R. Kelly’s former crisis manager accused of fraud, theft in Harris County

R. Kelly's f ormer crisis manager is now facing his own set of charges in Houston

HOUSTON – R. Kelly’s former crisis manager is facing a crisis of his own after being charged with theft. He’s accused of defrauding two people out of more than $50,000.

Darrell Tracy Johnson was seen by the now-convicted singer’s side throughout much of his criminal case. He often spoke on Kelly’s behalf on network and cable news programs.

Now, two Harris County residents are saying he made empty promises to help them in crisis management and real estate investing but left them empty-handed.

“I was very vulnerable, seeking help and very desperate,” said Cola Lewis.

In 2019, Lewis was mourning the death of her mother in what she said was a medical mistake by a Houston hospital.

She said she met Johnson in a chance encounter at a local grocery store. She said he told her he could help her as she pursued a possible medical malpractice lawsuit.

“He said he handled A-list clients and verified his services because he had been on CNN, Gayle King, Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil,”

Lewis said Johnson offered his services pro bono, citing the recent loss of his own mother. But she said the free help eventually turned into fees.

“Within nine days, $5,000 became $25,000,” she said.

Lewis said she never got what she paid for.

“He was supposed to arrange meetings and advocate for my family as we went through the legal process. He didn’t do anything,” she said.

Michael Harris said Johnson sat next to him on a flight and after striking up a conversation about real estate and offered to include him in several upcoming investment opportunities.

“It was supposed to be some big condo complex in Miami that other stars were getting in on. He mentioned JLo and A-Rod and Jay-Z,” Harris told KPRC 2.

He says Johnson promised him a 30% return on his $22,000 dollar investment, money that never materialized.

“At that point, I started to feel like he was scamming me,” Harris said.

Harris and Lewis filed criminal complaints with Houston police, which led to Johnson being charged with theft.

“He needs to go to jail and he needs to spend a very long time in jail,” Lewis said.

An Instagram account, @DarrellJohnsonScammer, posts warnings and civil cases involving Johnson.

KPRC 2 spoke to more than half a dozen other people who made similar accusations against Johnson. Some were in the process of filing charges while others said the statute of limitations had run out.

A former NFL player, childhood friends and even a family member detailing to KPRC2 what they described as real estate and other business and management schemes that cost them tens of thousands of dollars.

When reached at his Champion Forest home, Johnson had no comment on the case or the allegations. His attorney also declined to comment.

Johnson is due in court on Oct. 20.

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Emmy-winning journalist, native Houstonian, reader, dancer, yogi.