San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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October 29th, 2009
Prominent lawyer and local ranch owner O’Quinn dies in car wreck


by BRAD ROLLINS
Managing Editor

Prominent attorney and Democratic Party financier John O’Quinn, the owner of one of Hays County’s largest ranches, died today in an automobile accident in Houston.

O’Quinn and another man who has not been identified died this morning when their speeding SUV ran off the road and struck a tree, the Houston Chronicle is reporting. It is not clear which man was driving at the time.

O’Quinn, 68, won billions of dollars during his career as a litigator with headline-grabbing lawsuits against tobacco companies and the manufacturers of diet drugs and silicone breast implants. In 2006, he donated $2.5 million to Democrat Chris Bell’s failed attempt to unseat Gov. Rick Perry and contributed hundreds of thousands more over the years to other candidates.

“There was very little of major significance in this country, legally, that John didn’t have a major involvement in,” said San Marcos attorney Charles Soechting, who merged his law office with O’Quinn’s firm in 2000 and, in 2004, was elected Texas Democratic Party chair with O’Quinn’s backing.

“He cared more about helping get Democratic party candidates elected than any of the other major lawyers in the state. There isn’t even a close second. He cared deeply about good government.”

O’Quinn bought the 5,000-acre former Fulton Ranch on the Blanco River between San Marcos and Wimberley in 1999 and re-christened it the O’Quinn River Ranch.

“He loved to float the Blanco River and sit down and watch the sunsets. He fell in love with Wimberley and the Blanco River,” said his friend, Rocky Romano, who manages the ranch.

His philanthropy includes donations to the Texas Medical Center institutions, including St. Luke’s Hospital where a tower bears his name, and the American Cancer Society through the Hays County Cattle Baron’s Ball.

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10 thoughts on “Prominent lawyer and local ranch owner O’Quinn dies in car wreck

  1. I knew this man from many occasions when I did buisness with him and Darla. He was one wonderful man. He always was willing to talk to anyone. He never looked down on people that did not have money or conections. This world and the car collecter world will miss him. May God bless his family.

  2. ‘“There was very little of major significance in this country, legally, that John didn’t have a major involvement in,” said San Marcos attorney Charles Soechting…’

    O’Quinn, with on the ground help from former state trooper Soechting, has also been involved in actions that many believe were illegal and immoral. For example, getting the county to transfer a portion of the Little Arkansas road to O’Quinn, just because O’Quinn had tons of money and wanted to bring a beautiful and historical area of Hays County under his complete control, even if it was wrong.

    Soechting has been able to impose his will on many of the elements of political life in Hays County only because of the financial backing of O’Quinn. Not any more. King O’Quinn is dead. Long live the king.

    Soechting’s ability to influence local and district judges, other elected officials and county life in general has been greatly diminished by the death of his protector, O’Quinn.

    Let’s see if Soechting can get the Texas Ethics Commission to give Nick Ramus a pass on his serious violations of election laws.

    Let’s see if Soechting can get Hays County District Attorney, Sherri Tibbe, to lose the state’s case against Nick Ramus for deadly conduct, even though both actions by Soechting are important to save the political hides of the creators and protectors of Ramus…Pct. 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton, Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley and Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe.

    Barton and Conley created the Ramus Frankenstein to attack County Judge Sumter and to whip into line commissioners Ingalsbe and Ford. Unfortunately, their plan worked.

    The death of O’Quinn changes the dynamics of Hays County politics because Soechting has lost his base of power to threaten others who disagree with him in his conquest for complete control

    Even Rep. Patrick Rose joining the law firm in San Marcos “to be near development” won’t stop the downfall of Soechting and his minions like Eddy Etheredge and Jeff Barton, Will Conley and Jim Green, Mike Mueller and Wally Kinney, and the list goes on and on.

    If regular citizens of Hays County want clean, open government that works for them, the outlook is brighter now. But it won’t happen with your participation. Vote and throw the bums out. Run for office and serve the community and not special interests.

    I wish no ill any person, but I accept what fate offers up.

  3. But it won’t happen with your participation.

    I wish no ill any person, but I accept what fate offers up.

    Sorry, it should read:
    But it won’t happen without your participation.

    I wish no ill to any person, but I accept what fate offers up.

  4. there may be some truth to some of what you say but good god O’Dell you show no tact or class. you ought to keep your ‘analysis’ close to the vest at least until the body gets cold.

  5. You are a vile person O’Dell and I agree with the person who said somewhere else that I go to great lengths to make sure my political views don’t overlap with yours. That’s a sure-as-hell way to know that particular view is wrong.

  6. Anon and OMG,

    I’m less interested in the dead, and more interested in the living. I also would choose truth over tact or class every time if that were the choice. But it’s not the choice.

    Consider all those fellow citizens who still suffer from the likes of our corrupt officials and those who support them.

    As for political views…just what political view do you subscribe to? Public officials who act in the public interest instead of special interests who support public officials for rewards?
    Want examples? I can give you plenty of them right under your turned up noses.

    As Lila darling would say…get off your high horses and see the corruption going on all around you. And then, by god, do something about it instead of wringing your hands and false sense of tact or class. Law abiding citizens are being harmed by officials and you worry about tack or class. How about a big dose of the truth instead! Can you handle it?

  7. O’Dell, were you born an insensitive piece of crap, raised by your parents to be an insensitive piece of crap, or did you just practice really hard to become the insensitive piece of crap you are today?

  8. Charles says:
    “As Lila darling would say…get off your high horses and see the corruption going on all around you. And then, by god, do something about it instead of wringing your hands and false sense of tact or class. Law abiding citizens are being harmed by officials and you worry about tack or class. How about a big dose of the truth instead! Can you handle it?”

    Don’t put words in my mouth you moron. Speak for yourself. I’m not so paranoid that I see corruption all around me. When I do have an issue, I try to take care of it. But you know, sometimes I lose. So be it. And other times, I am just flat-out wrong. And when I am, I admit it. Those are some big differences between you and me MR. O’dell.

    Once again Chucky – you make baseless accusations against people with absolutely nothing to back them up. You are delusional about Ramus. And it causes you to strike out at people who you don’t even know. I just have to wonder how you select your victims – I have to wonder if it’s not because you are jealous of their exceptional abilities and their success in life. Those are attributes that you are obviously lacking. (Maybe Ramus is even a better cook than you are ???)

  9. I wonder if Mr. O’Quinn was so insecure that he insisted on adding Esquire, or JD to his name? Some how I doubt it.

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