Our View: TWIA--Texas Windfall Income for Attorneys

The SE Texas Record Mar. 10, 2014, 1:18pm

Remember that amazing time when we Texans came together and with one heart and one mind lobbied our state legislature to establish a billion-dollar trust fund to benefit our favorite native-son trial lawyer? 

Houston plaintiffs attorney Steve Mostyn already had more money than he knew what to do with, but he was so beloved by fellow Texans that the idea of giving him unlimited access to all our wallets and pocketbooks gained immediate acceptance.

You don’t remember that? Neither do we.

So, where on earth did Mostyn get the idea that the Texas Windstorm Insurance Agency is his personal piggy bank?

The State of Texas set up the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) to be the insurer of last resort for Gulf Coast homeowners whose properties suffer wind and hail damage. And yet, somehow, Mostyn has managed to become the single biggest recipient of its relief funds, garnering hundreds of millions in legal fees from an agency now on the brink of receivership.

Since Hurricane Ike struck several years ago, TWIA has paid out more than $2.5 billion, including $600 million in legal fees, more than half of which went to the Mostyn Firm.

Still, Mostyn isn’t satisfied. He continues to solicit claims against the agency and even had the gall to berate its new counsel for being less profligate than his predecessor.

How does he get away with it? It’s not like he owns the state legislature, or is it?

“Although he does not register as a lobbyist, Steve Mostyn is omnipresent at the state capitol,” says Sherry Sylvester of TLR PAC, the political action committee of Texans for Lawsuit Reform. “He backs candidates who will push the trial lawyer, anti-tort reform agenda.”

Last year, Mostyn’s “influence” secured the defeat of Senate Bill 1700, a reform measure designed to streamline TWIA management and funding.

We the citizens of Texas are giving Mostyn the money he uses to buy our legislature? How stupid are we?

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