It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, rakes in big money from government contracts that allow it to pursue debtors over toll violations, taxes and parking tickets. While the debts often start small, the Austin-based firm charges high fees, which can add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the bill.
After growing this business from a small Texas law firm in the late 1970's to a nationwide debt collection powerhouse, the firm's founders and top brass have walked away with millions of dollars.
That was mostly due to a big buyout that occurred in 2006, as a group of five founders and managing partners -- including Dale Linebarger and another firm namesake Jim Blair -- readied for retirement. As part of the deal, they received a reported $230 million -- with individual payouts ranging from $25 million to nearly $60 million, according to former partners and a lawsuit filed by a former Linebarger attorney who was disgruntled about his salary at the firm.
Linebarger wouldn't confirm any numbers, but said the buyout packages were well-earned. “These former partners had built a large, successful, national enterprise over the course of several decades,” said Linebarger partner and chief marketing officer Michael Vallandingham. “They were pioneers in the tax collection industry in Texas.”
Retiring rich from a successful law firm is not unusual. But in the case of Linebarger’s top partners, their millions stemmed from contracts with government agencies that had them chasing down debtors for sometimes miniscule amounts. The firm also noted that some former partners have had other sources of income as well.
Jim Blair, a former partner who was with the firm since its early years, isn't shy about his wealth. His nearly 12,000 square-foot home, dubbed “The Blair House,” even has its own website. Blair did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
For more than a decade, Blair and his wife, a successful attorney with her own firm, have hosted hundreds of political and charitable events at the mansion, entertaining the likes of former Governor Rick Perry and U.S. Senator John Cornyn, according to the site. One 2013 political fundraiser at the home, for example, cost as much as $5,200 per person.