Leon Jacob said he wanted ex-girlfriend 'out of the picture,' councilman says

HOUSTON – The bail bondsman for a man charged in a murder-for-hire plot held a news conference Wednesday to discuss his involvement in the investigation.

Houston City Councilman Michael Kubosh, the bail bondsman, was the whistleblower who tipped off officials when he was contacted by Leon Jacob and told about the murder-for-hire plot.

“He was so serious when looking at me. I’ve been in the business for 20-something years and I have never felt the way that man made me feel in my office,” said Kubosh about meeting with Jacob.

Jacob and his girlfriend, Valerie McDaniel, were charged with soliciting capital murder. They are accused of trying to hire a hit man to kill McDaniel’s ex-husband and Jacob’s ex-girlfriend.

In February, Jacob was charged with stalking his ex-girlfriend and used Kubosh Bail Bonding to post bond.

[WATCH: Kubosh speaks about role in murder-for-hire plot investigation]

That’s how he’s connected to the City Council member.

“He started calling my office asking to speak to me. My brother Randy called me while I was at City Hall and said, ‘This doctor continues to ask for you, he wants to see you.'”

Kubosh explained at Wednesday’s press conference outside his office at 1701 Lubbock St. that he set up a meeting with Jacob for 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.

“He came into the office and he was very, very serious. I had him sit down,” said Kubosh.

At first Kubosh was confused because off the bat, Jacob starting asking for the phone number of a man named “Zach.”

Kubosh wasn’t familiar with the name off the top of his head, but it would later be revealed that “Zach” is another one of his clients.

“He [Jacob] said, ‘You know who Zach is. I want his number. I already paid him to take care of this matter. I want this girl out of the picture, I don’t want her to testify against me and I paid him a lot of money,” explained Kubosh about the exchange with Jacob.

Kubosh said he tried to sort out exactly who Jacob was talking about when it came to getting them “out of the picture.” He asked if it was the woman who Jacob is accused of stalking.

“He said, ‘Yes, I want her taken back to Pittsburgh or I want her out of here,'” explained Kubosh.

Jacob was frustrated because he said the number he had for “Zach” had changed since Jacob was in jail, according to Kubosh.

"He gave me the number, I had it checked on my computer at the office and it came back that I had talked to somebody on January the 6th of 2017 from that number. That alarmed me,” said Kubosh.

“Zach,” whose real name KPRC is not releasing since he hasn’t been charged in this crime, was out on bond through Kubosh’s office. He had a charge of theft in Harris County and was also out on bond for the same charge in Galveston County.

“Maybe they met in jail. I don't know how he got my name as knowing someone who knew ‘Zach’; that is still a mystery to me,” said Kubosh.

The City Council member said he met with Jacob for 30 minutes and then was off to council business. That’s when he called Houston Police Assistant Chief Troy Finner, who took the matter very seriously.

Court documents state investigators took Kubosh’s information, looked up “Zach” and found where the man lived and his real name.

Police were able to make contact with “Zach,” who “stated that he had in fact been hired by Leon Jacob to Kill the complainant in his stalking case,” according to court records.

Police told “Zach” to get in contact with Jacob and that’s when they would set up a sting where Jacob would meet with an undercover officer.

“Zach” and the undercover officer “traveled to the Olive Garden to meet with Jacob,” said the court papers. It goes on to state, “Jacob stated he wanted the victim to not be present for trial and insinuated that he wanted her killed.” Later in the conversation, Jacob talked about "using toxins to kill” the ex-girlfriend.

It was during that meeting that Valerie McDaniel came into the picture for the first time, and court records say that’s when she mentioned wanting to have the hitman kill her ex-husband, too, and would pay $10,000 in installments.

Police were able to get in contact with the would-be victims, McDaniel’s ex-husband and Jacob’s ex-girlfriend, and stage a fake murder scene and take pictures.

The undercover officer showed the couple the pictures and court records say that’s when Jacob handed him a portion of $10,000.

HPD officers went to the couple’s apartment to tell McDaniel about her ex-husband’s murder and that’s when police arrested them.

Kubosh is still uncertain why Jacob would tell him what he wanted to do.

“I said, ‘Sir, first of all, do you not know I’m a sitting City Council member for the city of Houston? I’ve taken oath of office to protect and defend,'” explained Kubosh to Jacob.

According to Kubosh, Jacob replied, “I know who you are, Michael Kubosh, City Council Member at Large Position 3.”

The details about Kubosh’s connection to Jacob came to light at Jacob’s court hearing last week, details Kubosh and his family thought would remain confidential.

“We’re very upset as a family that Mike was exposed,” said Paul Kubosh, who is an attorney and also Kubosh’s brother. “We have seen the District Attorney’s Office and police take better care of drug dealers who are confidential informants. They keep their IDs secret and there was no attempt to keep Michael Kubosh’s identity a secret at all.”

Kubosh said he wanted to hold a press conference to answer many questions the community has. He said, with his daughter, son, pastor and attorney brother behind him, that he is concerned about their safety given the nature of this case.

“Looking back, I did the right thing. It was a troubling thing for a while, especially after the veterinarian took her life, it was troubling to me, but I did the right thing," explained Kubosh. “When you save people’s lives I would hope I would feel differently, but it’s been a very stressful time. But I did the right thing, I’ve taken the oath of office to defend the citizens of this city and I feel good about having done that.”

McDaniel committed suicide last week by jumping off the River Oaks high-rise where she lived.

Kubosh didn’t know McDaniel personally, but said she was a co-signer on Jacob’s bond.

After she was arrested, she asked Kubosh to take her off.

He did, and has also removed himself from Jacob’s $20,000 bond.

When it comes to “Zach,” Kubosh is still his bondsman, and said the would-be hitman still has to call in once a week to check in.

About the Authors:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.