Ex-Wright Aide’s Profit on Sale of House Tied to Airport Project : from

United Press International

A former aide to House Speaker Jim Wright made a substantial profit by selling his house to a businessman who had benefited from Wright’s work on behalf of a new Ft. Worth airport, a Dallas newspaper reported Sunday.

John P. Mack, who resigned last week as an aide to Wright, sold the house in May, 1987, for $13,000 above market value to Rex Ball, chairman of HTB Inc. of Oklahoma City, which was working on an airport project in Ft. Worth backed by Wright, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Deed records obtained by the newspaper showed that Ball paid Mack and his wife, Kim, $170,000 in cash for the house in Dumfries, Va. The same records showed that Ball sold the house six months later for $153,000--a $17,000 loss--and that a Virginia property appraiser valued the house at $156,000.


Bought Home for $259,000

Fifteen days after selling the Dumfries house, Mack and his wife purchased a new home in Annandale, Va., for $259,000 with a $200,000 mortgage.

The transaction came after Mack had asked House Appropriations Committee members in 1987 to guarantee $25 million in federal funding for Alliance Airport, which is being built in Ft. Worth by H. Ross Perot Jr., son of the billionaire founder of Electronic Data Systems.

Perot said Ball’s company handled some review work for the architectural plans at Alliance Airport, which is owned by the city of Ft. Worth and built on land donated by the Perot family. The Perot family hopes the airport will attract industries to build on nearby Perot-owned land.

The airport has received at least $31 million in federal funds for construction with the assistance of Wright, who is from Ft. Worth.

Refused to Pay Bill

The Morning News said Alliance Airport officials submitted a $60,000 bill in May, 1988, for work done by HTB, but Ft. Worth and Federal Aviation Administration officials refused to pay the bill because much of the work involved private property owned by the Perots.

City officials eventually authorized a $16,466 payment out of federal funds to the Oklahoma City firm.


A spokesman for Wright, who was accused by the House Ethics Committee of more than 60 violations of House ethics rules, said the Speaker had no knowledge of the transactions between Ball and Mack, who resigned from Wright’s office in the wake of renewed publicity over a conviction on a 1973 assault charge.