Juan John’s fortune Austin John Connally is a lawyer, banker, rancher and oilman. When he retired from the governorship in 1969 he became a senior partner in a mammoth Houston law firm now called Vinson, Elkins, Searls & Connally. He is on the board of directors of First City National Bank of Houston along with three members of the Elkins family, his partner David T. Searls, George R. Brown of Brown & Root and John H. Crooker, a partner in another of Houston’s giant firms, Fulbright, Crooker, Freeman, Bates & Jaworski. Poor’s Register for 1970 lists Connally as being on the boards of General Portland Cement Co. of Dallas, an oil well cement and portland cement company; Halliburton Co., a Dallas oil field service firm \(George Instruments, Inc., of Dallas, an immensely profitable electronics firm; and Gibraltar Savings Association of Houston, the largest savings and loan company in Houston with $335,000,000 in assets \(also serving on Gibraltar’s board is Herbert Frendsley, The Observer has learned that Connally is associated with several other firms. He is a limited partner in World of Animals Co., which last year built a drive-through zoo of exotic animals east of Dallas. Connally’s initial contribution to the venture was $4,500. He is on the board of directors of Texas Star, Inc., a Sunday supplement magazine that is scheduled to be inserted in 20 Texas newspapers. The other two members of the board are Gordon Fulcher, chairman of the Texas Water Quality Board and a Connally appointee, and William Berger, the public relations man for the WQB and formerly a Connally appointee to the Water Rights Commission. Jimmy Banks, who used to be an Austin reporter for the Dallas Morning News and a columnist for the Houston Tribune, is editor of the Texas Star. The former Texas governor is also on the board of Mid-Tex Communications Systems, Inc., a commercial telephone service company in Killeen. The company is authorized to issue ten million shares of stock at $1 each. AFTER CONNALLY was graduated from the University of Texas law school in 1939, he immediately went to work for Cong. Lyndon Baines Johnson as his secretary in Washington. He was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy in 1941 and was promoted to lieutenant commander by 1945. While Connally was in the Navy, he was sent to Algiers where he served on the staff that planned the invasion of Sicily and Italy. \(Apparently his experience in Algeria, combined with his knowledge of the oil business, paid off, for, according to Marquis Childs, Connally recently was paid a $50,000 retainer fee by the Algerian government for advice After being released from active duty, Connally and several other veterans organized Radio Station KVET in Austin. He was president and manager of the stations for three years. Then, in 1949, he joined the Austin law firm of Powell, Wirtz & Rauhut. In 1951, Connally moved to Fort Worth to work for Sid Richardson, one of the Back issues Austin The Observer still has a couple hundred copies of Ronnie Dugger’s interview with John Connally on Connally’s retirement from state government. \(Obs., Connallyphiles and phobes might be interested in ordering thii back copy at the cost of 26 cents each. Other back issues still in stock and pertinent to Connally include: “Connally and the Issue” \(of public “Connally and the Richardson Estate,” May 1, 1964. “The Confrontation” \(between Connally and the Valley farm workers “Hubert and John” \(spat at the 1968 He joined the law firm of Richardson & became an officer and/or director of many of Richardson’s companies. They included Richardson Carbon Co., Richardson Oil Co., the Richardson Foundation, the New York Central Railroad, Texas State Network and Tarrant Broadcasting Co., Amarillo Broadcasting Co. and Valley Broadcasting Co. President John Kennedy appointed Connally Secretary of the Navy in December of 1960. At the Senate hearing on the Connally nomination Jan. 18, 1961, Connally explained, “During the past nine years, I have been engaged in problems concerning the production of oil and gas, and the running of two radio stations, the running of a television station, and operating cattle ranches of approximately 4,000 head on 70,000 acres of land, running five drugstores in Fort Worth, various mining interests, housing development corporations, a carbon black plant, a gasoline extraction plant,, a suburban acreage development, an oilfield servicing, company, hydrocarbon storage activity which involved,the underground storage of liquid hydrocarbons, and a hotel.” Connally said his total income during. the period came as a salaried employee for Richardson & Bass. As such, Connally spent a good deal of time in Washington looking out for Richardson’s oil interests. His friend Lyndon Johnson urged him to register as a lobbyist, but Connally never did. He was, however, a leader in the General Gas Committee, the lobby group formed by the oil industry in 1956 to push the natural gas bill through Congress. During consideration of the bill, Senator Case of South Dakota alleged that oil company lobbyists had made him an improper offer of campaign funds in connection with the bill. President Eisenhower vetoed the gas measure after Congress passed it because of the lobbying practices employed to get it through. WHILE CONNALLY severed his affiliations with all of Richardson’s companies when he became Secretary of the Navy, he remained one of, three co-executors of the Richardson estate. Connally enjoyed an income of from $40,000 to $80,000 a year by virtue of being an executor \(Obs., At the 1961 hearing, Connally said he was on the board of directors of Insurance Securities, Inc., a California management company of a mutual trust fund. He owned 26,000 shares which he bought at $5 a share. He also owned 38 shares of stock in the American National Bank of Austin and he received about $315 a month in royalties from an oil well in Gaines County. Before Connally was inaugurated as governor of Texas in 1963, he told a Houston Press reporter that his net worth was “about a half million most of it represented by my home and ranch.” He owned in his name or the names of his children about half the Connally family’s 4,000 acres in Wilson County. By 1964, the spread was up to 4,500 acres and Connally and his children were raising Galiciano horses, Santa Gertrudis cattle and Coastal Bermuda grass, all for sale through Connally Cattle and Coastal Co. When the governor left office in January, 1968, he was estimated to have about 5,000 acres of land in Wilson County, his home county, 15 acres on Lake McQueeny near San Antonio as well as the 14,500-acre Tortuga Ranch in Dimmitt and Zavala counties. The ranch was bought in 1965 for an estimated $300,000. The Connallys have built on the ranch a two-story, four-bedroom home with a swimming pool and landing strip. One reporter has described the house as “modestly majestic.” K.N. January 8, 1971 7
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