AUSTIN, Texas — Text messages between Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and seven of his top aides show those aides reported possible illegal activity involving Paxton and his relationship with a well-known Austin finance investor.
The finance investor in question is Nate Paul.
In a text message sent from Paxton's executive team to their boss, they wrote:
"Each of the individuals on this text chain made a good faith report of violations of the law by you to an appropriate law enforcement authority concerning your relationship and activities with Nate Paul."
KVUE reported in August of 2019 that the FBI had raided Paul's downtown office at World Class Holdings on Fourth Street and Congress Avenue. World Class has offices in Austin, Dallas, New York and Los Angeles.
According to KVUE's media partners at the Austin American Statesman, Paul founded World Class in 2007.
According to its website, World Class Holdings is a multi-billion dollar holding company and is one of the largest private real estate owners in the U.S.
The portfolio of World Class "spans multiple asset classes, including office, retail, multifamily, industrial, hospitality, self-storage and marinas located across 17 states nationwide," the website says.
Among the companies listed on the website include: World Class Property Company, Great Value Storage, NowSpace, World Class Technologies, World Class Capital and Westlake Industries.
World Class also contributes to the following philanthropy endeavors: Meals on Wheels Texas, Wounded Warrior Project, The Salvation Army, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, the Ronald McDonald House and more.
Since the FBI raid, multiple World Class real estate entities have filed bankruptcy, according to the Statesman. According to court filings obtained by the Statesman, 16 bankruptcies by Paul-controlled entities have been filed since November 2019 and are pending, including the entity that owns the former 3M campus and the entity that owns Paul’s Hirshfeld-Moore headquarters.
Paul has been involved in lawsuits over the years, but many have been settled out of court. One lawsuit involving the Roy F. and Joann Cole Mitte Foundation is still ongoing, the Statesman reported. The foundation is a limited partner in two Austin real estate entities formed by World Class.
In a statement on Saturday evening, Paxton's office said, "The complaint filed against General Paxton was done to impede on an ongoing investigation into criminal wrongdoing by public officials including employees of this office. Making false claims is a very serious matter and we plan to investigate this to the fullest extent of the law."
The text messages and other documents obtained by KVUE's Tony Plohetski do not describe the nature of the relationship between Paul and Paxton.
Paxton released the following statement Monday:
“The Texas attorney general’s office was referred a case from Travis County regarding allegations of crimes relating to the FBI, other government agencies and individuals. My obligation as attorney general is to conduct an investigation upon such referral. Because employees from my office impeded the investigation and because I knew Nate Paul I ultimately decided to hire an outside independent prosecutor to make his own independent determination. Despite the effort by rogue employees and their false allegations I will continue to seek justice in Texas and will not be resigning.”
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