Republican delegate says trio tried to intimidate him

06/06/2014 8:30 PM

11/12/2014 5:56 PM

A prominent local attorney wants the three people who cornered him Wednesday after a rules committee vote before the Republican state convention to answer some questions.

Gerald Haddock said one of the men had a handgun.

Haddock filed a petition Thursday with the Tarrant County district clerk’s office asking the court to allow him to depose Bill Eastland, also a member of the rules committee, who appeared to know the trio.

Haddock wants Eastland to identify the people who “confronted, coerced, bullied and threatened” him so he can depose them, according to the petition.

The people are identified in the petition as John Doe No. 1, John Doe No. 2 and Jane Doe.

“I’m in the corner of the convention hall when three people confronted me and asked why I voted the way I voted,” Haddock said in an interview Friday. “I told them I was responsible to vote for the principles of the Republican Party.”

The woman in the group said Haddock should have voted with his constituents while a man with a handgun moved closer to him, Haddock said.

“I interpreted this as an effort to intimidate me and influence my vote,” Haddock said. “I told them all to back up. You are not going to threaten me. I thought it clearly was an over-the-top effort to affect my vote.”

Haddock, an attorney who was general counsel for the Texas Rangers baseball team in the 1990s and a businessman who made a fortune in real estate and investments, is married to Diane Haddock, an associate family court judge.

“This had such an effect on me that my wife would not let me go back,” Haddock said. “I could not sleep that whole night.”

A person familiar with the incident provided the Star-Telegram with the names of the three. Andrew Holley, who said he was wearing a holstered black powder revolver, said that two uniformed officers were standing nearby and that if Haddock felt threatened, they would have reacted.

“Two people went to speak with him,” Holley said. “They were having an animated discussion in the hallway, and I was waved over. They were having a spirited discussion about policy. If he had said, ‘Back up,’ that would have brought a response from the police officers standing behind him.”

Haddock said it makes no difference to him whether Holley was carrying a black powder pistol.

“I’m not sure I could tell the difference,” Haddock said.

Trey Holcomb and Faith Bussey, identified as the other two people, declined to comment.

“I’m being threatened with a lawsuit,” Bussey said. “I think I should speak to a lawyer before I speak to a reporter.”

Eastland said Haddock, whom he considers a friend, misunderstood the situation and should “chill.”

“Now this is all hearsay, but it was not a weapon or a firearm. It was a black powder pistol and perfectly legal,” Eastland said. “Haddock was really angry and acting on emotion. Sometimes it’s better just to wait and think about things.”

Eastland said the confrontation occurred after members of the rule committee voted down a measure on how candidates are approved for placement on ballots and how candidates are censured by the party. Eastland and several others supported the proposal, but the rules committee leader concluded that the change would not be allowed by Texas law, Eastland said.

Eastland gave a speech defending the proposed rule and got a standing ovation, but the measure still lost 28-3, Haddock said.

Eastland said some people were upset that the rule was blocked and may have been a little too boisterous in its defense.

“It would be my preference for my friends to be cordial,” Eastland said. “Ask [Haddock] to change his vote, and if he would not, let him know that they would not support him in the next election.”

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