Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Leslie Bingham, Anna Maria Farías, Ernest Richards, and Carl Pankratz to the Joint Interim Committee to Study Land Banks. The Governor has designated Leslie Bingham as the committee’s presiding officer. Their terms of appointment will expire on September 1, 2023, when state law provides that the committee is abolished. Created by the 87th Texas Legislature, the committee is tasked with studying the powers of land banks to acquire and dispose of real property, the impact of land banks affordable housing, the funding mechanisms of land banks, and more.
Leslie Bingham of Brownsville is Chief Executive Officer of the Valley Baptist Medical Center Brownsville, where she oversees the operations of the hospital and its related entities in the community. She previously served from 2013 to 2021 on the Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs, including as Vice Chairman and Acting Chairman. Bingham is a board member of the Counsel for South Texas Economic Progress and the Valley Initiative for Development and Advancement. She also serves on the College of Business and College of Health Care Professions advisory committees for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Bingham is a former board member of the San Benito Chamber of Commerce and a former Chair of the McAllen and San Benito Rosary Club. Bingham received a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a Masters in Educational Psychology from the University of Mississippi and a Master of Business Administration from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Anna Maria Farías of San Antonio is retired. Most recently, she worked as the Assistant Secretary, Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a Senate-confirmed position in which she worked with Secretary Ben Carson and the Trump Administration. In addition to many other professional leadership positions with the federal government, she served as the Executive Director of the Crystal City Housing Authority in Texas from 1993 to 2000. She resided in Crystal City Housing Projects growing up and she was one of the first Executive Directors to reside in the affordable housing community during the tenure of her leadership. In Texas, Farias previously served as gubernatorial appointee to the OneStar Foundation and the Texas Women’s University Board of Regents where she served as chairman in 2017. She was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 2000. Farías received a Bachelor of Arts with honors from Boston University and a Juris Doctor degree from Temple University in Philadelphia.
Ernest Richards of Irving is managing member at Ernest Cohen Rothschild PLLC law firm, with a focus on public and corporate finance law. Previously, he was an attorney at Mahomes Bolden PC, of counsel, where he did bond work for underwriting firms, government agencies, and political subdivisions. Additionally, he previously served as a commissioner and eventually presiding office of the City of Irving Planning and Zoning Board, and a former board member of the City of Irving Housing and Human Services Board. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas, Dallas Bar Association, American Bar Association, and the National Association of Bond Lawyers. Previously, Richards served as a gubernatorial appointee to the State Pension Review Board. Richards received a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law.
Carl Pankratz of Dallas is President and Managing Director of Blackacre Commercial where he specializes in debt and finance instruments related to multi-family housing, manufactured housing, and other commercial real estate. He has worked in various positions related to real estate finance since 2007. He is also an adjunct professor at Texas Christian University where he teaches real estate and law courses at the Neeley School of Business. From 2011 to 2016, Pankratz served two terms as an elected member of the Rowlett City Council, including a term as Deputy Mayor Pro Tem. He is also a member of the State Bar of Texas Real Estate Forms Committee and he serves on the executive committee of the Apartment Association of Greater Dallas. Pankratz serves as a board member of the DFW Chapter of the Urban Land Institute and on the board of the George Bush Presidential Center’s 43 Club. Pankratz received a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising and a Juris Doctor degree from Southern Methodist University.