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Skyloft Austin, a luxury student apartment complex in West Campus, is under fire. Nearly three years after it opened, dozens of lawyers, retirees and others who invested their savings in the building are suing two real estate firms that they say duped them, according to a recent report by the New York Times.
Adelaida Martinez, 82, is retired and lives near the Skyloft. She invested a little over $100,000 in the deal. "I was very naive, as I don't come from the world of finance," she told the Times. "They have not given us any explanation. There is just silence."
The Skyloft investors, who put in between $100,000 and $500,000 apiece, are seeking to recoup much of the $75 million they contributed to the 2019 deal, the Times reported; court filings describe a "Ponzi-like" scheme and accuse Patrick Nelson, of the property management firm that promoted the deal, of using the proceeds to invest in other projects and enrich himself.
In addition to Nelson's California-based property management firm, Nelson Partners Student Housing, the investors are also suing the hedge fund, Axonic Capital, that provided financing and later took control of Skyloft before selling it late last year. Nelson Partners has denied wrongdoing. Axonic said the promoter Patrick Nelson hurt his investors by defaulting on their loan in a statement to the Times.
The investors participated in what is known as a real estate private placement deal, which brokers often pitch to small investors, according to the Times. Such deals are popular because they pay regular dividends and allow investors to defer taxes on property sales, but they lack transparency.
The staffers are coming! Texas Lege staffers turn to Twitter after special session announcement, defunding
Texas Legislature staff members have taken to social media to raise awareness—and also just air their misfortune—following the summer special session announcement and their own defunding.
In a game seven type move by Texas Democrats, The 87th Texas Legislative session was capped off by a last-minute walkout to avoid a final vote on a bill that would add restrictions to voting.
Needless to say, Gov. Greg Abbott—who cheerleaded the bill throughout the legislative session—was not thrilled.
Not up to date on your Texas Lege drama? Abbott was pointing to when former Texas State Senator Wendy Davis staged a dramatic hours-long filibuster over a 2013 abortion bill, which the public gallery aided. The "story" Abbott is referring to ended with him and other prominent conservatives sweeping the 2014 statewide election and the bill passing in a special session.
According to Abbott, the regular session centered around supporting "hardworking Texans and building a state that is safer, freer, healthier, and more prosperous."
However, the two items deemed at the top of Abbott's wish list for this session, election integrity and bail reform, did not reach his desk at the end of the session, both championed by Abbott to be "must-pass emergency items."
"It is deeply disappointing and concerning for Texans that neither reached my desk," Abbott said in a statement. "Ensuring the integrity of our elections and reforming a broken bail system remain emergencies in Texas, which is why these items, along with other priority items, will be added to the special session agenda."
Abbott said he expected lawmakers to work out their differences prior to the special session and continue to pass other emergency items and priority legislation.
So, everything is cool, right? No worries?
Hours before the no vote, as the clock ran out on the bill that he championed, Abbott tweeted that he would veto funding for the entire state legislative branch. The decision would impact not only Texas lawmakers but their staff and aides. Abbott said in a tweet, "no pay for those who abandon their responsibilities."
I will veto Article 10 of the budget passed by the legislature. Article 10 funds the legislative branch. No pay… https://t.co/KNyuNvxP55— Greg Abbott (@Greg Abbott)1622484820.0
With pay, health insurance and other support for staffers on the line, the threats became a reality on June 18 with an official veto of the funds from Abbott.
The veto effectively nixes all funding for the legislative branch.
"Texans don't run from a legislative fight and we don't walk away from an unfinished business," Abbott writes in the veto. "Funding should not be provided for those who quit their job early, leaving their state with unfinished business and exposing taxpayers to higher costs for an additional legislative session."
However, questions have been brought up over the constitutionality of the veto itself. Section 24 of the Texas Constitution makes not paying members of the legislature illegal.
The special session is set to begin July 8. So, what does this mean for lawmakers, staffers and aides?
No pay, no insurance... and Twitter followers?
So, the staffers took their final stand on Twitter where they aired their grievances with the situation and asked for followers to increase their footprint.
Meet Jen Ramos, a staff member for Texas State Senator Judith Zaffarini—and also defunded by Abbott.
My name is Jen. I’m one of the #txlege staffers defunded by Greg Abbott. Apparently now I’m supposed to ask for Tw… https://t.co/pteKADP3Hj— Jen Ramos ✨ (@Jen Ramos ✨)1624466531.0
And she's not alone. Use the hashtag #txlege and you'll find other similar messages online, like Camille's and Hectors' and more.
