Irving, Texas, officials possibly suspect that the Cowboy's practice bubble that collapsed last month may have lacked some structure integrity. (Ya think?) They're fairly confident, however, that anyone other than the Cowboys would never have been allowed to build it.
The Dallas Morning News has obtained text messages sent between two city officials in Irving the day after the Cowboys practice facility crumbled during a windstorm in May. They begin by speculating that the "building" was actually more of a "tent" that probably should not have built in the first place. But the Cowboys, believe it or not, have some measure of influence in the Irving area and what the Boys wants the Boys gets.
[Irving City Manager Tommy] Gonzalez called the facility "a big ole tent" that "probably never was structurally sound enough" to hold up against straight-line winds.
"But it was for 'the cowboys'... that's just what my gut tells me," Gonzalez wrote to Brenda McDonald, the city's real estate and development director....
In a message to city staffers the morning after the collapse, Gonzalez said the city would probably receive inquiries about the city's permit process and the structure's soundness. McDonald told Gonzalez she would look into whether proper permitting and inspection procedures were followed.
"I am sure it was – and also know how the D org pushes things thru – thx," Gonzalez wrote back.
"We experienced that 'push' this spring on a stairway up to the new temporary observation booth that they constructed in Valley Ranch," McDonald responded. "It is a model of the suites at the new stadium."
When reached for comment, Gonzalez insisted to the paper that the Cowboys receive no special treatment and they don't put pressure on city employees. However, the Cowboys organization is what as known as a "big swinging dick" around Irving. (Would you even know where Irving was if it wasn't for them?) And this wouldn't be the first time that voters suspected the city of cozying up to the football team.
City Council member Beth Van Duyne said there's been a pervasive perception among residents that the Cowboys and Jones get whatever they want. She has for years said the city and team's Texas Stadium exit agreement too strongly favored the Cowboys. Among other things in that document, city officials agreed not to compete against the $1.15 billion replacement stadium set to open in Arlington this weekend.
"The council may have allowed their adoration of the Cowboys franchise to impact their decision," Van Duyne said.
Now that the new stadium is in Arlington they may be less inclined to help Jerry Jones and Sons, but that won't console the 12 people who were injured—one paralyzed—in the building collapse. The News already reported that "the Cowboys made major structural reinforcements to the facility last year using advice from a man who has falsified his educational credentials and served federal prison time for his role in a violent drug trafficking ring" and then didn't even follow up with the city to have those improvements inspected.
Don't feel bad guys. Plenty of towns much bigger than Irving have been pushed around by plenty of companies that were way less powerful than the Cowboys. It's like you're part of the club now.
Irving official's text messages cast doubt on strength of Cowboys practice facility [Dallas Morning News]
Money no longer flowing freely for Dallas Cowboys [Dallas Morning News]