Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information about the amount of money the Amarillo Professional Fire Fighters Association gave to candidates. The actual number is $8,239.15. We apologize for the error.
AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — One of the issues that outgoing Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson said during an interview in December is that the Civic Center Project not getting done during her tenure is something she considers a disappointment.
The person who is largely behind stalling that project is businessman Alex Fairly.
As was previously reported by MyHighPlains.com, Fairly filed a lawsuit against the city of Amarillo last May to prevent the city from issuing anticipation notes for the Civic Center’s Expansion and Renovation Project.
The lawsuit claimed the ordinance issuing those anticipation notes was unlawful because it was different from the election results of 2020 when voters decided against the project.
The lawsuit claimed the city’s plan to issue the tax and revenue notes was never brought in front of Amarillo residents. A visiting judge agreed and voted in Fairly’s favor in October.
The ruling was appealed by both parties who are looking for clarification from a higher court.
A lot of Amarillo voters applauded what Fairly did and some of the people running for City Council this round said they were inspired to run because of the work he has done.
This election season, several Political Action Committees have made thousands of dollars in donations to Amarillo City Council candidates.
MyHighPlains.com looked at which Political Action Committees are backing which candidates for the May 6 Election, including which one is being funded with among the highest local donation in recent history of $25,000 to a local PAC, and which candidate received a $25,000 donation, with $50,000 in total so far.
Both of those donations were given by Alex Fairly’s business, “Dealon LLC.”
The most recent financial reports available from the Texas Ethics Commission show that the Amarillo Association of REALTORS Political Action Committee has given Katt Massey and Les Simpson each a $4,000 donation and that it supports Don Tipps.
The Amarillo Professional Fire Fighters Association reports giving $8,239.15 in support of Cole Stanley, Don Tipps, Josh Craft, and Tom Scherlen. Tipps’ most recent financial report shows an in-kind donation by the APFFA of $1,750.00 for “push cards and polling.” The APFFA received its largest contribution of $25,000 from Dealon LLC., which is owned by Fairly.
“Dealon LLC” also gave $25,000 to Tom Scherlen. For Fairly’s part, he and his wife have individually given $2,500 to Les Simpson.
Fairly said he wants his contribution to level the “playing field.”
“For instance, there’s some races where there’s two really good candidates, and one of them is going to have a lot of money. And the other one isn’t. And frankly, I’m motivated to balance that out so that if someone wins, they won because it was just a good fair fight, as opposed to someone had a bunch of money.” said Fairly. “So yeah, I mostly am interested that everyone gets a voice and that things are fair, and then Amarillo will vote, and then we all should support who all gets in there.”
Fairly pushed back when asked if he is doing what he alleges others have done, and whether he hopes to influence elected officials.
“That’s a very painful thought. Because that’s what, that’s what’s been the case in Amarillo, in my opinion, to some degree for I think, I think decades. And so I think it’s unhealthy, I think, to people who have operated like that are unhealthy for Amarillo. And I think we have to stop it, said Fairly. “But here’s what I say about because I’ve heard a little bit of this and that sure. Ultimately, It’s not up to the council people. That’s up to me. I can either act like that and live like that and try to operate that. Or I can’t, and I’m not going to, and people can believe me or not, believe me, the way I live it out. That will be the truth. But I detest that kind of I’m, you know, anyone who thinks they have a bigger say or they’re more important, or their opinion is always right. It doesn’t fit my personality. And so I understand some people wondering if that might be the case because that’s been the case. And so they’re like, Oh, this is this guy, just the next one, but it’s not going to be like that.”
Fairly said he is not supporting a cause, but said the want to use his platform and his financial contributions to support individuals.
“If you look around cities across the state, what’s happened here, the last six years is almost unprecedented. And it’s because of several, what I think are unhealthy, but stars that lined up in a certain way, with the outside support, and the leader,” he said “And so I think with a new leader that isn’t interested in that and doesn’t want to operate like that. I think it’ll be squashed then. And then I think we’re just gonna have people on the council, like my interest in people on the council, I’ll tell you what my focus is. I haven’t asked one person what they think about, you know, pets, you know, or homelessness or, you know, privately I care about getting strongly independent people. And so I, I think we’re going to end up with people more, there’s a lot of just strong people who they’re not going to be owned by anybody ‘Amarillo Matters,’ or Alex, or a mayor, you know, call. And I think that’s amazing. And that’s what my main interest is.”
Amarillo Matters is a PAC that was formed in 2016 and endorsed candidates in previous elections but has yet to do so, or support candidates this cycle.
For the latest Amarillo news and regional updates, check with MyHighPlains.com and tune in to KAMR Local 4 News at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00 p.m. and Fox 14 News at 9:00 p.m. CST.