Questions surround Melissa water tower

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by By BYRON HARRIS / WFAA-TV

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Posted on February 5, 2009 at 11:01 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 19 at 4:53 PM

News 8 Investigates

Byron Harris reports

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MELISSA - As mayor of Melissa, a small but growing community in northern Collin County, David Dorman serves without pay.

His record as mayor is studded with accomplishments. He touts the city's "A" bond rating, its highly-rated volunteer fire department, recent donations of property to the city, and the construction of the new Melissa Town Center.

Mayor Dorman supports charities such as CASA and Habitat for Humanity, and says he donates his time to them and the city "because it's the right thing to do."

But as he runs for his sixth term as mayor, Dorman has a list of critics which is growing more vocal.

"He's playing the people; and he's playing the developers," said Janet Hull, who lives on Melissa's border and fears the town's expansion.

Dorman himself is in the real state business, with major land holdings around the city.

One of his companies, DHT Investments, sold the city land for its water tower in 2001. That transaction and others related to it lead some to question his motives.

Dorman is listed as president of DHT with the Texas Secretary of State.

Michael Hudson is DHT's secretary and treasurer. Dorman appointed Hudson as head of Melissa's Planning and Zoning board.

David Moore is DHT's only director. He is also Melissa's municipal judge, presiding in some code enforcement cases.

Moore also runs a business as a financial planner, and - according to a court deposition - had his business office in Melissa City Hall for a time, which he rented for $1 a year.

The signatures of all three men appear on documents involving the water tower.

In the fall of 2000, the city had yet to choose where the tower would be built. A consultant was hired to investigate possible sites.

In early 2001, documents show DHT bought one of the parcels under consideration for the water tower for $139,000. Then the city chose DHT's property as the site for the tower, and DHT sold the city part of its land at no profit.

"I haven't made any money off the real estate in Melissa at this time," the mayor told News 8 in an interview in December.

But the water tower deal was not yet completed. Contrary to the mayor's recollection, public records indicate that in 2006, DHT sold the remaining water tower property at a profit of $659,000.

The mayor declined to be interviewed on-camera for this story. In a phone conversation, he said he had forgotten about the $659,000 profit when we interviewed him in December, but that he "earned every penny" he made in the transaction.

Municipal Judge David Moore did not return our phone calls.

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