DALLAS (AP) — A Texas A&M "12THMAN" specialty auto license plate was awarded to a prominent Houston attorney for a winning bid of $115,000, officials announced Thursday.
Bids stalled at $42,000 shortly before noon Thursday, but a bidding war ensued that shot the price upward by the noon deadline, said Kim Miller Drummond, a spokeswoman for Austin-based My Plates, custom license plate contractor for the state of Texas.
The top bidder was Tony Buzbee, who has represented plaintiffs in a number of high-profile cases. He is currently the lead attorney for four people suing oil and gas giant BP over a 2010 leak at a refinery southeast of Houston. The trial in that $10 billion lawsuit began Wednesday.
Buzbee said the plate will be given to an Iraq war veteran he knows, a man he described as "a fellow Aggie and fellow Marine."
My Plates auctioned off 10-year rights to the plate, which are renewable for another 10 years for $795.
The winning bid beats a previous record for a My Plates specialty plate of $25,000 in January for "HOUSTON."
The 12THMAN plate will be presented to Buzbee during the Texas A&M-Alabama game Saturday.
Texas is the only state in the country where a private company is awarded a contract to maximize revenue generated by specialty plates, Drummond said. Company staff members were stunned to see the bidding escalate Thursday by more than $65,000 over a matter of 15 minutes, she said.
"It's really remarkable because Texas does not historically participate much in specialty plate programs," she said.
Fewer than 2 percent of drivers in Texas have customized plates, she said.