Bobby Epstein, the chairman of Circuit of the Americas, is understandably peeved that City Council OKed the use of city-owned land in North Central Austin for a new soccer stadium. Not only does Epstein fear the new Major League Soccer team will draw fans away from his own lesser soccer team, but he doesn’t want another big concert venue to rival his own.
He tried channeling his frustrations through IndyAustin, an outfit run by Linda Curtis, an eccentric mercenary with a proven prowess for gathering signatures for ballot initiatives. But the money he provided Curtis to gather signatures backfired when Curtis cluelessly promoted his cause with an online video featuring Pepe the Frog, the icon of the alt-right. Whoops.
So Epstein struck out on his own, forming his own group, Fair Play Austin, to gather signatures to put an initiative on the ballot to bar the use of city land for a “sports facility, sports arena, and/or concert stadium” without voter approval.
At the end of October, that group reported that it had spent $77,831, all of which was provided by Epstein. All of that went to pay a Denver-based company, CAC Advising Group.
Who is CAC Advising Group. It is ostensibly the company that is overseeing the signature-gathering effort. At least two of their paid canvassers have been caught lying to people about what the initiative will do. It’s not clear whether the canvassers were fed the lies or made them up themselves.
There’s precious little information about the company online. If it has a website, it’s not easy to find.
It was apparently formed in February. It also has provided these two descriptions of itself on Alignable, a small business network:
“We manage petition signature gathering and get out the vote projects for issue petitions and political candidates.”
“We develop and manage crews to market for roofing and automobile hail damage companies.”
Which naturally leads me to ask: Did they get into petition-gathering because the hail damage business was slow or vice-versa? Far be it from me to criticize an entrepreneur for diversifying his service offerings, but I wonder if this company has some identity issues to work out.