DA Claims She Has Conflict Of Interest In Major Case, Dismisses All Charges

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg opted to dismiss charges against nine defendants due to conflicts of interest.

Houston, TX – Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Tuesday that her office had too many conflicts of interest to proceed with prosecuting money laundering cases involving two poker parlors in Houston.

But instead of recusing herself so an independent prosecutor could be appointed, the county’s top prosecutor dropped felony charges against nine poker room owners and employees and is trying to return about $206,000 in seized cash to the defendants, KTRK reported.

Ogg refused to identify the people who created the conflict of interest, saying only that it involved a former contract employee and donor to her campaign, the Houston Chronicle reported.

However, attorneys for several defendants said that business consultant Amir Mireskandari was the biggest problem.

Mireskandari was chair of Ogg’s campaign finance committee for her 2016 election, KTRK reported.

He and his wife were big campaign donors who gave Ogg’s election effort $14,475 in monetary and in-kind contributions between 2016 and 2017, the Houston Chronicle reported.

They also hosted several campaign fundraising events for Ogg at their $3.2 million mansion.

After she was elected, the district attorney gave her former finance chair a contract with her office consulting on financial crime investigations, despite the fact that Mireskandari is not an attorney.

Defense attorneys for the poker operators told KTRK that Mireskandari was working for the same poker rooms that Ogg’s office was prosecuting while he was under contract to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

He was hired to help the poker rooms secure legal permits to operate or to pass legislation to legalize their operations.

Defense attorneys told KTRK that Mireskandari was paid at least $25,000 for his services to the poker operators, but some defense attorneys said he was paid several times more.

City records showed that Ogg signed three consecutive one-year contracts with Mireskandari for his assistance in investigating and prosecuting “complex financial and economic crimes,” the Houston Chronicle reported.

County auditor records showed that Mireskandari was paid $18,337 by the district attorney’s office between February of 2017 and May of 2018.

Mireskandari hadn’t billed the county since May of 2018 despite Ogg signing his new contract in February, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The poker clubs involved in the dismissed case were raided by police in conjunction with an investigation by the district attorney’s office.

Nine owners and employees were arrested and charged with multiple counts that included money laundering, engaging in organized criminal activity, and gambling promotion, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Defense attorneys took the information regarding Mireskandari to Ogg in July to make her aware of the conflict of interest, but instead of recusing herself to allow another prosecutor to prosecute the cases, she dismissed all of the charges against all of the defendants, KTRK reported.

She has also refused to reveal who the other “multiple” conflicts of interest were that caused her to dismiss so many charges, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Ogg said in a statement that she had decided to have an outside agency – in this case, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – review the cases.

However, a defense attorney told KTRK that the agents assigned to look at the cases are with the public corruption squad, not the organized crime unit.

"The FBI will review the material provided to us by the Harris County DA's Office and consult with the USAO to determine whether or not any federal law(s) were violated,” the FBI told KTRK in a statement.

The dismissal of the charges doesn’t take the poker parlors completely out of the district attorney’s hands yet though, because they had filed a civil suit against the clubs, trying to shut them down as a public nuisance, the Houston Chronicle reported.

First Assistant Harris County Attorney Robert Soard said that his office was still figuring out how to proceed with the civil case because they had just learned about the dropped criminal charges.

Comments (25)
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Texas-Bubba
Texas-Bubba

Just Need To Legalize Gambling In Texas anyways / I play at a couple of these poker rooms in Houston & they do everything by the book & pay taxes

Katarina
Katarina

Wonder if she could have an off-shore account that is sky rocketing??

NYXX
NYXX

Wow. She needs to be disbarred and investigated.

TCreationz71
TCreationz71

She should have RECUSED herself from the case! How stupid! Better yet, HOW STUPID DO YOU HAVE TO BE, TO BE A DISTRICT ATTORNEY??! Must have to be pretty stupid. Anybody can do HER job! Just hire someone off the street! Guarantee they'd be smarter than her!!! 🙄🙄

MzPlaz
MzPlaz

This just blows my mind! This woman should be investigated! I am sure he has been "greasing" her pockets hence the full dismissal! Crooked as hell!

javaguy746
javaguy746

Is this the south side of Chicago the Leroy Brown tells us about?

Dark_ePoch
Dark_ePoch

"Hi, Kim Fox? This is Kim Ogg from Houston, TX. Can you please give me some advice on how to handle cases in the worst possible way?"

BCchick
BCchick

She folded on justice

RPG156
RPG156

Every LE agency in the county needs to support her opposition in the next election.

BlueLM101
BlueLM101

"Ties to her campaign staff"? Maybe she should recuse herself from her position by resigning her position. Something really fishy is going on in Dallas and this DA.

Bulldog
Bulldog

Another piece of shit Democrat that will probably try to run for president just like all the other corrupt Democrats! She should be arrested and tried and thrown in jail for being complicit in organized crime

Gap Filler
Gap Filler

What's the point of arresting them, building a case, just to have her usual release them as she's known to do?

LynnSB
LynnSB

Absolutely Unbelievable -- How do these MF'ers continue to do this AND Get Away with it ??? Check her FINANCIALS -- Stinks of a Pay off !!!!

Teijeiro2
Teijeiro2

UH "First Assistant Harris County Attorney Robert Soard said that his office was still figuring out how to proceed with the civil case because they had just learned about the dropped criminal charges." WELL FIRST YOU REFILE THE CRIMINAL CHARGES DUMB ASS! She's not a JUDGE, she can't dismiss charges with PREJUDICE. REFILE THE CHARGES YOU LIBERAL PIECES OF SHIT.

DarrellB
DarrellB

That is "let them all go free" Ogg in action yet again. Votes have consequences, ignorant and straight ticket voting does real damage.

Cartheris
Cartheris

The conflict of interest is that everyone in the story all have the same drug supplier.