The McDougal family is withdrawing its community support. They say that includes all boards, committee and financial donations to non-profit organizations.
The news comes one day after Marc McDougal announced he will not run for state office. And he will not seek re-election for mayor.
His brother, Mike McDougal is stepping down from Broadway Festivals, the organization that puts on the largest annual event in Lubbock, 4th on Broadway. Once his term is finished, he will also resign from the Lubbock Area Foundation, a $10 million organization that supports charities.
McDougal Family Stepping Out of Public's Eye: Letter From Mike McDougal Gives Hint as to Why
Their father Delbert McDougal is stepping down from the Reese Redevelopment Authority and the Lubbock County Hospital District, which oversees University Medical Center.
The McDougal family has served the Lubbock community for more than two decades, the big question, ‘Why the sudden withdrawal?’ NewsChannel 11 spoke with Marc, Mike and Delbert McDougal to ask them that question.
We start with Mike McDougal.
Call it a conflict of interest. The McDougal’s say they've enjoyed serving this community in every capacity, but from this point forward their service and donations will stop.
"This is a decision that Marc and Delbert and I made together. And so I won't say their was a family meeting, but there was a sit down discussion about recent events, that event just one of many and we felt like it's time for us to take a step back and focus on our business and not serve on any of these boards or commissions any longer," says Mike McDougal, President of McDougal Companies.
The most recent event was mike's appointment to the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance or LEDA Board. "Well, forget my last name for a minute and I'll tell you that the way that appointment was handled was completely inappropriate for the city council to treat any citizen of this community the way they treated me," Mike McDougal said.
Mike received a letter on June 9th appointing him to the board. The city sent him a letter of congratulations, on June 14th. But it turns out; LEDA has rules preventing relatives of council members from serving on the board. That disqualified Mike.
"Then unbeknownst to me 35 days later I was kicked off that board, never having attended a board meeting. That's no way to treat a citizen regardless of what my last name is. So I'm upset about that and I'm upset that if they would treat me that way. I can't sit here and now honestly encourage anybody to serve on any board of commission. Cause why would a citizen volunteer to be treated like that," Mike says.
That's when the McDougal’s decided they'd had enough. No more volunteer service, and no more donations. "You know every non profit group that's raising money generally makes a visit to our office at some time or another so year in year out this organization gives between 4 and 500k a year to various organizations in this community." “Is that something else that is going to stop?” we asked. “ That has stopped."
Now, Mike McDougal is challenging the city to step up as the McDougal’s step down.
"We hope for the best for Lubbock, obviously we still live here and we don't want to see anybody suffer, but there will be holes to fill so I'd say to the city council they are going to have to get out there and help some of these non-profits and some of these boards find people that will step up and fill that void," Mike McDougal said.
Mike says the family is looking forward to shifting their focus back to the family business.
NewsChannel 11 also spoke with Mayor Marc McDougal who is in Albuquerque. He says he will continue as mayor until his term ends in 2006 but will not seek out any other positions.
Delbert McDougal was part of the decision to step away from the public eye. He says he originally got involved with the community so he could help it grow. "And I think to some extent we've accomplished that. It's just unfortunate that it had to end this way, but our business will go on and we're going to continue to do what we do," Delbert McDougal said.
Reese Technology Center is the only former air force base in the nation to turn a profit. And his colleagues tell us Delbert McDougal will be missed. Reese Technology Center's Executive Director Eric Williams says McDougal has been a big part of making Reese a success. "I think the public doesn't really understand how much time Delbert has spent as chairman. There are times that I would use as much as 10 to 15 hours a week of his time so there's going to be an impact because he was a driving force as far as the leadership," Williams says.
McDougal’s resignation from the board takes effect September first.
Thursday’s announcement comes one week before the McDougal’s are set to cut the ribbon on the largest redevelopment project in the nation. The Centre at Overton park will officially open next Thursday. It's a multi-story residential and commercial complex on University.