By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Before you go the polls, please observe a moment of silence for one turkey who's flying the coop, Harris County Judge Jon Lindsay. Lindsay found himself in hot water last year when his mid-eighties' dealings with the now-deceased sleazy developer Robert Corson surfaced in print, largely because a former Corson associate, himself an admitted felon, claimed he gave the judge a cash bribe -- in a grocery sack, no less. It was later revealed that Lindsay also used his campaign funds to buy his son a miscreant of a diving boat in the Caribbean.
While the judge has avoided getting nailed by either District Attorney Johnny Holmes on perjury charges or a lawsuit by County Attorney Mike Driscoll to remove him from office, he also decided not to stand for re-election, saying he was tired of battling negative media coverage. Another strong motivating factor, however, might have been a potentially damaging conversation between Lindsay and Holmes, chock full of admissions by Lindsay concerning improper campaign expenditures, that was surreptitiously taped by the district attorney. The recording was inadmissible in court because Lindsay's attorney was not present when Holmes questioned the judge.
But while he's fading out, Lindsay has charitably opened his massive campaign war chest to ensure that those politically near and dear to him do not. During the past six months, Lindsay contributed $70,000 from his campaign account to pay for billboards for his wife, Tonita "Toni" Lindsay, an incumbent state district judge who was appointed to the bench by Republican Governor Bill Clements when she was fresh out of law school and had little court experience. The money went to SignAd, a billboard outfit owned by peripatetic right-wing Republican Wes Gilbreath. Lindsay also contributed several thousand dollars more to his spouse in shared campaign activities, office supplies and postage.
And then there were those $5,000 contributions each to County Clerk Beverly Kaufman, and district clerk candidate Charles Bacarisse, both former Lindsay aides. Bacarisse has advertised heavily in the Link Letter.
A greater share of Lindsay's campaign funds have been spent on his efforts to leave office legally unscathed, including payments of $450,000 to attorney David Berg and nearly $90,000 more to the firm of Haynes and Boone. But when not using it to further his political legacy or foot his legal expenses, Lindsay also has dipped into his campaign fund to conduct a farewell tour of some of Houston's tastier restaurants, including Carrabba's, Sierra, Rainbow Lodge, Cent' Anni, Calypso, Chuy's, Ninfa's and Cyclone Anaya's, to name only a sampling. No wonder the rail-thin Lindsay is an avid jogger. Gotta burn off those calories.