Perfect Timing: How Malcontent Wiseasses Tried to Prove a Point About Politics and Ended up Charged as Felons

White conservatives who tweaked an election in The Woodlands were just what Greg Abbott needed to prove he doesn’t prosecute only minorities for voter fraud.

The remaining members of the group refused to consider any deal in which they would admit guilt. "How can I plead guilty to something that I am not guilty of?" Heath said. "That would be lying."

Added Jenkins: "Getting a letter of a criminal indictment from the state Attorney General and facing ten years in prison can be terrifying, and some people can't stand up to that. But I'm optimistic enough to believe that someone can't go to prison if the law is properly heard."

There was another casualty amid the indictments: Joe Kulhavy, an attorney in the elections division of the Secretary of State's office, was fired in July 2013 after a candid conversation with Heath about the case made its way to the Internet and into the ears of Kulhavy's supervisors.

Adrian Heath never thought he'd end up a convicted felon for getting involved in a local election.
Marco Torres
Adrian Heath never thought he'd end up a convicted felon for getting involved in a local election.
Attorney General Greg Abbott has pledged to fight voter fraud in Texas.
Texans For Greg Abbott
Attorney General Greg Abbott has pledged to fight voter fraud in Texas.

"Heath was a frequent caller; he's a very smart, engaging guy," Kulhavy said in an interview. "He wanted to know all about election law and how it worked. And he told me about his case, about how the state was prosecuting these people."

Kulhavy said his colleagues in the election division talked about the case on occasion as well. "It came up from time to time," Kulhavy said. "Another attorney at the office had received the complaint from the Woodlands Road Utility District and did a cursory review and passed it along to the AG's office, saying, 'Well, here's some stuff we got in the mail; we don't know if it's a crime, but we think it may be illegal voting.' But the thing that was driving our attitude at the election division was that we were upset at the road utility district for running a really crappy election. They didn't even bother to get a list of registered voters before the election."

In August 2012, Heath made another call to Kulhavy to get his views on the election and the judge's ruling in the civil case that threw out the election. This time, he had a tape recorder rolling.

"The decision was contrary to decades of court decisions about residency issues; it was really an outlier," Kulhavy told Heath on the recording. "The way I read it was the developer is mad because their nose has been tweaked by some people who are protesting the profoundly undemocratic way that property taxes are imposed in Texas. And their embarrassment is such and the fact that money is involved as such that they call up their best buddy, somebody who has close political ties to them, and say, 'Hey, Judge, we need you to make an example of these people.' Most prosecutors won't touch a residency dispute with a ten-foot pole because they know they're going to lose. "

Last summer, with trial scheduled to begin in October, Heath edited the hourlong conversation into a juicy 11-and-a-half minute diatribe and stuck it on YouTube. Kulhavy was fired within weeks.

He promptly hung out his own shingle as a private attorney and launched his own election-law blog.

As the indictments neared, Kulhavy said, the Woodlands Seven dispute "looked like a 'dog case,' and that's why it took three years to get to trial. Adrian had been telling me how this powerful political cabal had conspired to give them a hard time. And after I got fired, I thought, 'Maybe there is something to that.' "

David Glickler, one of the state's prosecutors handling the Woodlands cases, said the matter took time not because it was a "dog case" but because there were numerous motions and filings and because one of Heath's lawyers, Kelly Case, was elected to a judgeship during that period, which resulted in a delay.

"It took two years from the time of the election to indictment," Glickler said. He said he couldn't comment on the convictions the state has gotten so far. "We still have four more cases to resolve. Possibly by trial," Glickler said.
_____________________

Jenkins, 63, is the owner of World Wide Microsystems, which builds computer chips for car-wash systems. A confessed workaholic, Jenkins isn't much for aesthetics in his workplace.

Inside, along with boxes of stock sit campaign signs for exclusively Republican interests — Romney/Ryan, state Rep. Rob Eisler. Name a GOP favorite, and it's likely there's a yard sign in the warehouse for him or her.

Jurors heard three days of testimony in the June trial of Jenkins. They came back within an hour with a guilty verdict. Jurors returned the next day, Friday, June 28, at 10 a.m. for the punishment phase. In his closing statement, prosecutor Jonathan White asked the jurors to give Jenkins probation.

"Violent offenders, we think about incapacitating them. We put them in prison. We put them away for as long as we can so that they can't hurt anybody. That they can't cause any more harm to society. In this case, what will keep Jim Jenkins from voting again? Being on probation for ten years would do a good job of that. If he goes to jail for two years or four years, after that time he is going to register to vote and he is going to vote again with every single one of you. He is going to enjoy his privilege to vote that he's so terribly abused."

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21 comments
fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

The group seems to have had honorable intentions, but they should have consulted with an election/campaign/political law attorney. There may have been a loophole to exploit.

