Paying tribute to a Fort Worth political power broker

The Texas Capitol
The Texas Capitol atinsley@star-telegram.com

Texas lawmakers tipped their hat recently to the late Fort Worth attorney Dee Kelly Sr., who passed away in 2015.

Members of the Texas House of Representatives honored Mr. Kelly, noting that he rose from modest beginnings in Bonham to become a founding partner of Kelly Hart & Hallman, the largest law firm in Fort Worth.

They recognized that his longtime civic and potential involvement in the community was extensive — and that he served “as a friend and counselor for many politicians.”

“He knew all three presidents from Texas, Lyndon Johnson, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, as well as House Speaker Jim Wright and Senators Lloyd Bentsen, John Tower, and John Cornyn, and he was especially good friends with Governor John Connally,” according to House Resolution 548.

The Texas House unanimously approved the memorial resolution authored by state Reps. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth, and Tom Craddick, R-Midland, and Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth.

They noted that Mr. Kelly “lived a rich and purposeful life” and left behind “a legacy of achievement that will continue to resonate for years to come.”

Closing doors

Frustrated when court hearings are closed to the public?

State Rep. Craig Goldman, R-Fort Worth, has a proposal to keep at least some of those hearings open to the public.

He filed House Bill 2441 to require a hearing showing the need to close a Texas juvenile court hearing to the public. He filed a similar measure last session.

His proposal comes after then-state District Judge Jean Boyd closed her Tarrant County juvenile courtroom to everyone not directly connected to the case of a teenager accused of bludgeoning a friend to death with a hammer. The teen was ultimately sentenced to 26 years behind bars.

Boyd had already made national news for the teen “affluenza” case, when she sentenced then-16-year-old Ethan Couch — after a psychologist testified he didn’t know right from wrong because of his wealthy upbringing — to 10 years’ probation and therapy for driving drunk and causing a crash that left four people dead in 2013.

Couch continued to make national news when he fled to Mexico with his mother. Both were ultimately returned to Texas.

Goldman noted that Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson “brought it to our attention as a problem that she saw that needed to be fixed.”


Former Fort Worth City Manager Dale Fisseler will be back in town March 30, enjoying a meal at Joe T. Garcia’s.

Fisseler, city manager for Waco, will be in town talking with Baylor Bears about development plans for the Brazos Riverfront and other projects in and near Waco.

Fisseler and Paris Rutherford, principal of Catalyst Development, will talk about plans to develop Waco’s riverfront area into a mixed-use urban district where people can work, play, eat, shop and live.

The two will be at Joe T’s 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. March 30. Anyone who registers online, and pays $15, may join them to hear the discussion. For more information, email Robert_Ingram@baylor.edu.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley