Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Real Estate Windfall Attracts Public Scrutiny

Horseshoe Bay, a vacation playland about 50 miles west of Austin on gleaming Lake Lyndon B. Johnson, has yachts, three championship golf courses, the biggest private plane FBO in the state, and the Hill Country of Texas as the backdrop. No wonder it is often referred to as the Pebble Beach of Texas. This is also where Texas Gov. Rick Perry has come under fire for a real estate deal that some say smacks of political favors and cronyism.

Some of the richest Texans vacation at Horseshoe Bay in mega-million-dollar homes: West Texas ranchers, oilmen, Roger Staubach, Jim Lovell, even the late Red Adair. Horseshoe Bay, once a goat ranch, is so attractive to Lone Star wealth that it is one of the reasons why Ilano County has been crowned as one of the top five places in the U.S. by Forbes magazine where, based on IRS data, the rich are moving.

Perry, a Republican, faces Democratic challenger Bill White of Houston (who Perry is grilling for not releasing tax returns) after defeating Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary. But a recent story in The Dallas Morning News diagrams just how Perry may have had a little help from his friends, pocketing more than $500,000 from a Horseshoe Bay real estate deal.

According to an independent appraisal by the News, Perry's land appraisals were also a bit fuzzy. Critics charge that as governor of Texas, Perry should not use the influence of the governor's office to pad his pockets.

Did he? Or did he make a really great real estate deal, buying and selling at the perfect time?