AdrianHeath
AdrianHeath

http://www.scribd.com/doc/206514363/Application-for-a-Place-on-the-Ballot-Woodlands-Road-Utility-District-1

Please help expose the ludicrous structure and developer oriented existence of the Woodlands Road Utility District #1 by filing for a position on the ballot with me this year. Any resident of the state over 18 yrs qualifies. No requirement to live in the district for board members whereas the district is actually gerrymandered to preclude the involvement of voters in the community. I wish for 1000 applicants.

BobStevens
BobStevens

The people who were indicted in this case were a watchdog group who uncovered illegal activities of the "woodlands elite." Former representative Tommy Williams engaged in illegal activities along with attorney Bruce Tough and others get get these indictments. There were pay offs to the Attorney General office. 

When will Gregg Abbott and his minions prosecute the woodlands millionaires Kate and Dirk Laukien since they both changed their voting addresses to the Woodlands Railroad Utility District like these people did?

SoSezYou
SoSezYou

Hilarious antics of the real voter fraudsters....irrational baggers. Must suck to be stabbed in the back by the worst bagger in the state in Greg Abbot. 

Puller58
Puller58

So now to the appeals courts?

runlola
runlola

"Heath and nine others changed their voter registration addresses in April to 9333 Six Pines Drive, the Residence Inn. Several days later, McDuffee, Goeddertz and Berntsen, all among those changing their voter registration, filed as candidates in the May 8 board election."  


I am still completely baffled by these two sentences.  The deadline to file an application for place on ballot for the May 2010 uniform election date was March 8, 2010 and the deadline to file an application for write-in candidacy was March 15, 2010.  How exactly were they able to file applications for place on ballot in April?  Legally, they would have not been able to be accepted by the designated agent for Woodlands RUD per the Texas Election Code.  

johncoby
johncoby

who in their rightwing mind would even think about changing their voter registration to a hotel to get into office? They should go to jail for stupidity if nothing else.

AdrianHeath
AdrianHeath

The meaning to all Texans of these prosecutions by Abbott is that the will  of corporations, insiders and political cohorts outweigh the rule of law and the Texas constitution. No developer should be allowed to own and operate a political subdivision of the State of Texas for its own ends and out of reach of voters. see Art III Sec 52 (A)

Moreover, diligent citizens who take pains to follow the law by  consulting the highest authorities ( i.e. the SOS) are trampled at the AG's whim.

Republicans and Tea Parties don't want to clean their own house first.

If the AG was a Democrat they would all be on fire.


Think you have nothing to fear from your government? Think again.

joasis1
joasis1

If only they were democrats, then they'd have been applauded for their creativity and good intentions, probably even earning awards from Dear Leader and the ironic or paradoxical Holder Justice Department.

bdamages
bdamages

All this mischief arises from the fact that residents who are not property owners can vote in taxing authority elections, and property-owning non-residents cannot.  Another example:  mineral owners whose property is taxed cannot vote for school boards who set the rates on their property.

larrybradley
larrybradley

There was a time when enforcing an important law would not have warranted such a piece as this. Too bad those days are gone. To quote your heroine, Hillary, "What difference does it make?" what color they were or to which party they belonged? Here's a tip for your next story that deals with a court case, i.e., justice: Laws are made in order to be enforced. Unless there is judicial misbehavior during the trial or it is later proved that the defendants did not do what they were accused of doing, there is nothing to see here. Move along.

Shawn
Shawn

I stopped reading at "White Conservatives." If anyone had ever started an article with "Black liberals" or "Black" anything would be jumped on and make national news over their racism. Double standard that keeps feeding the hate.

tenmen
tenmen

pic of paper ballot is misleading, but the key in voter fraud!!!  we use little plastic voting machines.  Do you really think your vote counts on the plastic voting machine????  Back to paper ballots  where we can have some kind of accountability

AdrianHeath
AdrianHeath

@SoSezYou 1. Standing up to corrupt crony corporatist  local government is not irrational or fraudulent.

2. You got that right. Abbott is the fraudulent one

AdrianHeath
AdrianHeath

@johncoby I don't know who, but I do know that none of those involved in the RUD corruption case did that

BobStevens
BobStevens

@AdrianHeath Please investigate the satanic underworld of the Illuminati. These satanists are everywhere, in government, politics, healthcare, law, etc. Also, the Freemasons are satanists/illuminati. I am praying for you Mr Heath as well as Mr. Jenkins and the rest of your group. Thank you for all the wonderful work that has been done to fight corruption. Please talk to your friends about Jesus coming soon.
 The Peace Deal between Israel and Palestine will be the time of the Rapture. Obama is the anti-christ and pope francis is the false prophet.

alternateworld
alternateworld

@joasis1    The only irony is they were probably republicans and persecuted under a law that was intended to prevent democratic leaning voters from voting.  Let's see, that make 3 prosecutions.  Abbot is definitely catching all those thousands of fraudulent voters isn't he?

 
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