Oh, well this just gets better and better… Apparently, Todd Staples along with this brother in law masterminded a pyramid scheme in the 1990s and escaped prosecution possibly through connections and one of Todd‘s own votes while in the Lege.
In 1994, Todd Staples …
a) … participated in this pyramid scheme and had family (his brother-in-law) participating in it. A criminal complaint was filed in Anderson County — the seat is Palestine, Staples’ hometown — and Staples‘ brother-in-law was arrested and charged. The Palestine city attorney followed up by requesting help from the Anderson County district attorney for assistance in investigating the illegal pyramid scheme. (Staples is between elected-official jobs at this time, he has previously served on the Palestine city council, for the years 1990 and ’91 as mayor pro tem.)
b) This document reveals that the case was put on “hold” in 1994 and then dismissed in ’96.
The case was dismissed because Todd Staples — who was elected state representative in a special election to fill a vacancy in 1995 — voted in favor of legislation* that legalized the crime for which his brother-in-law was charged. This had the added benefit, of course, of making it impossible for Staples himself to ever face any charges or even be questioned in detail about the matter by a prosecutor, or the media.
Then, of course, it gets even more unbelievable…
According to additional court records, shortly thereafter, Staples became involved in a series of events leading to the removal of a narcotics officer who arrested his brother-in-law and was the lead officer investigating the Friend’s Gifting Network.
Court records show that Staples’ facilitated meetings with the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety at the behest of, among others, the same Anderson County District Attorney whose staff member was involved in the pyramid scheme, in order to discuss removal of the police officer.
Court filings also show that, were the word of Staples’ high-level participation in the Friend’s Gifting Network become publicly known prior to the 1995 special election to replace State Rep. Elton Bomer, it would have likely ended Staples’ political career. The same court filings show that Staples’ assistance to the District Attorney came at a time when he and his office were accused of receiving an unauthorized share of funds seized during a federal narcotics investigation. The same police officer who arrested Staples’ brother-in-law had initiated inquiries to determine why the DA’s office had received this share of funding.
Not only did he try to cover it up, he wouldn’t even have been elected in the first place had this been known. One has to wonder how many of the newspapers and organizations that endorsed him in this race will take a second now that they know this. Hank’s biggest crime was bouncing one check more than a decade ago. Todd Staples tried to take money in a pyramid scheme from his own constituents.
Especially the Dallas Morning News which was sooo hypercritical of Hank’s statement that he hates wearing his seatbelt. Which would you rather have, DMN Editors? A guy doesn’t like his seatbelt or one who votes to make sure neither he or his family will be prosecuted for illegal activity? I mean, Staples failures to protect private property rights, his votes to sell our roads to foreign toll companies and his massive failures at TDA to protect public health and consumers from being ripped off at the pump are well known. But none of that was enough to for the DMN… they opted, instead, to see what they wanted.
Maybe that’s what Rick Perry knew all along when he decided not to meet with the Ed Boards… it’s obvious that many are, if not corrupt, seriously compromised in their decision making abilities.
This is the second time we’ve learned something entirely new about Staples rather disquieting past. One has to wonder if the press will ever decide to turn as brutal a light on him as they have on Hank Gilbert. It’ll also be interesting to see if Staples comes clean or if he tries to stonewall.
*See Texas House Journal, 44th Regular Session, 69th Legislative Day, p. 2224. The bill was House Bill 2771.