Information and stories about Dallas neighborhoods

The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart used payoffs to get its way in Mexico

By DAVID BARSTOW and ALEJANDRA XANIC von BERTRAB / Published: December 17, 2012

Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.

A preview of a New York Times investigation revealing bribery by Wal-Mart as it sought to build in the shadow of Mexico's most revered cultural landmark, the pyramids of Teotihuacán.

SAN JUAN TEOTIHUACÁN, Mexico — Wal-Mart longed to build in Elda Pineda's alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town's bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda's field.

One major obstacle stood in Wal-Mart's way.

After years of study, the town's elected leaders had just approved a new zoning map. The leaders wanted to limit growth near the pyramids, and they considered the town's main entrance too congested already. As a result, the 2003 zoning map prohibited commercial development on Mrs. Pineda's field, seemingly dooming Wal-Mart's hopes.

But 30 miles away in Mexico City, at the headquarters of Wal-Mart de Mexico, executives were not about to be thwarted by an unfavorable zoning decision. Instead, records and interviews show, they decided to undo the damage with one well-placed $52,000 bribe.

The plan was simple. The zoning map would not become law until it was published in a government newspaper. So Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper, records and interviews show. Sure enough, when the map was published, the zoning for Mrs. Pineda's field was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart's store.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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Lower Greenville post office in East Dallas making way for new townhomes

By Steve Brown / Dallas Morning News / 10:55 am on December 17, 2012 | Permalink

The former post office was put up for sale this summer. (Photo from DMN files)

Custom builder LeComte Group has bought the vacant post office on Belmont Avenue near Lower Greenville Avenue. The post office has been closed for several months and was for sale this summer. The building that was constructed in the early 1990s will be torn down for a new townhouse development.

Builder Josh LeComte said he plans to construct 15 homes on the tract that is right across the street from the Vickery Towers seniors housing community. LeComte and other builders have been ramping up construction in East Dallas recently as the housing market has rebounded.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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Skillman-Oram framing store booted for coffee shop

East Dallas Advocate, December 11, 2012

Austin-based coffee shop Houndstooth is set to open at the southeast corner of Skillman and Oram, replacing the custom framing store, Gallery Central, which is currently leasing that space.

Stephanie Smith, the owner of Gallery Central, says she found out she had to move from a letter she received the day before Thanksgiving. The letter wasn't a complete shock since the whole area has been a "beehive of rumor" for the past year, she says. Plus, potential renters have been coming in and out of her store for the past several months, checking out her space.

Originally, she was afraid she would have to move to a completely different location, but she says Stonelake Capital Properties, the developer that recently bought that entire shopping strip, is setting up a place for her in the back, behind the coffee shop. They also gave her a few extra weeks to get moved, since Christmas time is her busy season.

"They were nice enough, but it was obvious this is a numbers game," Smith says.

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By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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Board of Adjustment tells BACD and homeowners - Call us in two months with a compromise!

After a nearly two-hour Board of Adjustment hearing, the panel voted to not make a final decision on this case. BD's head is still spinning around trying to put his arms around not only the decision, but the steps that led up to it. We promise a longer post after we've had time to figure out how to properly explain it to you.

BD can tell you much of the discussion centered on how much consideration is given to the claims by any CD over construction and design issues versus the property rights of the homeowner, how much the City allegedly ignored the rules to approve the property, or how much the homeowners were actually and truly in compliance with the code and damn the opinion of some aggressive residents.

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Lower Greenville
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Property rights battle in Lowest Greenville

by JASON WHEELER / WFAA / Posted on December 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM

DALLAS - Brittany Bailey and her husband are building a new home in Belmont, the bastion of historic preservation in east Dallas.

"We designed a beautiful prairie style home," said Bailey.

However, there are no plans yet for a house warming. Instead the couple is going door to door trying to thaw a rather chilly reception to their arrival in the neighborhood.

"We are not trying to make war in the neighborhood," Bailey said. "We actually plan to live here and raise a family here."

Bailey is circulating a petition to get neighborhood support for her home blueprint.

Click here for the complete story on WFAA's website

Click here to get more information and submit a petition supporting Brittany and Dusty

By Avi S. Adelman under Neighborhoods , Legal issues
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