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If Ray, in particular, seems absorbed with peddling this peculiar obsession, his zealotry may be driven by guilt guilt by association, that is. The Hutchisons’ dirty little secret is that Ray in his lucrative work as a bond attorney collaborated in a deeply troubled business deal with several of the men he is now accusing. He pegs businessman Michael Graham as the “pivotal” conspirator against his wife, along with Mattox. Yet much of the mud that Ray flings about Graham and others emanates from his own prior business dealings with them a fact he didn’t volunteer when seeking to pawn off his tidbits. Says Ray of the “scheming” Democrats: “This is a sewer system, and these people wallow in it.” Hutchison should know; he wallowed in it, too. The association dates back to 1989, when the bond lawyer and the Houston businessman convinced officials in six rural Texas counties to issue tax-exempt securities to finance privately run 500-bed jails in each of their communities. The bonds received a critical go-ahead from the office of the Texas attorney general Jim Mattox. The controversial concept of private prisons also later received public support from another high-profile public official: Texas State Treasurer Kay Bailey Hutchison. But after Graham’s jails were built, state agencies deemed the facilities substandard; instead of generating revenue, the prisons sat empty, throwing the bonds into default. The state later purchased them for just half the cost of construction. Alleging fraud in the $74 million deal, the bondholders, left holding the bag, sued both Graham, the dealmaker, and Ray Hutchison, whose job as bond attorney for the counties was to review the financial arrangements and assure that the transaction was legal and that all contractual arrangements were fully disclosed. Though Hutchison denied any wrongdoing, in October he settled the federal case out of court, paying the ‘bondholders $655,686. When first asked about the lawsuit, the senator’s husband brushed the matter aside, dismissing it as “insignificant.” Digging into the matter, Ray declares, would reflect a loss of “focus.” Confronted later with the details of the case, Hutchison says he gave back “a portion of his firm’s fee” only because other participants in the deal had misled the counties and investors as well as his firm, not because he or his firm did anything wrong. Hutchison points out that the federal judge’s order dismissing him from the suit after a settlement was reached states that he did not engage in fraud or malpractice. Nonetheless, the tale of Ray Hutchison’s private business dealings with the very same operatives he now accuses of conspiring against his wife throws into high relief an old maxim: You lie with dogs, you get up with fleas. Of the “Democrat operatives,” whom he believes participated in the initial scheme, Ray says: “I know them, and I know them well.” His words could not ring more true. Ray Hutchison cultivates an image for himself as mere road scenery for his wife. “Kay received no vote because she was married to me,” he declares. Eleven years the senator’s senior, Ray seems to relish a reputation as a political househusband. He brags that when former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher visited Dallas this year, he told her he wanted to join a Dennis Thatcher fan club. “It’s not really seemly in politics for spouses to say a whole lot,” he says in a telephone conversation, before agreeing to an interview. But there is no question that Ray Hutchison has been a critical force in his wife’s political career after all, it’s a path he once pursued himself. When Kay and Ray wed in a March 1978 ceremony at his two-story, Dallas, Swiss Avenue home, after both their first marriages ended in divorce, her electoral ambitions seemed destined to remain secondary. Ray was a state legislator from 1972 until 1977, when he left the Texas House of Representatives to serve as state GOP chairman. At the time of their wedding, he had quit the party post to seek the Republican nomination for governor. The Dallas Times Herald story about the nuptials reported that Kay had worn a lacebodiced, gold satin dress and planned to relinquish her political appointment in Washington, D.C., as vice chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. The former state legislator from Houston, who met Ray in Austin, declared her intention to return to Texas to campaign for her husband. But Ray was thrashed in the Republican primary the following May, earning only 25 percent of the statewide GOP vote against Dallas oilman William Clements. “My career died,” Ray recalls. “And Kay had nothing to do with it.” In the aftermath of defeat, Ray’s law practice constituted a comfortable cushion. His firm specialized in municipal bond law an arena where political contacts make a world of difference and the compensation is extraordinarily handsome. A handful of firms dominate the practice in Texas. In the first 11 and a half months of 1993, just four including Hutchison Boyle Brooks & Fisher controlled 74 percent of the municipal bond business in Texas, an erosion from their even larger share in previous years, according to statistics from Securities Data Company, Inc. Big fees go with the business. Hutchison’s 15-lawyer firm, which claimed 10 percent of the statewide bond business in the first 11 and a half months of 1993, generates between $500,000 and $700,000 in monthly revenues, Ray testified in his deposition in the bondholders’ suit. In contrast with his new, ultrapartisan pub-. lic pose, his firm draws municipal-bond business from both Democratic and Republican local officials. It serves as bond counsel for, among others, the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport board, the Arlington Sports Facility Authority, the agency that built the Texas Rangers’ new home, and an assortment of Texas school districts. With Ray’s bond work expanding and the sting of his primary defeat in the governor’s race still sharp, in 1981 it was Kay’s turn. She launched a bid for the 3rd Congressional seat in Dallas, but lost in a bitter primaryrunoff election to Steve Bartlett, now Dallas’ mayor. While Ray now promotes the notion that their political careers were always separate, during the congressional campaign the Hutchisons offered themselves to voters as a package deal. A December 26, 1981, campaign letter from Kay noted: “While Ray has his own record of distinguished public service, including in the State Legislature and as Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, we will be actively campaigning together on my behalf for Congress.” The Hutchison’s dirty little secret is that Ray in his lucrative work as a bond attorney collaborated in a deeply troubled business deal with several of the men he is now accusing . THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9 V 10100′-’11