The Sordid Past of Mark Cuban’s New Ghost Town in Mustang, Texas

·3 min read
Andrew Eccles/ABC via Getty Images
Andrew Eccles/ABC via Getty Images

Mark Cuban made headlines this week for buying up “an entire town” an hour southeast of Dallas. But it turns out that Mustang, Texas, is scarcely more than a patch of land, best known for an abandoned strip club where a man was killed in 2008. According to locals, there aren’t any residents or operational businesses.

“I've been a lifelong resident [of the area] and seen a lot come and go over there, but it's always been less than desirable,” said Jerry Newsom, who owns a graphics business just down the road. “They’ve had strip clubs and adult video stores and all kinds of stuff over there. So anything that Mark Cuban will bring in… would be better than what's been there.”

In an email to The Daily Beast, Cuban confirmed that he bought the property but did not offer financial details. The town had been on the market since 2017, with an original asking price of $4 million that was later chopped in half.

Mike Turner, the agent on the transaction, said Cuban bought the town from an ownership entity whose general partner was Marty Price, a sole practitioner lawyer who died over the summer.

Price had season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, which Cuban owns, and had developed a friendship with the billionaire. “His tickets were behind the visitor’s bench so he could heckle appropriately,” Turner said.

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Turner added that Price “didn't really spend any time” in Mustang, but “he was actively involved in managing the business affairs of the town, which was somewhat limited, because there’s really not much going on.”

Founded in 1973, Mustang's initial purpose was offering legal alcohol sales to the surrounding dry towns. The other vices—the strip club and adult stores—came later.

“It's where all the bad stuff used to happen,” one employee who works in the area said.

The neighboring city of Corsicana, contrastingly, is “one of the oldest oil towns in Texas,” the person said. “It's old money. It's guns. It's oil. It's a cowboy kind of mentality.”

By the late 2000s, when Mustang’s population totaled fewer than two dozen, it remained a magnet for lecherous locals who didn’t mind the seedy digs.

Wispers Cabaret, the town strip club, made headlines in 2008, after an oilfield welder named Fernando Ramirez arrived for a night of fun, then got rowdy when he believed he had been short-changed on his dances.

Ramirez was allegedly dragged out of the club. He hit his head during the commotion and died of his injuries.

The club closed down a little while later, residents say. Eventually, even the worn-down trailer houses were demolished too.

Today, “it’s just a ghost town,” one local said.

Wispers, however, is still listed on Google’s search results, but with a new nickname: “Mark Cubaret.”

For the time being, Mustang is likely to remain a ghost town, though it still has its own wastewater treatment plant and volunteer fire department. Cuban said he has no plans for the property as of yet.

Turner said the billionaire has infinite options, should he choose to invest. “Someone can use their imagination and do a number of things,” he said. “One just has to conform to the laws of the State of Texas, because there's no rules in Mustang.”

Rumors are already swirling in the neighboring towns. “I would love to see the Dallas Mavericks world headquarters there, that would do really big things for this community,” one nearby resident said.

That’s likely wishful thinking. At just 0.1 square miles, Mustang will probably need to settle for smaller aspirations.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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