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Trumped-up support

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

According to a new flier sent out by the political action committee campaigning on behalf of Mayor Steve Adler’s $720 million transportation bond, the bond has big support from some predictable and at least one not-so-predictable sources. Per city law, the flier lists Move Austin Forward PAC’s top five donors. The first four are the PACs representing the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, the Real Estate Council of Austin, the Austin Board of Realtors and the Austin Apartment Association, all groups with a steady presence in local elections. However, the fifth donor listed is Manchester Financial Group, the California-based development firm behind the Fairmont Austin hotel project on East Cesar Chavez Street. Move Austin Forward PAC’s financial report from mid-October lists $20,000 from Manchester Texas Financial Group, the company’s Lone Star State spinoff. According to the firm’s website, Douglas W. Manchester is the president of the Austin-based wing, while his father, Douglas “Papa Doug” Manchester, acts as chairman for the entire company. In a development sure to give some politically minded folks in Austin some modicum of heartburn, Papa Doug is a full-throated supporter of his fellow hotel developer, Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. Even as rumors swirl that Trump himself might have some interest of his own in Austin’s lucrative hospitality sector, no records indicate that he personally has donated to the bond package that supporters say will relieve congestion on Austin roadways.

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