The Exterminator

Tom DeLay, the bug man from Sugar Land, has always despised environmental regulation. Now, as House majority whip, he's in a position to do something about it.

DeNisco also questioned DeLay about payments made to him by Hutto for Hutto's share of the company stock. Hutto had been working as Albo's manager for about a year when Blankenship was brought into the company. In the new corporation that was formed, DeLay owned two-thirds of the stock and Blankenship owned one third. The three men signed an agreement that Hutto could buy a third of the stock from DeLay for $50,000. The agreement further stated that Hutto's debt would be reduced by $5,000 a year, regardless of whether the corporation made money.

According to copies of Albo's canceled checks, in 1992 DeLay received $4,000 from Hutto for stock. Copies of the checks to DeLay were signed by Hutto and carried a memorandum that they were "deferred salary for D.L. Hutto for stock purchase." DeLay said he didn't remember whether the checks he received from Hutto were personal or corporate.

When deposing DeLay, DeNisco questioned the congressman about the propriety of those checks. "Do you think it would be appropriate for the corporation to be paying you the personal debt or obligation of the president of the corporation without the knowledge of the other officers?" he asked. To which DeLay responded, "Yes. Darrell Hutto from the very beginning that he brought [sic] to Albo was to run the company, manage the company, manage the assets and liabilities of the company, make all decisions with consultation and he was to make all those decisions."

DeNisco also raised questions about the stock payments when deposing accountant Colby, who said the checks had been improperly entered in the books as a company expense and should have been carried as a loan to be paid back by Hutto.

In November of last year, DeNisco and Blankenship heard that DeLay and Hutto were on the verge of selling Albo. So DeNisco sought a fresh injunction to stop the sale. This time he had a hearing with a Democratic judge, Shearn Smith. On November 10, 1994, after listening to a summary of the case, Smith strongly urged DeLay's and Hutto's lawyers to settle with Blankenship before selling the company. The lawyers agreed. Albo's customer list and other assets were eventually sold to Rodger's Pest Control in Stafford.

The balance-sheet argument was never fully explored, and the loan papers and tax returns that might have definitively answered the question of whether Albo had paid DeLay's campaign debts were never made public. Neither Hutto, Colby or Lindsay returned calls from the Press for this story.

A Washington spokesman for Tom DeLay declined to respond to a list of detailed questions from the Press about the lawsuit, except to say that the congressman would make no comment, and that the issues are a matter of public record.

That second point isn't entirely accurate. While the legal petitions and motions can be seen by anybody at the Harris County Courthouse, the depositions and records cited in this story were obtained by the Press from Robert Blankenship's lawyer. Because Blankenship's suit was never heard by a jury, the depositions and exhibits of the case are not part of the public record. Neither was the videotaped deposition of Robert Blankenship that DeLay used to try to embarrass his former stockholder.

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