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How much… few years ago, he told the Observer he had put up no capital to get cut in on it. Further, his partners in that deal are of some interest. For example, one is Walter Mischer, the Houston developer of some notoriety. In his liabilities column, Barnes lists “Bank notes payable.” But not which banks, what the loans were for or how he swung them. Barnes calls it $267,721 in assets and $184,100 in liabilities for a net worth of $83,621. Robert Spellings, Barnes’ executive assistant, patiently explains the mysterious ways of high finance to the nim-nums in the press corps. There is, he says, good reason for a man like Herman Bennett, who is the chief of Barnes’ many business partner-benefactors, not to want his financial dealings made public. Some nim-nums still don’t understand why an honest man would object to such disclosure and think, at the very least, that politicians have no business being in business with men who need to keep their dealings a dark secret. Now dry-cleaning, for instance, would seem like a nice, above-board business for a politician to be in. Spellings finally got somewhat exasperated with an Observer editor who was casting aspersions on Barnes’ financial statement. “That was prepared by a professional accountant!” he said proudly. Barnes has been dumping on Dolph Briscoe lately because Briscoe is hiding his wealth. That might strike one as a case of the pot calling the kettle black, until you see Briscoe’s statement. Barnes suddenly looks like Mr. Open Bank Book. Briscoe is definitely top winner in the shrinking violet contest. There is not a number in the entire statement, except for five recorded loans from banks. No amount of land, no net worth, no nothing. He lists his sources of income as ranching operations and oil and gas royalties. He does list his stocks. Briscoe is weird about his money. He’s been saying lately that his net worth is around $2.5 million. But the Observer has seen a 1964 financial statement by Briscoe in which he said his net worth was twice that much. Perhaps the old boy has lost half his money in the meantime. On a Dallas television station, Briscoe was asked how much land he owned. He wouldn’t say. He finally said he owns 15,000 acres in Dimmit County and the rest is owned jointly with members of this family who haven’t given him permission to reveal the acreage. He told another reporter that he didn’t know how many acres he owned, because he counts his land in units. He also doesn’t know how many units he owns. He said the units are different sizes. According to Jimmy Banks’ book, Briscoe owns a million acres. Briscoe said during the great KERA “debate” that his total income last year was $79,000. As Barnes acidly pointed out the next day, since Briscoe got $52,544 in federal crop subsidies last year, it is “highly unlikely” that the income of one of the largest landowners in the state was a mere $27,000. Another interesting financial statement was that filed by Bill Hobby. It begins by listing what is not included in the statement. For example, personal assets such as household furnishings. If Mr. Hobby owns a $3 million Rembrandt, who are we to know about it? Nor does his satement include his interests in The Houston Post Pension Plan and a trust fund. His listed total assets look pretty piddly for a fellow who is going to fall heir to a giant newspaper and a radio station and a television station. Hobby says it comes out to $4,069,680 in assets and $3,211,858 in liabilities with a net worth of $.857,822. Phooey. Not even a millionaire. Now John Hill, on the other hand, who owns neither newspapers nor radio nor television stations, weighs in at almost $2.5 million. One Austin attorney went so far as to say that Hill had probably made it all in the courtroom \(N.B. law students: plaintiffs attorney specializing in personal potfull of real estate, oil and gas interests, and stocks, all of which he lists in his statement. Preston Smith apparently just sat down and listed everything he owns and everything he owes, but gave no clues as to how he got it or why he borrowed it or The guv says his assets are worth $1,128,201; liabilities $120,495 and net worth $1,007,706. Ralph Hall, “Mr. Ethics,” did .a fair job on his long statement. He’s worth almost $2 million and he tells where it all is. The bad statements are massively uninformative, whereas the detailed ones are full of lovely tidbits. For example, the Farentholds made $23 on a caliche pit last year and took a 14 percent depletion allowance of $3. Bad year for caliche. M.I. May 12. 1972 3 BIG THICKET MUSEUM Saratoga, Texas Open Saturday through Thursday, morning and afternoon. Support Your Big Thicket Association NEW TITLES Titles listed below, and all others stocked by the Texas Observer Bookstore, are offered to Observer subscribers at a 20% discount. The Texas Observer Bookstore pays for the postage and handling. Amounts shown are the discounted prices, plus the 5% sales tax. To Order with your name, address and remittance to the Texas Observer Bookstore. Are you interested in receiving a more complete list of titles available from the Texas Observer Bookstore? $ 5.84 … based on TV series, same 7×10″ size, complete text, all 286 illustrations including 48 in full color. ALL MY FRIENDS ARE GOING TO $ 6.30 written about the rootlessness, the loneliness, the gasping after human contact that haunts many young Americans … through the story of a young writer on the verge of success. THE PARTY’S OVER: THE FAILURE OF POLITICS IN AMERICA $ 6.68 .. examination of breakdown of the American party system from Eisenhower to Nixon. In some detail Broder spells out his notions of a new politics … A POPULIST MANIFESTO $ 5.00 … consolidated the critique of the American political scene … content that American populism can form an effective coalition … to achieve a human participatory democracy in our time. REGULATING THE POOR $ 2.06 “A trenchant probe into the premises and assumptions of the American way of welfare, which is, the authors say, anti-poor.” THE MAKING OF A RADICAL: A POLITICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY $ 2.06 THE COMPLETE WALKER: THE JOYS & TECHNIQUES OF HIKING TEXAS UNDER A CLOUD: STORY OF THE STOCK FRAUD SCANDAL $ 5.84 THE MAN WHO WALKED THROUGH $ 5.84 BIG THICKET: A CHALLENGE FOR $10.50 For a list of selected books on sale at even more reduced prices, send us your name and address. \(Non-Texas addressees exempt from THE TEXAS OBSERVER BOOKSTORE 600 W. 7, Austin, Texas 78701