The Tea Party Democrat

Party leaders want to throw out District Attorney candidate Lloyd Oliver and the donkey he rode in on.

The changes of today discomfort Lloyd. He distrusts social media — "No one's going to Twitter my ass." He doesn't understand why women now take two last names after marriage. "Pick a name, honey," he cautions, "pick a name." He doesn't like Mexico's burgeoning influence in Texas. "I love Texas. I love America. I do not love Mexico," he said, walking into a Mexican restaurant to consume vegetable soup. And he's apprehensive of homosexuality. That matter, more than anything else, shatters Lloyd's jovial temperament.

One day, I told Lloyd about some disparaging things a prominent local Democrat named David Jones had had to say about him. Jones had called Lloyd a joke and friendless. This upset Lloyd very much. He brought it up six times that afternoon. Lloyd said he has lots of friends — and gave me the numbers of several men to prove it. But his immediate reaction was that Jones, who by every account is straight, must be gay. "David Jones is a homosexual, and like most homosexuals he's frustrated," Lloyd said. "He's embarrassed. So he's a frustrated homosexual — what do you expect?"

Actually, there is one thing that no one, including David Jones, including Lloyd, did expect: That Lloyd would defeat Zack Fertitta in the Democratic primaries. There were several reasons for the bewilderment. For one, Lloyd did absolutely no campaigning. He plunked down his $1,250 to enter the race, bought a few signs that said "Lloyd Oliver For District Attorney No More Chicken Sh—" and "then went home and watched TV."

Lloyd Oliver debates Republican opponent Mike Anderson on the PBS show Red, White and Blue. Lloyd calls David Jones (far right) a "frustrated homosexual," though Jones isn't gay.
Photos by Troy Fields
Lloyd Oliver debates Republican opponent Mike Anderson on the PBS show Red, White and Blue. Lloyd calls David Jones (far right) a "frustrated homosexual," though Jones isn't gay.
Lloyd Oliver debates Republican opponent Mike Anderson on the PBS show Red, White and Blue. Lloyd calls David Jones (far right) a "frustrated homosexual," though Jones isn't gay.
Photos by Troy Fields
Lloyd Oliver debates Republican opponent Mike Anderson on the PBS show Red, White and Blue. Lloyd calls David Jones (far right) a "frustrated homosexual," though Jones isn't gay.

Fertitta, meanwhile, had pumped $100,000 into his campaign, secured important backers and hit the obligatory but important stops. Things appeared to be humming, and Fertitta said he was already focusing on the general election. But then, through no effort of his own, Lloyd somehow achieved overwhelming support among black voters. There was profound confusion over this. Rice University Political Scientist Bob Stein said he suspects it was because Lloyd's name sounds blacker.

With the added push, an accident of democracy that could have only occurred at the local level unfolded. Lloyd got 30,800 votes — 3,000 more than Fertitta. "I've never seen anything like it," said Adam Harris, Fertitta's campaign strategist. "We have no idea. Literally. No idea."

His dismay in part relates to Lloyd's voluminous past, which Lloyd readily acknowledges. "I got some skeletons in the closet," he said. "And some of them got some meat on 'em." Beyond the barratry charge involving Perry Mason — which he was nearly indicted for twice — the State Bar of Texas suspended his law license for 11 months in the mid-1980s. Lloyd, with another lawyer, had apparently hoodwinked a woman "with limited education" out of 26 acres and then committed perjury during the fallout, according to a state District Court decision. In strangeness only befitting Lloyd, he'd told prosecutors he barely knew Brenda Oliver, who'd helped him in the ruse, though, in fact, she'd once been his wife, as well as the mother of his child.

"So I took a vacation," Lloyd said, denying any wrongdoing. "Still don't have a problem with that."

Later, in 1989, he was indicted and tried for allegedly tampering with a witness and for bribery. The grand jury said Lloyd and another attorney, Thomas Beech, had funneled $15,000 to a parlor masseuse so she wouldn't testify against her ex-husband, 68, who'd allegedly had sex with her 13-year-old daughter. Lloyd was arrested while picking up the money at a bank but was later acquitted, though there had been tape recordings documenting apparent collusion. Lloyd maintains the money he got for the woman was her divorce settlement, and in no way a bribe.

At Lloyd's 1993 acquittal, his elation was expansive. According to a Houston Chronicle article at the time, he even referred to one prosecutor as "fair and a gentleman." Beech did not get off, however, and subsequently ditched town and became a bank robber in Arizona.

And the last reason his primary victory shocks is that Lloyd Oliver is just so undeniably Lloyd Oliver. He wallows in self-identity. It cloaks him like a trench coat. There's very little that's subdued about the man — and sometimes he seems almost make-believe. His zeal for women, his slow guttural timbre, the fact that the American flag factors so prominently in his wardrobe, it's almost like he's constantly auditioning for the role of Lloyd Oliver. And it's a character that very badly wants to be liked. One day at the Harris County criminal courthouse, as we ambled down the hallways, Lloyd was all backslaps, belly laughs and introductions. Everyone was his pal. Lloyd said if the election were held among attorneys, he'd trounce Mike Anderson. No question about it.

But is that true? Or instead, do snickers follow Lloyd? Nearly 90 percent of the members of the Houston Bar Association say Lloyd isn't qualified to be district attorney, according to a poll earlier this year. "He has this persona of a bumbling doofus," said Murray Newman, who manages a popular blog on Harris County criminal justice. "He wants it to seem harmless, adding that few attorneys respect him, either on the prosecution or the defense side of the aisle. "He just says and does incredibly stupid things."

