Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton recently weighed in on a dispute between a Colorado ski community and some large donors to his campaigns, raising questions in Texas about the appropriateness of his actions.
Gunnison County, Colorado, is home to some of the best skiing in the world. Many people who own property there only spend part of the year in the area, during ski season. When county health authorities issued an order asking part-time residents to stay away during the coronavirus pandemic, Ken Paxton took an interest.
Paxton wrote a letter asking the county to reverse the order, saying, “The banishment of nonresident Texas homeowners is entirely unconstitutional and unacceptable.”
Paul Weber is an Austin-based reporter for the Associated Press. He told Texas Standard that some 2,000 Texans own property in Gunnison County. They include Houston homebuilder Richard Weekley, who has helped Paxton and his wife, state Sen. Angela Paxton, raise $1.6 million in campaign funds. Also, Midland oilman Kyle Stallings, who has given the Paxtons more than $250,000.
Weber said Robert McCarter, a college classmate of Ken Paxton’s, and a Gunnison County property owner, had sought a waiver from the county in order to remain in the area. He gave Paxton $5,000 in 2013 in support of Paxton’s campaign for Texas attorney general. The letter to the county from Paxton arrived as McCarter was pursuing his waiver request.
“Three hours after Paxton announces that he’s sending this letter to Colorado, Gunnison County approves Mr. McCarter’s request to stay,” Weber said.
Neither Paxton nor his donors have responded to Weber’s questions about the letter.
Web story by Shelly Brisbin.
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