Deposition offers glimpse of AG Ken Paxton and Nate Paul relationship

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) – A recent deposition of Austin real estate investor Nate Paul, a man linked to troubles facing embattled Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, has revealed previously unknown connections between the two men.

Paxton has been embroiled in conflict at the attorney general’s office in recent months. A group of attorneys at the agency, including his first assistant attorney, reported allegations of criminal misconduct by Paxton to law enforcement on Sept. 30.

The allegations against Paxton, including bribery and abuse of office, relate to interventions by Paxton’s office in cases involving Paul, who is the chief of World Class Holdings and numerous similarly named companies that own and operate a vast portfolio of real estate investments in downtown Austin and beyond.

Paxton has denied all the allegations and said they were made by “rogue employees,” according to a statement issued Oct. 5. Paul has not been accused or charged with any crime.

Paxton’s office has become involved in at least four of Paul’s legal cases, according to media reports and attorney general office records.

Paul’s deposition was part of litigation between The Roy F. & Joann Cole Mitte Foundation and several of Paul’s companies—WC 1st and Trinity, LP; WC 1st and Trinity, GP, LLC;  3 WC 3rd and Congress, LP; WC 3rd and Congress, GP; and 4 World Class Capital Group.

Paxton and Paul have acknowledged knowing one another, but the nature and origin of their relationship has not been clear. The recent deposition provides new details in their relationship. The Dallas Morning News first reported on the deposition.

Paul could not recall how they first met. The two have had lunch, but Paul couldn’t say how many times. Paul said he could not recall going on a trip with Paxton, had not shared an airplane ride with Paxton and could not recall providing Paxton with any free services, such as staying in one of his homes or offering employment to a family member, according to the deposition.

One thing of value Paul recalled providing Paxton was a $25,000 campaign donation in 2018. That donation was disclosed on Paxton’s campaign finance reports.

Paxton does not have any interest, direct or indirect, in World Class projects, Paul said.

The Mitte Foundation’s attorneys questioned Paul twice about a specific female employee, asking if Paul had employed her as a favor to Paxton. Paul acknowledged the woman was employed by Worldwide but not as a favor to Paxton, according to the court record. Later in the deposition Paul said Paxton had recommended her for a job. Paul said he did not know the nature of the relationship between Paxton and the woman.

Paul also acknowledge he has spoken with attorney general office staff about the Mitte Foundation litigation, and he had mentioned the litigation to Paxton personally, according to the deposition.

The two spoke as recently as a week before the deposition, when Paul offered condolences for Paxton’s mother dying.

The deposition was part of the Mitte Foundation’s legal battle with Paul’s companies over investments the foundation made in his companies, according to the Austin Business Journal. The attorney general’s office intervened in the case but later dropped out, according to the deposition.

Paul has been under investigation by federal authorities. The FBI raided World Class’s headquarters in 2019. No charges have been brought against Paul, and it is not clear why the FBI searched the company’s records.

Paxton remains indicted on charges of felony securities fraud.

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