in Houston, Texas
Using public information, Daily Toreador follows the money on a Texas Tech parking garage, arrangement with well-connected alum
Wednesday, Dec 07, 2011, 03:32PM CST
By Steve Miller
money and magnifying glass

The case of a parking ramp, a wealthy alum and his pals on the governing board of Texas Tech University's alumni association has been investigated with professional journalistic prowess by the school’s student-run newspaper, the Daily Toreador.

Today, that wealthy alum, Clayton Isom, responded to some of the Toreador’s work by claiming that the paper’s work on the issue of the Raider Park parking ramp was a “conspiracy theory.”

The news hook is that some claim Isom has breached his contract on the ramp with the university.

When the project was announced in 2010, the ramp received chamber-worthy praise from the local newspaper, but the Toreador didn’t take the PR bait.

The Toreador began to file open records requests on the cozy arrangements between Isom, the university’s alumni board and its board of regents.

In October, the paper, basing its reporting on public records, ran a story on the ramp headlined “Million Dollar Bust” that blew the lid off the endeavor, under which the alumni association stands to lose $525,000 and the school, $675,000:
Texas Tech and its alumni association stand to lose as much as $1.2 million from leasing the Raider Park parking garage in a deal involving a number of prominent alumni of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Raider Park, a $25 million venture located at 2522 Marsha Sharp Freeway, is a privately owned parking garage held by a limited partnership controlled by Clayton Isom, a 29-year-old Phi Delta Theta alumnus from Tech with deep ties to the university and its alumni board.
Another story, also in October, quoted the head of the athletic booster organization, the Red Raider Club, as having warned all parties that the project had bust written all over it. The club had by then pulled back much of its support.

In the same story, the attorney for the alumni association estimated that the parking garage was costing the university and the association $750,000 a year, with a lease constructed in such a way that even by its end, the group would be no closer to owning the ramp.

Isom got 15 minutes of national attention in 2005 when he created a sex offender-free residential development.

Meanwhile, the Toreador is getting its own attention for its work; a media site recently profiled the news gathering and writing on the ramp.
 
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Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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Photo of money under magnifying glass by flickr user Images_of_Money, used via a Creative Commons license.
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