DALLAS — Former U.S. Treasury Secretary John B. Connally spent six years assembling a real estate empire across Texas and into New Mexico, but now he's selling it bit by bit to stay afloat as the Texas economy continues to slide.
His partnership has faced one foreclosure and several lawsuits over millions of dollars in debts.
"I regret that we're having to struggle like hell just to stay even," Connally, a former Texas governor, told the Dallas Morning News in an interview published Sunday.
From 1981 to 1985, Connally and his partner, Ben F. Barnes, a former Texas lieutenant governor, borrowed heavily and built $200 million worth of office buildings, shopping centers, houses and apartments in Texas and New Mexico.
But Texas' economic boom ended with the collapse of oil and gas prices and a soft real estate market, leaving them struggling to pay, delay or refinance a debt they estimate at $170 million. At the same time, their cash flow has been cut drastically by a sharp slowdown in leasing and sales.