|For Immediate Distribution:
March 10, 2010
|Texans for Rick Perry: (512) 478-3276|
Mark Miner: email@example.com
Catherine Frazier: firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Houston Mayor Bill White continues to refuse to release his tax returns, but the truth about the first part of his hidden fortune is already public knowledge: he got rich as a trial lawyer.
“Bill White is trying to prevent the public from learning the truth about his multi-million dollar fortune, but no matter how long he hides his taxes, the fact remains that he first became rich as a trial lawyer,” said Texans for Rick Perry spokesman Mark Miner.
As the Associated Press reported on Feb. 28, 2010, “After graduating in 1979, White joined Susman Godfrey, which helped pioneer and expand the use of get-paid-if-you-win contingency fees. The arrangement was a good fit for White, who soon made partner. By the time he left in the early 1990s, he was making more than $1 million a year.” (SOURCE: “White taps legal, business ties in bid for governor,” Associated Press, 2/18/10)
In addition to withholding his tax returns, White is now denying his own biography. During an event held by the Texas Tribune on March 9, 2010, White attempted to mislead the public about his trial lawyer past:
Question from Evan Smith, Texas Tribune: So they call you a trial lawyer. True?
Bill White: I mean, I tried lawsuits but I have never, plaintiff’s personal injury, I represented businesses, that’s who I represented.
Question: Do you think that being labeled a trial lawyer in this state in 2010 is a negative?
Bill White: Well if it was true, absolutely. If it’s false, then maybe people would see there’s enough falsehoods and that they should not trust people with no credibility.
Question: Is the message here …
Bill White: Including journalists who repeat these things.
Question: If we were repeating something that were not true, that might be …
Bill White: That’s my point.
Question: Is repeating the fact that you were a trial lawyer necessarily false?
Bill White: Well as I said, I represented businesses. I did litigation. The word trial lawyer, if you mean plaintiff’s personal injury trial lawyer, I didn’t do that. If you mean that I tried cases for businesses, I did that.
A candidate guide published by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Feb. 1, 2010, said White “was a plaintiff attorney at Houston's Susman Godfrey from 1979 to 1993.” (SOURCE: “Candidates for Texas governor,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 2/1/10)
In 2003, while running for Houston mayor, the San Antonio Express-News wrote, “White moved to Houston in 1979 and soon amassed a fortune as a plaintiff lawyer.” (SOURCE: “Houston benefits from San Antonio's talent pool,” San Antonio Express-News, 12/4/03)
Also in 2003, the Houston Chronicle published an article titled, “White is selective of which business dealings he touts,” in which the paper reported, “White once worked as a plaintiff's lawyer, suing businesses rather than running them.” (SOURCE: “White is selective of which business dealings he touts,” Houston Chronicle, 11/30/03)
In 1999, White identified himself as a trial lawyer in an op-ed he wrote for the Dallas Morning News. His op-ed began, “Every veteran trial lawyer knows that the wording of the question submitted to the jury frequently shapes the verdict,” and the article’s byline says, “Bill White, a Houston businessman, taught law and for many years tried lawsuits.” (SOURCE: “Senators shouldn't ask wrong questions,” Dallas Morning News, 1/24/99)
In 1995, when White was under consideration to become chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, the Houston Chronicle wrote, “The hottest name lately has been White, a trial lawyer who was the chief fund-raiser for Clinton in Texas.” (SOURCE: “Shaken Texas Democrats try to retool for '96 vote/Laughlin's switch latest blow to party,” Houston Chronicle, 7/2/95)