PACking heat: Leander PACs warming up city council election

Two PACs are leaving their heat map on Leander’s 2019 city council election.

A previous post touched on Leander Firefighters for Responsible Government PAC, backing the candidate slate comprised of Jeff Seiler, Laura Lantrip, and Becki Ross.  This post examines Texas Stronger PAC which is backing the team of Kathryn Pantalion-Parker, Jason Shaw and Chris Czernek.

The table below shows all contributions to Texas Stronger PAC through April 28th.  At first glance, it would appear top-heavy with outside contributors, but over 50% of the total originates from a Leander resident, voter and taxpayer.

Other Texas Stronger contributors not residing within Leander have numerous property holdings within the city limits of Leander and have donated land to the city for right-of-way.

Lance Hughes is also Manager of the General Partner, Transit Village Investments, Ltd. which appraisal records show owns 17 properties with a cumulative value of $5.97M. Appraisal records show Dr. Vivek Mahendru, MD, owns 22 properties with a cumulative value of $1.63M.

Should these individuals who have invested in the City of Leander not have an interest in seeing ethically-driven, fair-minded leaders seated on the dais?

Leander needs businesses. High-salary paying businesses. It also needs a large sales tax base. It currently has neither, making the burden of financing city functions to fall heavily on homeowners.

Developers and business owners are frequently frustrated by the inconsistent and sometimes draconian ordinances and permitting processes they face when dealing with the City of Leander. Accounts abound of the City changing rules and policy after property and business owners were in full compliance with previous requirements. Leander’s reputation for these antics drives away prospective developers, businesses and employers.

For example, within the past 9 months, a first-class auto service franchise opened in Leander, but was not provided a permanent Certificate of Occupancy for over four months, after opening the doors. The City placed a new requirement on the owner to plant 70 trees (yes, 70) if he wanted to receive a permanent CO.  The owner was astounded that he would have to add a line item to his ongoing operations budget for watering and maintaining a forest. Adding insult to injury, the City did not place the same requirement on another new competitor.

Homebuilders and new-home buyers attest to running afoul of the City’s policy and ordinance changes after construction was underway and after they had met all previous codes and regulations.

Developers complain of being approached by former elected officials requesting to be put on retainer in return for having an inside track for expediting Leander’s permitting and approval processes. Everything hidden will one day be made known. Everything. Sooner or later.

Note: If you are a current or former city staff member or elected official who has been a party to activities that are less than above board, it would serve you best to come forward now on your own volition. Lest you doubt, just ask the former City employees involved in the 1990’s racketeering at the Crystal Falls Golf Course. If you are a developer, property owner, business owner or homebuilder who has been coerced into transacting business with establishments owned or associated with current or former city officials in order to receive permits, zoning changes or approval of plans by city staff or officials, contact  Williamson County District Attorney, Shawn Dick or the Waco field office for the Texas Rangers.

At a minimum, this is a management and accountability issue. It takes a majority on the council to affect the needed changes.

Leander homeowners, taxpayers and even a few non-resident property owners (through PAC contributions), are ready to advance the reforms inaugurated last year when voters elected a new mayor and two new council members.

This Saturday, May 4th, voters can elect three new taxpayer-minded leaders to join them in turning up the heat on that long-overdue accountability.


Disclaimer: This author has neither met nor had any communications with any donors or treasurers of either PAC referenced in this post. Names of businesses and individuals who genuinely fear political and financial retribution have been intentionally omitted from above examples.

Copyright © 2019 Don Stroud


Texas Stronger PAC Donors

Treasures of Heaven, LLCWilmington DE1/18/2019$6,000.00
Treasures of Heaven, LLCWilmington DE2/19/2019$3,000.00
Andy PittsCEO, MLS Direct NetworkCedar Park4/5/2019$20.00
Lance R. HughesCEO, Hughes Capital ManagementAustin4/10/2019$3,000.00
Andy PittsCEO, MLS Direct NetworkCedar Park4/10/2019$253.20
Dr. Vivek Mahendru, MDPain Specialists of AustinAustin4/16/2019$2,500.00
Richard B. HullDeveloperAustin4/23/2019$1,500.00

      • shows  Gola Pitts as a previous manager of Teasures of Heaven, LLC – Birmingham, AL
      • Travis County Clerk, Elections, Voter Registration Data, shows registered voter, Gola Pitts, residing within Leander city limits at 3705 LaJitas.
      • Travis County Clerk, Elections, Voter Registration Data, shows registered voter, Andrew Pitts, residing within Leander city limits at 3705 LaJitas.
      • Williamson Central Appraisal District shows Treasures of Heaven LLC with a mailing address of 1754 Bagdad Rd, Ste A100 Cedar Park
        and with a property address of 1754 Bagdad Rd, Unit A, Cedar Park, TX 78613
      • If the Pitts are the primary funders of Treasures of Heaven LLC, and Treasures of Heaven LLC is the primary funder of Texas Stronger PAC, the majority of funding to Texas Stronger PAC originates from Leander residents.

Copyright © 2019 Don Stroud