My name is Camille, my friends call me Cam or Cammie. I’m one of the #txlege staffers defunded by Greg Abbott. And… https://t.co/mOvcjxTiUL— Camille Lasin (@Camille Lasin)1624474153.0
My name is Hector. I’m one of the #txlege staffers defunded by Greg Abbott and who had to deal with elections stuff… https://t.co/88PINm9KCv— Hector 🏙🤠 (@Hector 🏙🤠)1624466987.0
My name is André. I’m one of the #txlege staffers defunded by Greg Abbott. Apparently now I’m supposed to ask you… https://t.co/WSQmCiMnip— André Treiber (@André Treiber)1624464307.0
My name is Fawaz Anwar. I'm one of the democratic staffers whose salary, insurance, and benefits were vetoed by Abb… https://t.co/OeXWLpoLdy— 𝐅𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐳 𝐒. 𝐀𝐧𝐰𝐚𝐫 (@𝐅𝐚𝐰𝐚𝐳 𝐒. 𝐀𝐧𝐰𝐚𝐫)1624464507.0
My name is Jake Salinas. I'm the TX Dem that saved the film industry in TX and broke quorum on SB7 Now our Gov h… https://t.co/PLf9ScA4Ev— Jake Salinas (@Jake Salinas)1624464237.0
It's unclear whether Abbott and other prominent Republican lawmakers will come together with Democrats to overturn the veto and continue providing insurance and regular pay for lawmakers, staffers, and aides.
For that update and others in and around Austin, stick with Austonia.
Texas voters are split on whether Gov. Greg Abbott should run for a third term and whether Matthew McConaughey should run at all. But Democrats are clear: they want to see Beto O'Rourke on the ballot.
These are the findings of a Quinnipiac University poll of registered voters released this week.
Abbott and McConaughey received the highest favorability ratings of the elected officials, candidates and potential candidates, according to the Quinnipiac poll.
- Abbott: 49%
- McConaughey: 42%
- O'Rourke: 34%
- Former Texas GOP Chair Allen West: 25%
- Former Texas senator and Republican challenger Don Huffines: 8%
Overall, 48% say Abbott does not deserve to be reelected to a third term compared to 46% who say he does. "A Trump favorite in a state that is turning less red in recent election cycles, Abbott has a decent but in no way overwhelming grasp on reelection," Quinnipiac University Polling Analyst Tim Malloy said in a press release.
Abbott, McConaughey and Beto O'Rourke could vie for governor in 2022. (Office of the Texas Governor)
Voters are also divided on Matthew McConaughey, who is reportedly considering a gubernatorial run. Forty-one percent of voters say they would like to see him run, compared to 47% who say they wouldn't.
The poll found that Democrats and Independents favor the Oscar-winning Austinite, whose party affiliation is unclear. Forty-seven percent of Democrats would like to see him run, compared to 43% who wouldn't. Forty-four percent of Independents would, compared to 43% who wouldn't. Republicans, on the other hand, say 60%-29% they would not like to see him run.
Another possible candidate is former U.S. Representative and presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke, who is also reportedly mulling a bid. Overall voters say 52%-41% they would not like to see him run for governor. But 77% of Democrats and 50% of Independents would, according to the poll.
"McConaughey and O'Rourke may still be on the fence, but their numbers suggest they have the attention of voters," Malloy said in the same release.
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It's officially dating season if you haven't heard, and that doesn't mean you have to ditch your dating apps.
Two out of three people say they believe you can fall in love before meeting in person, according to a new survey released by Bumble. Bumble, the locally founded online dating company that allows women to make the first move, says its newly released survey "reveals how the pandemic has changed dating" headed into the "summer of love."
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease in parts of the country and around the Lone Star State, the company says that 91% of those surveyed believe that there is no longer a stigma attached to online dating compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. And more than two-thirds think it's possible to fall in love with someone that they've never met in person before.
Bumble users have also adapted to Coronavirus-related restrictions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey says.
Clare O'Connor, head of content at Bumble, said that 1 in 3 users said that they liked virtual dates because it saves them time and money and 1 in 4 users surveyed said they liked that they only have to get partially ready when going on a video date.
For those wanting to play it safe heading out the door, O'Connor said that soon, users will be able to add a badge to their Bumble profile that says "vaccinated."
So what should you if trying to get back in on the dating scene?
O'Connor's advice is to "seasonalize" your profile by updating your photos to show your personality.
Let's get dating!
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