Jun 09, 2004

The Charitable Mr. DeLay

From the Houston Press:

On that day last September, Congressman Tom DeLay and his wife, Christine, showed they can still mount the perfect photo op. She wore blue; he (and her fingernails) wore red. And they both flashed the smiles of political veterans.

The occasion was a big one. After a few years of talking, planning and $6 million of fund-raising, the couple was breaking ground for the Oaks at Rio Bend, a residential campus for foster kids and their families. The DeLays had come up with the idea. The DeLay Foundation, their nonprofit arm, had raised most of the seed money, and the George Foundation had donated a 30-acre site in Richmond.

Since then, the property has officially been “under construction,” as the Sugar Land congressman himself boasted in an editorial in the Houston Chronicle on April 21.

And so it’s jarring to drive out to see the place, eight months after the ground was ceremonially broken and construction supposedly started. You know you’ve arrived only because of the big sign facing Pultar Road: It announces the future home of the Oaks at Rio Bend, then offers a rendering of the Promised Land. Little villas with dormer windows sit under a vivid blue sky; people walk into a chapel; flowers bloom.

Beyond the sign is nothing.

Not a villa, not a chapel, not a sewer pipe. Not even a clearing.

The weedy grasses have grown waist-high. The barbed wire that lines the property is rusty and mashed down in places. Someone has fired six BB-sized holes into the back of the sign; an empty Busch tall boy patrols the perimeter.

Press Release Version:

DeLayPressRelease.jpg

Reality Version:

DeLayReality.jpg

The article is a massive five-page expose, have a look…


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