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The latest skeevy Ken Paxton story

This guy. I swear.

Best mugshot ever

Tanner Hunt, son of Dallas oil billionaire Ray Hunt, texted the mother of his two young daughters in the fall of 2011 for a picture of the girls in their Halloween costumes. The next day, he took a Glock pistol into bed, pressed it to his chest and fired a single shot, according to an Austin police report.

He was only 31 and left behind a $200,000 estate and no will, probate court records show.

His daughters stood to inherit not only that estate but had potential inheritance claims on a $2 million trust that had been established for their father and possibly other trusts created by their great-grandfather, the legendary wildcatter Haroldson Lafayette “H.L.” Hunt, who created multiple family trusts before his death in 1974.

But the following year, a veteran state lawmaker named Ken Paxton, was appointed attorney ad litem in Tanner Hunt’s probate case, and Paxton later put forth a settlement that called for Tanner Hunt’s daughters to receive just $750,000, which Paxton would invest for them, if they relinquished any claim on any further inheritances from the Hunt family.

That proposed settlement was rejected by the girls’ mother, Crystal VanAusdal and ultimately replaced by a more generous confidential settlement after their mother filed a motion asking the judge to recuse himself. She filed the recusal motion after learning that an attorney whose firm had ties to the Hunt family had called the judge and Paxton prior to filing Tanner Hunt’s probate case – contact her attorneys described as improper ex parte communications. Those calls gave the mother “great concern” that the attorney and others with ties to the Hunt family “may have hand-picked the Court, the judge and the attorney ad litem” in order to disinherit her daughters, her attorneys wrote in June 2014.

The judge immediately recused himself.


Two experts, Robert Schuwerk, a retired law professor and author of the Handbook of Texas Lawyer and Judicial Ethics, and Judge Kathleen Stone, a senior district and former probate judge with 25 years’ experience, said Paxton’s actions in the Hunt probate case raised significant questions about his ethical conduct as the daughters’ court-appointed attorney ad litem – a role in which he was required to protect their interests as if he were their hired lawyer under both Texas case law and ethics rules. Both reviewed documents in the case at the request of the Houston Chronicle.

The settlement Paxton negotiated on the two small girls’ behalf was in their view clearly not in the girls’ best interest and ran counter to his legal and ethical obligations, Schuwerk and Stone said.

“I don’t think a competent lawyer for the child could do that, especially without looking into both the asserted legal basis for proposing to award the girls less than the entirety of the decedent’s estate (and trust) and without examining the underlying Hunt family trusts … in order to assess the strength of any claim they might have to those other assets,” Schuwerk said.

It’s a long story with a lot of details that I can’t accurately capture in an excerpt of any reasonable length, so just go read the whole thing. None of this was reported during last year’s campaign, not that it would have mattered. Some people may actually pay attention to it now, what with the indictments and general air of stink that has been following Paxton around. The pattern of behavior is clear. The question is when it will catch up to Ken Paxton. Trail Blazers has more.

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  1. You might want to check out the other side of the story:

  2. Katy Anders says:

    So he might end up convicted of a crime, kicked out of office, AND disbarred?

    This is getting interesting to watch…

  3. Linkmeister says:

    Heh. The other side of the story as written by a guy so unbiased he writes for Fox News, Reason, The Federalist, Human Events, and other publications, including The American Spectator.

    No bias shown by any of those publications, nosiree Bob! With defenders like these…