Houston City Councilman Michael Kubosh has been in the bail bonds business for 20 years, but he said Wednesday that he has never once felt threatened until the day Leon Jacob charged into his office and demanded an unfamiliar phone number.
Jacob, now accused of hiring a hit man to murder his ex-girlfriend, was at the time out on bond for stalking her, and Kubosh was his bail bondsman. Kubosh found himself entangled in the high-profile case, involving a local veterinarian, after it was revealed in court last week that Kubosh originally tipped police off about the plot. At a news conference Wednesday, Kubosh for the first time detailed the conversation he had with Jacob that initially led him to believe the woman Jacob was targeting might be in danger. He said it all started when Jacob called to set up an "urgent meeting" on February 23, one that began with Jacob demanding the phone number of a person named "Zach."
Jacob had said he hired the man to help get his ex-girlfriend "out of the way" before his trial on the stalking charges, Kubosh said.
"He said, 'I want her out of the picture,'" Kubosh recounted outside his bail bonds business Wednesday. "I don’t want her to testify against me, and I paid him a lot of money.'"
"I said, 'First of all, do you not know I’m a sitting City Council member of the City of Houston?'" Kubosh continued. "I’ve taken an oath to protect, defend the citizens of this city. And he said to me, 'I know who you are, Michael Kubosh, at-large Position 3. I know who you are. I want Zach’s number.'"
As it turns out, Kubosh later realized that he did in fact have Zach's number and also his address — information that police would soon use to arrest both Jacob and his girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, owner of the popular Montrose Veterinary Clinic, for solicitation of capital murder. McDaniel was accused of hiring the same hit man to kill her ex-husband. She committed suicide after jumping from the seventh floor of her River Oaks condo last week while out on bond.
Later on, while searching his database using old numbers for Zach that Jacob provided, Kubosh discovered Zach was actually one of his clients, out on bail for theft. How did Jacob know that? Kubosh says it's the "missing link."
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"He was so serious looking at me," Kubosh said. "I’ve been in business for 20-something years, and I have never felt the way that man made me feel in that office."
After Kubosh alerted Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo directly, police located Zach, who agreed to cooperate in an undercover investigation. Zach was apparently a "middleman" in the alleged murder-for-hire plot, whom Jacob had reportedly hired to find the hit man for him. Zach then connected an undercover police officer posing as a hit man with Jacob and McDaniel, meeting them at an Olive Garden to show fake crime-scene pictures of their ex-lovers' fake murders. Once the couple paid the fake hit man $20,000 and two Cartier watches for the dirty work, they were arrested.
Kubosh said Wednesday he was concerned about his family's safety, given the fact that they are without protection.
"We have seen the office and the police take better care of drug dealers who are confidential informants," said Kubosh's brother, attorney Paul Kubosh. "They keep their identities secret and there was no attempt to keep Michael Kubosh's identity secret at all."