Funny money ………. “.’ . x.;x. x Austin In May, 1972, Dolph Brsicoe accepted a $15,000 cash campaign contribution he never reported. The money was given him by Clinton Manges, a South Texas banker, rancher, mystery man, and reputed political mover, who has sometimes been called the heir-apparent to George Parr’s title as the Duke of Duval County. Briscoe said in .a deposition given on Nov. 14 that he never reported the contribution because he planned to return it. According to testimony, the money sat in a pigeonhole of a closet in Briscoe’s office at his Uvalde bank and was never taken out of its original bank wrappers. Briscoe said he had tried unsuccessfully for two years to return the money to Manges. He apparently never thought of putting it in an envelope, writing Manges’ name and address on it and sending it to him by registered mail. Sissy Farenthold, who is suing Briscoe for alleged campaign financial irregularities, has requested that the court impound the money to protect it from “alteration, exchange, destruction or any other form of disposition.” Judge Herman Jones of Austin, who is presiding in the case, ordered Briscoe on Nov. 18 to show cause why this should not be done. ANGES actually delivered the money to Edwin King, Briscoe’s ranch manager, an employee of more than 20 years, who also served as Briscoe’s financial chairman for the ’72 campaign. King gave Briscoe a hand-written receipt for the money. Briscoe told Sara Sharpless of AP’s radio service in a telephone interview, “When I returned, I was campaigning at the time, when I returned he told me the money had been left there. I told him we could not accept it, it was more than I could accept from an individual, one individual, who I had not known long and did not know well and that I would get in touch with Manges and ask him to come pick up the money. This I was able to do. I did get in touch with him and had a nice conversation with him. He understood, said that he would come by ‘and pick up the money. This went on for,some time and he did not come by. I talked to him on numerous occasions and he did not come by.” There are some curious lacunae in Briscoe’s story, which may not be answered in his as-yet unfiled deposition. When did Briscoe begin getting touch with Manges and asking him to take the money back? It may have been well after the campaign filing deadline had passed, though The Houston Post reports that Briscoe testified it was “almost immediately” after he learned of the contribution. Briscoe said his last contact with Manges had been about six weeks before he gave his deposition. And it was about two months before he finally gave his deposition \(it was on Sept. 30 when Farenthold’s lawyers made it clear that they were interested in the Manges become unavailable for deposition on this matter. He remained unavailable until after his re-election. Another unanswered question is why Manges chose to give Briscoe the 15 thou. Could it have been unsolicited, could Manges have simply volunteered it out of the blue? Although Briscoe’s deposition has yet to be filed, there are some indications that on this question and others of an interesting nature, his memory has failed him. He is not able to recall. Briscoe may not have known Manges well or long, but he could hardly have avoided knowing who he was. While Manges may be a “mystery man” to the average newspaper reader, he is not so to his fellow South Texas jefes. According to the Dallas Morning News’ Dave McNeely in an excellent News series on Duval County, Manges was called before a Brownsville federal grand jury for several days of testimony during three months this past summer. Subject of questioning: unknown. First apparent official cognizance of Manges is in 1965: he pleads guilty to a charge of having given false information on an SBA loan application and is fined $2,000. In 1968, he becomes involved in a receivership hearing in which he manages to gain control of ranch property owned by the Guerra family of Starr County. In connection with that, he also gains control of a state bank in Rio Grande City. At one point District. Judge 0. P. Carrillo was in charge of the receivership case, but he was disqualified after it was learned that Manges had paid almost $7,000 toward the purchase of a new Cadillac for Carrillo, in addition to granting him some low-cost grazing leases on land involved in the Guerra receivership case. In 1971 Manges gained control of the Groos National Bank in, San Antonio and of the Duval County Ranch Co. He now owns about 100,000 acres of South Texas. Manges shelled out over a quarter of million dollars in bail and fines to keep his friends George and Archer Parr out of jail. His friend H. C. Guerra III, an officer in Manges’ Rio Grande City bank, was named to the State Banking Commission by Preston Smith. Guerra resigned in May of this year. Manges has hired a string of politically-potent attorneys to represent him in his various financial dealings: they Bates, comptroller-elect Bob Bullock, Cameron County Democratic chairman Jack Skaggs and others. Bullock’s connection with Manges apparently goes back to the late 1950’s, when Bullock was practicing law in McAllen. He became friends with Manges at that time and has represented him on and off ever since. Mostly on. Bullock says he did not represent Manges while Bullock was in public office, i.e., while serving as secretary of state, but he has represented him before and since on land, banking, and oil matters and that he will probably continue to do so until he takes office next January. In fact, Bullock will, until then, represent Manges on the matter of the $15,000 cash contribution. Manges is also known to be a friend of Oscar Wyatt, the head of Coastal States Gas Co.. In 1971, or possibly earlier, Manges attempted to get a presidential pardon for his 1965 faux pas on the SBA loan matter. Lloyd Bentsen, Sr., wrote, him a character reference letter at that time. Mangos was apparently imitating the course 5 November 29, 1974
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