Spaced Out

A non-PC e-mail riles a group of judges

Free As A Burd

Houston attorney Gene Burd pled guilty 16 months ago to making a false statement on his tax returns, specifically not including more than $600,000 in income he made from kickbacks from chiropractors. (Think of it as The Simpsons' Lionel Hutz and Dr. Nick Riviera.)

Four months ago, Burd received a 33-month sentence in a federal pen. In December he starts his imprisonment.

You'd think a guy like that would be disbarred by now. You'd be wrong.

Even though it's been well over a year since Burd admitted to his ambulance-chasing, kickback-getting ways, the State Bar of Texas hasn't disciplined him. As of the first week of October, one local attorney says, Burd was still practicing in his Houston office.

What's a guy got to do to get disbarred these days?

Maureen Ray, a lawyer in the Bar's disciplinary office, says her hands have been somewhat tied. They have been following Burd's case but couldn't file a disciplinary action against him until they received a certified copy of the criminal judgment, which didn't happen until his sentencing.

In the year between Burd's guilty plea and his sentencing, any potential client who called the Bar to see if Burd was legit would have been told he was, even though Bar officials knew all about the plea.

"It is frustrating," says Ray. "It's very frustrating, because we think of ourselves as prosecutors...The wheels of justice can turn slowly."

The disbarment process is under way now, she says. Although if he does report to prison in December, you'd think the problem would more or less take care of itself.

How 'Bout Them Hawgs?

The New York Times recently took notice of the longshot campaign to get UH quarterback Kevin Kolb a Heisman Trophy, and mentioned that Kolb had successfully hunted a 430-pound wild hog. Take that, Brady Quinn!!

Houston Press reporter Todd Spivak is our go-to guy for all hog-hunting stories (See "Hog Wild," August 24), and he talked to Kolb, who confirmed his long, deadly, knife-wielding war with the evil of feral swine.

"It's a never-ending battle," he says. "The more you kill the more they show up."

The hogs, which the Stephenville native says make "good eating," need to be killed before they ruin farmland. "My father's neighbor lost 80 percent of his crop to them," he says. "People don't see that side of it."

He's got two dogs that he's trained by putting them in a pen with a feral hog. He comes by his hobby honestly, having tracked the pigs for miles, on his hands and knees through the brush, as a kid on his grandfather's ranch.

His favorite hog-hunting story? Last winter, on a foggy night in Southeast Texas. His two dogs had gotten ahead of him, and he followed the sound of their barking to a pit near a river.

"The hog was backed up into the water, throwing the dogs back and forth," he says. "Luckily we had a gun that time. It took us three shots to kill him."

Kolb's Heisman chances have faded with UH's two recent losses to low-ranked teams. So any feral hogs who thought they might be safe during his New York trip for the announcement ceremony had better think again.

Kolb is coming. For you.

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