DALLAS — There's a different kind of skyscraper going up in one of Dallas' most exclusive neighborhoods on Strait Lane. Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki, former Rangers owner Tom Hicks and even Mayor Mike Rawlings live close by.
This "skyscraper" is really a three-story water slide and lazy river in the backyard of Texas' most famous dentist.
Dr. Richard Malouf made millions from putting braces on children under Medicaid.
In a whistleblower lawsuit, the Texas attorney general says much of Dr. Malouf's work was fraudulent. All Smiles Dental Clinics — which Malouf founded and still owns part of — filed for bankruptcy earlier this year.
Work on the water park and an addition to Malouf's huge chateau on Strait Lane continues.
A turquoise pigtail of a water slide curls over the backyard and peeks through neighbors' trees. A five-foot wide, concrete-lined Lazy River water feature is taking shape below.
But a WFAA investigation finds the Bentley-driving Malouf has a history of being sued for failing to pay his bills.
Malouf owes an Atlanta-based banking firm $3.2 million for services rendered but not paid for, according to findings by a federal court last year.
Dallas County records show Malouf owed the Internal Revenue Service $226,000 for income taxes through the mid 2000s. He paid the tax bills shortly before he sold most of All Smiles to an equity firm.
But Malouf has not yet paid half a dozen firms that have worked on his mansion. There are liens for more than $112,000 on his property over the past three years.
Malouf's attorneys have not responded to our attempts to contact him.
Because homesteads are shielded from seizure in Texas, wealthy homeowners often put as much money into their homes as possible in the face of legal action like Malouf faces.
But Dallas real estate agent Candy Evans said the water park may not enhance the value of Malouf's property.
"Even a swimming pool now is looked at as something that will lose value. It's like a car," Evans said. "It's going to be a huge negative for the property. The neighbors are distressed because they don't want to look at Wet 'n Wild."