Houston’s favorite wife-beating, medical-license-losing, cocaine-positive-testing dad has done it again: On June 4, a hair plucked from the scalp of “Doctor” Michael Brown tested positive for cocaine, according to Brown’s case file in Judge Bonnie Hellums’ family court.
Brown lost his medical license after violating the terms of his probation in 2006, although, according to The Hand Center’s Web site, he “retired.” You may know him from commercials for The Hand Center – in the new version, he’s surrounded by kids from both his marriages, plus his second wife, Rachel, whose glassy eyes and seemingly-surgically-implanted smile in no way indicates that the happy marriage is a facade. But while the commercial may be new, the motto is vintage: “We treat you like family.” Which, in Brown’s case, means there’s a likelihood you could get beaten silly with a broken bedpost.
His latest problem came earlier this year, when Brown filed a motion to change the terms of his visitation with the kids – primarily, he wanted them to get passports for a family trip to the Ritz-Carlton in Cancun, where they’d be accompanied by a nanny. (We understand that Brown’s entire domestic staff showed up to one of his recent hearings, as did his bodyguard.)
His ex-wife Darlina and her husband Gino Barone filed a motion for an emergency hearing against it, based in large part on a protective order Rachel Brown sought in 2006, which we’ll get to shortly. Ultimately, after a bit of standard legal wrangling, Brown was ordered to submit to a drug test during a June 4 hearing at the Family Law Center.
Now, in 2002, Brown was placed under ten years’ probation in Montgomery County for that whole beating-his-pregnant-wife bit. (He pleaded nolo to felony aggravated assault). Ordinarily, you’d think that testing positive for coke multiple times might violate the terms of probation. But Brown found a sympathetic judge in Suzanne Stovall.
Although the lead prosecutor in the case said the office strongly opposed the early lift – and they reminded Stovall that the Texas Medical Board revoked his license because his tested positive for drugs – Stovall ultimately disagreed with that drug test’s veracity.
In February 2007, according to the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, Stovall decided that the probation could be lifted after six months, if Brown didn’t screw up. During the subsequent hearing, the DA’s office presented expert testimony that his drug test was, in fact, done correctly. Stovall still disagreed and lifted the probation in August 2007.
Of course, it might have helped D.A. Mike McDougal and his prosecutors if they knew about Rachel Brown’s affidavit in Harris County. But they didn’t.
Rachel sought a protective order against him in 2006. In an affidavit attached to her motion, she said Brown had a history of violence against her from 2004 to 2006, in which Brown allegedly “assaulted me, spit on me, pulled my hair and degraded me in front of the children.”
Her affidavit also states that after one of these incidents, while she was nine months pregnant, she grabbed a video camera to document the bruises. Brown allegedly ripped the camera out of her hands and “demolished” it. She also alleged that Brown “abandoned me and our children” on the day she gave birth to their son in September 2006.
Eventually, the couple reconciled, and Brown went on to give an affidavit where he stated “the children are happy and comfortable at my home. They are very attached to me.”
All in all, it’s been a rough past few years for Brown. In 2005, he filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas. Among his listed creditors is the IRS, which claimed he owes around $450,000 in back taxes.
Brown’s attorneys haven’t yet returned calls left a short while ago, but we’ll include their comments if and when they choose. – Craig Malisow
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.