The Making of a Bank Austin A state banking official recent 1 y pinned back the ears of a Republican lawyer who dared to suggest that there might be Democratic politics involved in the granting of a new bank charter. The lawyer, Earl King of Fort Worth, in opposing the proposed charter for the Bank of North Texas between Dallas and Fort Worth, asked ban king board member Robert Strauss of Dallas, the Democratic national committeeman from Texas, to disqualify himself from acting on the charter decision. King listed the following relationships as his reasons for questioning the propriety of Strauss’ participating in the decision: Two of Strauss’ law partners, Dick Gump and Alan Feld, are stockholders in KPCM Radio in Fort Worth. Dee Kelly, a stockholder in the radio station, also owns stock in the proposed bank. Kelly was Tarrant county campaign manager for Democratic Lt. Gov.-elect Ben Barnes. In addition to holding 3,000 shares of stock in the proposed bank, Kelly also holds 14,465 shares in trust. Jake Jacobsen, a former aide to President Lyndon Johnson and, according to Newsweek magazine, the man responsible for taking care of the president’s banking interests, also is down for 3,000 of the bank’s approximate total of 40,000 shares of stock. “I understand that Mr. Jacobsen is acquiring the stock for other parties,” King said. The lawyers representing the proposed bank were Joe Long, Jacobsen’s Austin law partner, and Frank C. Erwin, Jr., Strauss’ immediate predecessor as national Democratic committeeman. “This close association of high officials in the Democratic party constitutes a conflict of interest, and so I ask that Mr. Strauss be disqualified,” King concluded. Strauss, Erwin, Long, Kelly and a number of lawyers present at the hearing answered King’s charges with an air of outraged innocence. Strauss was first. “I think you have every right to raise these objections,” he told King. “The truth of the matter is that you are in unfriendly surroundings. Unfortunately, I am closer to the other side than I am to you. Dick Gump and Alan Feld are both long time partners and friends of mine. . .. Dee Kelly is a good friend of mine. But I might point out I also have close friends challenging this charter. I find nothing sinister in my relationships . . . even with Mr. Erwin over there. . . . There used to be a thing called McCarthyism in this country and this is the worst form of McCarthyism. Nothing you have said here would cause me to disqualify myself. [Doing so] would embarrass my law partners.” Joe Long answered for Jacobsen, insisting that his partner holds 3,000 shares of stock purely for himself. Dee Kelly told the commissioners that he too was holding stock only for himself and that the stock put in trust would be distributed later to possible depositors “for developmental purposes.” “I’m so mad I don’t know whether I should speak or not,” Erwin said. “If that isn’t the most psychotic bunch of Republican charges! They’ve been trying to prove for 20 years that Lyndon Johnson owns all the banks in Austin. This is one of the biggest pieces of McCarthyism I’ve ever heard of.’: Garrett Morris, a Connally appointee to the highway commission who represented a competing bank in the Hurst area, expressed his “utmost confidence in the board.” Other lawyers in the room followed suit. At the beginning of the hearing, King told the board he represented three banks: the Northeast National Bank of Richland Hills, the First National Bank of Euless and the American Bank of Commerce of Grapevine, all in the area of the proposed new bank. Later in the meeting, he said he was “solely responsible for his remarks.” Strauss corrected him, saying that his clients also were responsible for his accusations. Then he asked if representatives of the three banks were present. Blake Tibbets, president of the Euless bank, stood and told Strauss that King did not represent his bank. “I voted more for you than I have against you,” Strauss told Tibbets. “Yes, sir, you have,” Tibbets answered. T. E. Patterson, president of the Grapevine bank, told Strauss that King represented his bank “only secondarily.” “Your bank is on record. I want you to affirm or repudiate those charges,” Strauss said. “I now disassociate myself from the charges,” Patterson said. “I knew you didn’t object when I sat on the commission and approved your bank,” Strauss answered. “Well, we’re down to one bank,” Strauss answered. Charles Binkley, president of the Richland Hills bank, affirmed that King represented his bank. “Thank God we have found somebody for you,” Strauss told King. King offered his “deepest apologies” to Strauss at the end of the hearing. “McCarthy has never been one of the people I admire. I regret if my remarks made it appear I was that type,” he said. Within 24 hours after the hearing ended, the three-man board had approved a charter for the Bank of North Texas. K.N. January 10, 1969 17 DO YOU TEACH political science sociology history civics economics government social science social studies literature journalism creative writing? Your students may welcome the opportunity to receive The Texas Observer for a semester. For orders of ten or more copies of each issue sent to a single address the cost for the semester is just S1.50 per student. Semester subscriptions will begin with the February 7th issue. 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