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Anti-LGBTQ Hate Group Leader Accused of Theft, Money Laundering

Former Harris County GOP chair Jared Woodfill allegedly misused clients' funds in divorce cases.

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Authorities in Houston are investigating felony allegations of theft and money laundering against anti-LGBTQ hate group leader Jared Woodfill.

On Monday, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office raided Woodfill’s law offices, seizing 127 boxes of files, six computers and disk drives, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Woodfill, the former chair of the Harris County Republican Party, now leads the Conservative Republicans of Texas, which is listed as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Conservative Republicans of Texas was founded by longtime Houston anti-LGBTQ activist Steve Hotze.

In 2015, Woodfill served as spokesman for the campaign to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which prohibited discrimination against LGBTQ people. He also represents two local taxpayers who are challenging same-sex benefits for Houston city employees.

The criminal allegations against Woodfill are related to divorce cases in which he is accused of misusing clients’ funds.

In one case, a federal bankruptcy judge found that unaccounted funds or overpayments to Woodfill’s firm totaled more than $140,000. That case resulted in a complaint to the State Bar of Texas, which publicly reprimanded Woodfill and ordered him to pay $3,490 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses, the Chronicle reports.

In a second case, Woodfill is accused of using more than $45,000 of his client’s retainer “for purposes not related to her case.” In a third case, the ex-husband of Woodfill’s client accused him of taking at least $300,000 from a trust account in a divorce case.

According to the Chronicle, the search warrant that was executed Monday “also cites an interview with a man identified as Woodfill’s controller, Kenneth Kennedy, who is quoted claiming that Woodfill often moved money around between client accounts and his own bank accounts.”

 

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John Wright

John Wright is the editor of OutSmart magazine. He has spent two decades in the mainstream and LGBTQ media. Most recently, he served as senior editor of Dallas Voice, and covered LGBTQ issues in the state Legislature for The Texas Observer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wright earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Florida. He resides in the EaDo area of Houston, where he is currently remodeling a 1930s row house.
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