk, and I’m not willing to put the university at risk,” Griffin said.
Perry appointed Griffin, a Lubbock businessman, to the board in 2005. Griffin said he agreed to back Hutchison about two years ago, before he knew Perry would seek re-election. But he withheld a public endorsement until after the legislative session ended in June so his political activity wouldn’t harm legislation and funding for Texas Tech.
At the Aug. 20 rally in Lubbock, Griffin introduced Hutchison as “a lady who can transcend politics by strong, effective, principled leadership of the state of Texas,” according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, which first reported Griffin’s resignation.
Hutchison spokesman Jeff Sedosky released a statement saying the campaign was “shocked and dismayed to hear that Perry is yet again playing politics with Texas’ universities.”
In an Aug. 28 letter to Griffin, Perry accepted Griffin’s resignation on Aug. 28 and thanked him for his service.
Newby, who was on Perry’s staff since 2004, rose from general counsel to chief of staff, a position he served in for about 16 months, before leaving last year. Newby, now practicing law in Fort Worth, also was a Texas Tech regent from 1999 through 2004.
In February, Hutchison suggested political retribution was behind a dispute between Perry and then-University of Texas regent Robert Rowling that led to Rowling’s abrupt resignation from the UT System board.
Rowling, a Perry appointee, headed a fundraising arm of Hutchison’s campaign for governor.
Hutchison called the dispute a “setup” and “partly a payback” by Perry. Perry’s office denied there was any political motivation.
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Posted by Shorebreak on September 4, 2009 at 8:45 p.m.
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Perry, the thug that he is, doesn't hesitate to stifle his appointee's personal political preferences. Thank you for your fine service to Tech Regent Griffin.
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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
I hope they charge a heavy cover before it turns ghetto. I don't trust Corpus Christi people one bit.
New Omni presence
The downtown Omni Hotels are reopening the former Wienerschnitzel at McGee Beach as a restaurant/bar.
Omni is leasing the city-owned building, has repainted and renovated, and will name it The Beach House.
The restaurant/bar will open at 11 a.m. Friday during July Fourth festivities and will be open Thursdays through Sundays.
The Beach House is meant for Omni guests and will charge non-guests a cover fee.
The fee has not been determined as the permit process is under way, said Paulette Good, marketing director for the Omni Hotels. She expects the deal to be final by July 10.
"The reason why we decided to do this is so we could clean up McGee Beach and make it more inviting for visitors and current residents," Good said. "We want to have drinks and food service for those who visit or want to enjoy the day under one of our umbrellas."
Good said the building had begun to deteriorate and had been vandalized with graffiti, so Omni officials decided to take action.