It sometimes seems like Texas taxpayers bankrolled a billion-dollar trust fund for the personal use of attorney Steve Mostyn.
What happened was that 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. Somewhere along the line, however, the insurer of last resort for homeowners became a honeypot of first resort for Steve Mostyn.
Case in point: The last of the Hurricane Rita homeowner lawsuits against TWIA concluded in Jefferson County District Court recently, more than a decade after the storm, with a payout of $51,000 to the plaintiffs and $216,000 to Mostyn Law.
In other words, the attorneys got four times what their clients did.
Even with $100,000 in penalties tacked on as a result of allegedly unlawful delays by TWIA, the homeowner-plaintiffs still garnered $65,000 less than their mouthpieces.
(As it happens, the delay in payment was due in part to the claimants' own failure to cooperate fully with the damage investigation by providing required records, documents, and accurate repair expenses.)
Mostyn is the single biggest recipient of TWIA relief funds, having amassed hundreds of millions in legal fees from an agency created to help homeowners.
How does this plunder of public funds go unimpeded? How is it that the legislature has failed to respond to a decade of abuse?
“Although he does not register as a lobbyist, Steve Mostyn is omnipresent at the state capitol,” a spokesman for Texans for Lawsuit Reform explained after Mostyn secured the defeat of a 2013 reform measure designed to streamline TWIA management and funding. “He backs candidates who will push the trial lawyer, anti-tort reform agenda.”
Are certain legislators too cozy with Mostyn? Are we the taxpayers funding TWIA so he can continue to bleed it and reward the lawmakers who perpetuate this travesty?
That's sure what it looks like.