By David Stevens
Dwight McDonald has always been a newsmaker.
At Dimmitt High School, about an hour northeast of Clovis, he was part of a basketball team that went 38-0 and won a state championship in 1983. A year later, he was the best player on the team that lost in the state semifinals.
He went to law school after that and represented a victim in the July 23, 1999, bogus drug sting that gave Tulia, Texas, a national black eye. When that nightmare ended, 35 defendants were pardoned by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and taxpayers coughed up nearly $6 million as a way to say they were sorry for the injustice.
And now McDonald is making news in Clovis.
He’s the man with the plan to open Clovis Gentlemen’s Club somewhere in the county late this year.
In an email Thursday night to County Manager Lance Pyle, McDonald said he thinks “an adult club would be a good investment,” and that he’d asked his brother Patrick to “gather some information for me.”
In the email, Dwight McDonald said he’s reviewed the information his brother provided and concluded: “I do not believe there is any impediment to me opening an adult oriented club in Curry County unless there is another code or statute that speaks directly to private membership clubs.”
County officials have not disputed his contention, though dozens of area residents have expressed concerns the club would attract crime and promote immoral behavior.
Diana Duran was among the more vocal county residents who pleaded Friday with commissioners to stop the club from opening.
“I can’t even imagine what you guys are thinking,” she told commissioners who said they could take no action. “This (strip club) will be detrimental to the men in our community.”
Another resident, Tim Shade, said the club was certain to attract organized crime.
Similar accusations have been expressed through social media all week, which inspired Patrick McDonald to defend his brother in the public meeting.
“My brother’s not involved in any (organized crime),” Patrick McDonald said. “He’s not involved in prostitution. He’s not involved in drugs. I’m not understanding how with a gentlemen’s club, crime is going to take over Clovis.”
Of course we can’t yet know how our community might change, if at all. The club’s not scheduled to open until Oct. 31. Patrick McDonald told Pyle it could be located about a mile east of the city limits, but even that’s far from settled.
Dwight McDonald wrote in his email to Pyle that he’s out of the country and “unavailable” until June 23, and he did not respond to an email request for an interview on Saturday. So we all still have a lot of questions about how this club might operate.
As for how Dwight McDonald has operated, we know he was on the side of the angels when rogue law enforcement attempted to incarcerate 10 percent of Tulia’s black population using false information.
We know he can be an articulate, caring man, based on a 2009 essay he wrote about his memories growing up in Dimmitt and playing basketball for Coach Kenneth Cleveland.
“I am fortunate beyond belief to have had the opportunity to view greatness up close,” he wrote, referencing Coach Cleveland and the undefeated team from 1983.
“The lessons I learned … are with me today in my professional life and will be forever. I’m sorry for being so sappy, but I wanted each of you to know that you are special to me and will be for the rest of my life. Thank you for providing one of the cornerstones and building blocks for whatever accomplishments may come my way.”
We also know Dwight McDonald wants to open a strip joint, promoting it with a Facebook page that features silhouetted women dancing provocatively on poles, claiming he considers the concept “a good investment.”
Good guy? Bad guy?
Let’s just call him complicated.
And still a newsmaker.
David Stevens is editor for the Clovis News Journal and Portales News-Tribune. Contact him at: