This is the representative who may celebrate being elected from jail

By Mario Diaz - Reporter

HOUSTON - The October stump is on.

There are yards signs everywhere while candidates are snapping selfies, shaking hands and flooding the airwaves with ads.

However, one Houston area elected official has gone missing.

Good luck spotting State Rep. Ron Reynolds between now and Election Day.

The reason?

Reynolds is inside the Montgomery County Jail. He is officially listed as inmate 232573.

Channel 2 Investigates was the only station to capture Reynolds in handcuffs Sept. 7. He's serving a one-year sentence for five misdemeanor convictions of "barratry" stemming from his law practice. Barratry is the legal term for ambulance chasing.

Channel 2 Investigates has now obtained transcripts and images from the court. Prosecutors said the evidence shows Reynolds working with habitual felon Robert Valdez to buy cases. The state bar now lists Reynolds as not eligible to practice law.

In March, Channel 2 Investigates confronted Reynolds over the $52,000 in fines he amassed with the Ethics Commission. Reynolds said at the time, "I missed a couple of deadlines."

The state representative's financial troubles don't end there. In 2016, he lost a half-million dollar judgment to a Harris County woman. Court records show as the woman's attorney, he secured a six-figure settlement following her daughter's wrongful death. However, Reynolds never told the mother he settled the case.

Now, two years later, he has gone gone missing from his House District 27. His current residence, the Montgomery County Jail, is more than 60 miles from the heart of his district.

Yet, the fact remains that Reynolds is campaigning for re-election. Since there is no Republican in this race, he has essentially locked down victory.

Which means Reynolds will be celebrating Election night in jail.

What does James Dickey think?

"It's very simple, he should resign,” the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas said.

The GOP chair for the Lone Star State recently sat down for an interview with Channel 2 Investigates at his Austin office, and said, "His constituents will have no one representing them in the legislature and that is wrong."

Texas Democrats also sat down with Channel 2 Investigates. Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia has a different perspective: "We appreciate that the Representative has taken responsibility for his actions."

When asked as to how a candidate sitting a in a jail cell represent his community well? Garcia said, “That is a question for the candidate himself."

Reynolds wrote Channel 2 Investigates from jail last week. He declined an interview, but said he's willing to speak in January, when he gets out. In a recent letter to the Fort Bend Star, Reynolds blamed his Montgomery County conviction on racism.

Still, with a history of ethics fines prior to his September surrender, Reynolds had Democrats including Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke standing with him. In fact, Reynolds shared the screen with O'Rourke in a campaign ad.

Channel 2 Investigates caught up with O’Rourke following a recent rally and asked him about Reynolds and the fact that on election night, Texans might be electing someone who sits in jail.

O’Rourke said, “I just don't know enough about the case to be able to comment on it. But, I trust the wisdom of the voters in Texas."

Following the interview, Channel 2 Investigates provided the O’Rourke campaign with background on Reynolds' history and asked if O’Rourke supports him.

The campaign responded in an email, touting O’Rourke’s travels throughout Texas and his trust in the electorate. A spokesman added that the moment where Reynolds shows up in the ad came during meeting with a youth group that wanted to learn more about government.

Copyright 2018 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.