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18 comments
XXXx
XXXx

Terrence deserves a prize for this,  fucking find one for him now. It's so Houston, it's so sweaty. This is the finest piece of pol journalism and COMEDY of 2012. Please turn this into a screenplay if you haven't already, sir.

blomejj
blomejj

That sounded evil to me too.  We hear a respected professor saying crazy stuff like that.  I wonder if just a portion of his thesis was stated out of context.  This stuff about this Arab bragging that he bought Lloyd Oliver's opponent for $5k confirmed my suspicions.  I guess Lloyd was waiting for some concrete proof, before he could release what was already obvious to those close to the system.  Michael Anderson has promised returns for the $700K that opportunists invested in his campaign.  What do you want to bet Lloyd's opponent won't return the $5K or donate it to a worthy cause?  Justice has always been for sale in Harris County.  It is just that the buyers consisted of a smaller tight knit group during the Holmes-Rosenthall era.

ZubenElGenubi
ZubenElGenubi

I rarely am surprised by the behaviour of politicians or lawyers nowadays, so the revelations of Mr. Oliver were not earth-shaking.

 

The one sentence that really knocked me over was this: 

 

"Rice University Political Scientist Bob Stein said he suspects it was because Lloyd's name sounds blacker."

 

There's one of two conclusions one can take away from this statement.  A) Mr. Stein is a racist or B) the African-American electorate do not make educated voting decisions (i.e., voting by name only).

 

Which is it?  While the article addresses straight-ticket voting, it does not satisfactorily explain how Mr. Oliver was elected in the Democratic primary in the first place.  

blomejj
blomejj

Where did the $400K come from that the maid found in Johnny Holmes freezer?  Constituents have been voting for dirty public officials that are tied to family fortunes for the longest.  How has that worked.  Look at retired judge Dibrell in Galveston County?

andy434
andy434

Great article about this pathetic cartoon character masquerading as a man. Mike Anderson is much more conservative than I am, but he's been my friend for more than 25 years and he's going to run a good office. And anyone who thinks Johnny Holmes was bought and paid for knows nothing about the man or his family fortune. Johnny was too rich to be bought even if he hadn't been too honorable.

redeyecarl
redeyecarl

@HoustonPress @TexasObserver pls. send this link 2 those clubs that prefer original songs in Americana style... http://t.co/cbHfSRJj

blomejj
blomejj

We know that Lloyd Oliver's opponent is bought and paid for by the same entities who owned the Holmes and Rosenthal administrations.   You are very kind Anse and your point is well taken.  Lloyd Oliver can lead the Harris County DIstrict Attorneys Office without the money and connections.  He would have to be dirty to use connections in the same manner as his opponent.  All he needs to do is get elected.  Than it is up to him to hire good chiefs.  There are plenty, who are ready, willing and able,  to pick from.  Other than taking orders from the people who paid at least $700K to Anderson, Lloyd Oliver's opponent does not know how to take advice from the experts who actually run the huge office.  Lloyd knows how to take advice from others and I expect him to do a good job of this once he is elected.  He promises not to over prosecute infractions of the law, while concentrating his efforts on major crimes, especially those committed through corruption.  Lloyd is a generalist, not a specialist.  That is what we need.

Anse
Anse

This dude is a piece of work. But honestly, give this guy money and connections, get rid of his gut, and he could be Rick Perry.

ScottS
ScottS

Lloyd Oliver was my attorney in a custody suit in Fort Bend County in the 1990's.  I hired and fired 3 Fort Bend attorneys who I was told could get me through the good ol boy system there.  They couldn't.  I got hooked up with Lloyd through a good friend and Lloyd got me through the process with the best possible outlook for me and for my child.  He is a good guy, a straight shooter, and an honest lawyer.  If you find yourself needing an attorney I would highly recommend him.

 

He has some interesting opinions as described well in this article, but he would make a big impact on a terrible DA's office staff.

 

Good luck Lloyd if you happen to read this and I know you will do a great job if you win this election.

hwalsh10284
hwalsh10284

Based on what is said here, and who knows if its true, I find that I don't agree with him on many issues.  That said I would vote for him because he does not mince words.  With him in office you would know exactly where he stands.  When was the last time you had someone in office who was straight forward?  Now if all politicians were as outspoken we would truely have a representative government not this bastardization we have now where noone on either side does what they say they will do.

miyashay
miyashay

@terrence_mccoy well written @HoustonPress on Lloyd! cc: @thecatarina

Bradley
Bradley

Lloyd Oliver is a good man.  The Republican candidate spreads all this untrue stuff, because Lloyd has promised to prosecute corrupt politicians.  Lloyd's opponent is one of them. 

Gretel
Gretel

I'm speechless. What an amazing story about a truely horrible human being. Way to go Democrats...pay attention next time! Please!!

Wyatt
Wyatt

Wow...great story.

Anse
Anse

@blomejj lmao

Wyatt
Wyatt

 @Bradley The Republican candidate spread what stuff? This story comes from spending time with the guy. And while interesting as a human being, he also sounds like a misogynistic, homophobic, racist goober.

 

Or are you suggesting the Republican candidate dressed up like Lloyd Oliver and tricked a reporter into believing he was him, then said all of that terrible shit?

 
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