If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Democratic Rep. Ron Reynolds of Fort Bend County was recently charged for a second time in as many years on charges of barratry.
KHOU: Dozens of law enforcement officers simultaneously raided multiple law offices and two chiropractic clinics Monday morning for their alleged involvement in a kickback scheme to sign up clients, according to an I-Team review of court records.
In all, arrest warrants were issued for eight Houston-area lawyers, including State Representative Ron Reynolds. They are charged with barratry, commonly known as “ambulance chasing,” a third degree felony punishable by up to ten years in prison a $10,000 fine.
Reynolds and the other attorneys are accused of paying kickbacks to Robert Valdez, the alleged ringleader of the operation. Prosecutors said Valdez routinely scour accident reports, then approach and aggressively persuade crash victims to sign contracts for legal representation.
“We have information from a confidential informant, that Ron Reynolds delivered cash in envelopes to Mr. Valdez, in exchange for referring clients to him on numerous occasions,” said Phil Grant, First Assistant Montgomery County District Attorney.
As we reported almost exactly a year ago, Rep. Reynolds had been previously arrested on similar charges but the case fell apart after the investigator on the case was arrested for stealing evidence (comic books) from another case. The close call apparently had little affect on changing Rep. Reynolds habits as KHOU reported.
“It appears that Representative Reynolds stepped away from this organization during the period of time he was charged in Harris County,” Grant said.
“After his case was dismissed, it appears that he got right back in,” he said.
Reynolds defeated incumbent Rep. Dora Olivo in the 2010 Democratic primary by a margin 58%-42%. Hopefully voters will have a choice next spring when they can evaluate the effectiveness of their current representative. One constituant wrote the following letter posted by posted by Charles Kuffner today in which they call for Reynolds to resign.
Dear Representative Reynolds,
I wanted to believe you when I voted for you in 2010 despite knowing that you had been sanctioned twice by the State Bar, and subsequently had your law license suspended. You said that you had made a mistake, and would do better.
Then in 2011, you were leveled massive fines from the Texas Ethics Commission for failure to file required financial disclosure reports. The state had to garnish your pay just to get you to pay those penalties back. This was in addition to the federal income tax liens placed on you and your law firm. You said that you had made a mistake, and would do better.
Then in 2012 you got arrested. Later that year you told me you attended your interim committee hearings. But those committee minutes showed that you never bothered to go. A few months ago you lied saying that you were the Democratic Whip “the second highest ranking position” in the House Democratic caucus. First, we know that the Whip is not the second highest ranking position. Second, you're not even the Whip. You're one of 14 Deputy Whips.
Now we've learned that you've just been arrested for very similar charges as those you faced last year. Your second arrest finally confirms for me that WE can do better. You can't possibly do your job in Austin while fighting ongoing legal and ethical issues at home.
I respectfully ask that you resign your position immediately and take some time to get your affairs in order. The people in this district deserve representation we can trust.
A Missouri City, TX Constituent,