As the local election campaign in Fort Worth continues to ramp up, a developer related to a state representative has taken the first step for a city council run. A scan of city contracts reveals one of his businesses has benefited before from taxpayer-backed incentives.
On January 21, developer Paxton Motheral, nephew of State Rep. Charlie Geren (R–Fort Worth) and former Democrat Congressman Pete Geren, has appointed a campaign treasurer for the Fort Worth election in May. He listed businessman Leonard Firestone to serve as his treasurer for a potential run for the city council’s District 7 seat, which is currently held by Councilman Dennis Shingleton, who will not run for a sixth term.
In addition to being a vice president at the Cassco Development Corporation, Motheral is listed as the manager of the Clearfork Development Company.
In 2014, an economic development program agreement was made between Fort Worth and Clearfork, where Clearfork stood to gain a maximum of $48 million in taxpayer-backed incentives. The developer promised in exchange at least 50 full-time jobs in the area, with completion of level one to be December 31, 2016.
This agreement was amended twice, with the second amendment moving the level one completion date to September 1, 2017.
Meanwhile, city taxpayers’ burdens have continued to increase. According to data from the Tarrant Appraisal District, Fort Worth’s average property tax bill for homeowners has increased over 46 percent from 2013 to 2020—$835 to $1,222.
As of Monday, the declared candidates for District 7 are Democrat and former American Civil Liberties Union of Texas President Lee Henderson, Fort Worth School District employee Shawn Lassiter, and Zeb Pent.
Those interested in running for mayor or city council in the May 1 election can file between January 13 and February 12. Candidate filings and finance reports may be tracked at the city secretary’s elections website.