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Moves by Jeb Bush add to talk of 2016 candidacy

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush's decision to release a policy-laden e-book and all his emails from his time as governor of Florida has further stoked expectations among his allies that he will launch a presidential bid.

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Ebby Halliday acquires Fort Worth’s Williams Trew

Williams Trew Real Estate of Fort Worth has been acquired by Dallas-based residential real estate brokerage Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc.

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Taking the Cake: Sundance had pursued Cheesecake Factory for many years

The Cheesecake Factory had been on the white board over at Sundance Square management for some time

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Fort Worth businessman to lead Abbott, Patrick inauguration efforts

Fort Worth businessman Ardon Moore will chair the committee running inauguration festivities for Gov.-elect Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick in January, it was announced on Friday.   Moore, president of Lee M. Bass Inc. in Fort Worth, is a vice chairman of the University of Texas Investment

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Meridian Bank Texas parent acquired by UMB Financial for $182.5M

Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp., the parent company of UMB Bank, said Dec. 15 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Marquette Financial Companies in an all-stock transaction.

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Exxon to offer benefits to same-sex couples in US

JONATHAN FAHEY, AP Energy Writer


NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. said Friday that it will begin offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples in the U.S. for the first time starting next week.

The company says it will recognize "all legal marriages" when it determines eligibility for health care plans for the company's 77,000 employees and retirees in the U.S.

That means if a gay employee has been married in a state or country where gay marriage is legal, his or her spouse will be eligible for benefits with Exxon in the U.S. as of Oct. 1.

Exxon, which is facing a same-sex discrimination lawsuit in Illinois, said it was following the lead of the U.S. government. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. In recent months, federal agencies have begun to offer benefits to legally-married same sex couples.

"We haven't changed our eligibility criteria. It has always been to follow the federal definition and it will continue to follow the federal definition," said Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers in an interview.

Jeffers said the company offers benefits to same-sex couples in 30 countries, consistent with local laws.

But Exxon has been criticized for declining to offer same-sex benefits or explicitly ban discrimination against gay and transgender workers at a time when many other big companies, including rival oil companies, have done so.

In a ranking this year of corporate anti-discrimination policies to protect gay, lesbian and transgender workers by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group, Exxon ranked last.

The company is being sued in Illinois for allegedly discriminating against a gay job applicant. Tico Almeida, founder and president of Freedom to Work, a gay-rights group involved in the case, commended Exxon for changing its benefit policy, but criticized the company for "dragging its feet."

"It's a shame Exxon waited until after the Labor Department issued official guidance explaining that their old policy does not comply with American law," Almeida said.

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Did the College Football Playoff Committee get it right?