by BRAD ROLLINS
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.Email | Print