By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
After The Insider aired City Council candidate Gerald Womack's checkered past as a realtor three weeks ago, his campaign team complained that we had not done a similar house-cleaning on his opponents.
Womack publicist Georgia Provost, whose business letterhead motto reads "creating and promoting positive public images," helpfully mailed over several documents pertaining to a past indiscretion by attorney Darryl Carter. He's one of Womack's rivals for the southeast Houston and Montrose council district.
In early 1985 Carter was charged with felony forgery in Harris County. His arrest warrant claimed he used an ID, one bearing Connie L. Kingry's name and Carter's picture, in an attempt to cash a $400 check bearing the signature of Kingry. According to the document, the First National Bank of West University Place contacted the complainant, who confirmed she had not written the check or given the defendant permission to pass it. Carter then fled the scene, the warrant stated.
Carter eventually was fined $391 and received a three-year deferred adjudication sentence. After a year, it was expunged from his record and Carter went on to earn a law degree from the University of Houston. He now works as a lobbyist and contract attorney for the delinquent property tax collection firm of Linebarger Heard.
Carter recalls a scenario that's different from the one sketched out on the warrant.
"Back in 1984, me and a gentleman found some checks and we had 'em for a few days. And he said, 'Why don't we try to cash them?' " Carter recalls that the pair presented Kingry's check to the motor-bank teller and "common sense hit us about two seconds after we got there." They then drove away, thinking they had not violated the law because they received no money.
"It turns out, once you present it, the problem occurs," a legally wiser Carter says today. He denies he ever presented a false ID to the teller.
When he learned he had been charged with forgery, Carter says, he turned himself in to the West U police. He recalls that he completed the deferred adjudication term, charges were dismissed, and "that was the end of it."
The check incident has surfaced in the media several times in the intervening 15 years, Carter says. It came up when he was working for the mayoral campaign of state Representative Sylvester Turner, and another time when he campaigned for county judge candidate Vince Ryan. Allen Blakemore, consultant for winner Robert Eckels, described Carter as "a common thug."
Carter says Womack's campaign has been mailing material about his forgery case to voters, but he has focused on more recent actions of his opponent.
"If Mr. Womack says that his community service over the years has shown what type of person he is, I never disputed that," says Carter. "The only thing I said was the man didn't pay his property taxes in the last 12 years. If you got anything in the last year or so where I haven't paid my bills, it'll be news to me."
With the serious dust-busting that's going on in this race, fellow District D candidates Ada Edwards and Chris Oliver shouldn't be surprised if they find folks combing through their garbage cans over the next two months.