A criminal complaint filed against ex Harris County Republican Party chairman Jared Woodfill in 2017 accuses his firm of taking more than $300,000 from a client’s trust account.
Woodfill is the subject of two separate formal complaints — one to the State Bar of Texas and the other to the Houston Police Department. In both complaints, Woodfill is accused of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients’ trust accounts.
In the criminal complaint, filed in March 2017, Richard Rodriguez accused Woodfill’s firm of stealing more than $300,000 from a divorce trust account. Rodriguez said Monday he believed the search was related to his complaint.
A Monday hearing in Rodriguez’s case was suspended shortly before the search at Woodfill’s office, according to court records and an interview.
In a separate case also involving a divorce, a federal bankruptcy court judge found in 2016 that Woodfill’s firm acted in “extreme bad faith” by misrepresenting how much its attorneys were owed while in Harris County family court and in a subsequent bankruptcy case.
Woodfill’s firm had “taken funds from the (trust) account that have not yet been earned and, thus, several thousands of dollars have been unaccounted for,” U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Jeff Bohm wrote in a February 2016 finding of fact document, federal court records show.
“Indeed,” Bohm continued, “based on the information provided at trial, there is at least $140,449.36 in unaccounted funds and/or overpayments to (Woodfill’s firm).” Woodfill’s firm disputed and planned to appeal Bohm’s finding, court records show.
In November, the State Bar of Texas publicly reprimanded Woodfill in a complaint that the Chronicle found is related to the bankruptcy matter.
“Woodfill had direct supervisory authority over members of his firm who violated the disciplinary rules during the representation in a divorce,” the State Bar of Texas wrote, “and Woodfill failed to take reasonable action. He was ordered to pay $3,490 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.”
He’s Not Alone Either
Last month a lawsuit against former Texas Republican State Rep. Paul Pressler, who had been Woodfill’s law partner, was dismissed. At least one report called the suit a “child molestation” case.
The lawsuit accused Woodfill of conspiring to cover up the abuse, according to the Christian Post.
Republican party leaders (Woodfill) stand behind Eversole
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
HOUSTON – John Tobin admits he doesn’t know much about politics, in fact he doesn’t even vote. But he sure likes the fishing spot at Jerry Eversole’s Jesse Jones Park.
“You’ll catch a 40 pound blue catfish right here,” said Tobin.
For 24 years, Eversole’s been the county commissioner for a huge swath of Harris County, maintaining roads and bridges and building parks like Jesse Jones Park.
Despite ethical and potential criminal problems, Eversole was reelected in November without an opponent, but not without opposition.
“He should move aside for the good of the party,” said David Jennings, a Republican activist.
Jennings is a Harris County Republican voter and blogger who questions why Eversole appears to get a free walk. And he’s not alone. Despite running unopposed, more than 71,000 voters decided not to vote for Eversole. That’s nearly 30 percent of the total.
There were more so-called ‘undervotes’ in Eversole’s race than any other county wide. “Hardcore Republicans, I think they really are tired of Mr. Eversole,” said Jennings. Republican party leaders are not.
When we asked him if the party has a responsibility to police its own, Harris County Republican Chairman Jared Woodfill replied, “Yeah. sure it does.”
Woodfill says a committee is now looking at the Eversole bribery and conspiracy indictment and will report next month. But it’s been two and a half years since Eversole told a reporter he expected to be indicted. “I didn’t ask him about the comment itself,” Woodfill said.
It’s been a year and a half since Eversole paid a $75,000 ethics fine. “I never asked him about the fine,” said Woodfill. And more than weeks since he was indicted by the feds. When we asked Woodfill if anyone from the Republican party asked Eversole about the indictment, he replied, “I personally have not.”
Eversole is a powerful politician, partly due to his position, but also due to the millions he had in his campaign finance accounts.
“It’s called a war chest,” Eversole said.
He gave $4,000 from that war chest to the Jared Woodfill reelection campaign and $51,000 to the Harris County Republican party since Eversole said he expected to be indicted. But the party says it wasn’t to buy favors. “Absolutely not. Absolutely not,” said Woodfill.
Eversole says he will continue to do his job and that he may even run again if he’s not convicted.
It sounds a little bit like the fishermen who may not pay attention to politics, but do know how to find Eversole’s park.”Given to the fisherman, there wouldn’t be a time to leave. There’s not a quitting time,” said Tobin.The Republican party can’t remove anyone from office, or from the ballot.
After the current party investigation is over, the party could decide to censure Eversole or possibly draft a primary opponent in four years.