HOUSTON, Texas – A black Texas state representative who said his conviction for ambulance chasing by a Montgomery County, Texas, jury was a “modern day lynching” has started a GoFundMe.com account. He states that the funds will be used “to raise the money to clear my name and continue being a Public Servant!”
The www.gofundme.com/repronreynolds account has raised $1095 as of the time of publication. The stated goal is $35,000. Only eight people have contributed as of Thursday afternoon.
Rep. Ron Reynolds, a Missouri City, Texas, lawmaker was sentenced by a Montgomery County jury in Conroe to five counts of Class A misdemeanor barratry.
Reynolds was sentenced to one year in jail for each count, to run concurrently. He was also fined $4,000 for each count. Reynolds has filed a notice of appeal in an attempt to overturn the conviction and is out on bond during his appeal.
The Missouri City lawmaker is not required to resign his Texas House seat and says he is still running for a fourth term.
Reynold’s gofundme page states, “I was wrongfully charged and convicted of misdemeanor Barrarty (the unlawful soliciation of accident clients within 31 days of the accident) by a Montgomery County District Attorney’s office that has a history of racial disparties toward African Americans. Remember the Clarence Brandley case and the movie ‘Whitewash.’” [misspellings in original]
Reynolds describes himself on his page, “I am a proud Christian, husband and father of 3 wonderful children. I serve as State Representative for House District 27 (located in Fort Bend County). I’m currently the Texas House Democractic Whip.”
As reported by Breitbart Texas and ABC13 in Houston after the jury’s verdict and sentence, Texas State Representative, Ron Reynold (D-Missouri City) said Conroe “prosecutors attacked his character because he is an African American democrat.”
“And these are some strong words, I believe that this was a modern day lynching,” Reynolds said at the time. “I believe that this was so severe in the way that they went after me. They wanted nothing more than to paint me as a bad, bad black politician.”
Breitbart Texas reported in September of 2014 that the embattled Texas state representative had made Texas Monthly magazine’s list of Worst Representatives of 2013. At that time, he had been arrested on 10 counts of barratry (“ambulance chasing”) in Montgomery County. He faced similar charges in 2012 in Harris County.
Reynolds’ barratry activities were discovered in Montgomery County after a confidential informant notified authorities of the kickback scheme involving the perusal of accident reports and calls to potential clients. Reynolds paid a runner to try to get accident victims to contract with Reynolds for legal services.
Texas Lawyer magazine reported that it took the jury only one hour and fifteen minutes to find Reynolds guilty. It also took them only an hour to sentence him “to the max,” a prosecutor reportedly said.
Reynolds was also charged with barratry in Harris County in 2012 but the case was dismissed after one of the case investigators was accused of tampering with evidence in an unrelated case.
In February of 2014, the Commission for Lawyer Discipline brought suit against Reynolds in Harris County for his part in the ambulance chasing scheme. Law360 reported that the State Bar of Texas sued Reynolds over his part in a “criminal client solicitation scheme that involved paying kickbacks to a chiropractor who referred customers to Reynold’s personal injury law firm.”
The State Bar Commission alleged that Robert Valdez, Sr., a convicted felon, would solicit personal injury clients for Reynolds. Reynolds allegedly provided Valdez with forms so he could sign-up legal clients for him.
Reynolds was also fined $10,000 in 2011 by the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to file campaign finance disclosures in 2008 and 2009. The Texas Attorney General sued to collect on the fine.
Reynolds has filed a notice of appeal in an attempt to overturn the conviction. He is out on bond during his appeal.
The Missouri City lawmaker is not required to resign his Texas House seat. Reynolds says he is still running for a fourth term.
Reynold says on his gofundme page, “I fight for progressive values such as, minimum wage increase, equal pay for equal work, affordable healthcare, high quality public education and criminal justice reforms.”
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2