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Mustang, TX - It's not much to look at: two dusty streets, a strip club, a boarded-up country western bar, one trash bin, and a dilapidated trailer park where the entire population lives.
This 75-acre town, carved from a pasture in 1973 to sell alcohol so a beer run was no longer a 60-mile drive to Dallas, is broke, withering and down to about 50 residents.
Yet even with the place in such dismal shape, two people have been fighting for a year over who effectively owns Mustang: the strip-club operator and the little-known widow of the town's co-founder.
That fight will makes Jan. 17 – when a judge is expected to decide the rightful owner and who will try to fix its financial problems – an important date in its history.
"All I want is to see Mustang on its feet again so we can pay the bills," said Gary Arnett, chief of the town's two-man volunteer fire department. "We have children here. I don't want to see the town have to relocate."
Tax revenue has fallen from about $1,500 a month to just $28 in November, generated only by the strip club. Mustang came close to losing water service this month because of a $3,400 unpaid bill.
The ownership battle is between Thomas Sinclair, who runs the Wispers Cabaret strip club and leases the shuttered Mustang Club bar, and Marsha McKie, whose late husband, William, co-founded the community. Sinclair agreed last year to buy the land from the McKies for $600,000, then filed a lawsuit alleging that they had not fulfilled all the terms of the deal.