Jones: McKinney told me to stop investigation
The Ellis County Press
MIDLOTHIAN – Deputy constable Mike Jones and reserve constable Ken Singleton’s resignations did in fact have something to do with a mortgage fraud investigation, according to e-mails Jones – who takes over the Precinct 4 constable’s office in January – sent to The Ellis County Press.
Constable Steve McKinney, who recently ran for sheriff, told this newspaper last week he couldn’t get into the details of why Jones and Singleton resigned, but when asked, he said a mortgage fraud investigation did not play into those reasons.
Jones, who won the March 4 GOP primary, said the Precinct 4 office was contributing over 60 hours a week for an investigation that eventually caught the attention of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and the Texas Rangers.
"In early May, [Justice of the Peace Precinct 4] received a fraudulent appeal bond on an eviction in Honeysuckle Estates," said Jones, describing the tony subdivision outside of Midlothian’s city limits.
"During my initial investigation I found that the rightful owner was a ‘straw buyer’ and had never lived in the residence.
"The current resident was a poor black single mother paying $750 cash to a black preacher from Cedar Hill by the name of Jackie T. Lewis. "
When contacted at his home Monday morning, Lewis’ wife said she would have a response to this paper’s requests for comment at a later date.
"The house in question had a mortgage payment of $3,500 per month that wasn’t getting paid, so the leader foreclosed on the property," Jones said. "The lender went to take possession of the property and found it occupied. By law the lender filed eviction papers in JP4. I served the eviction papers to the resident and upon the court date no one appeared. Judge [Linda Sibley] rules in favor of lender and states that residents have five days to vacate or appeal. Within the five days, an appeal was filed under the owner’s name. A letter was sent to the owner stating that appeal will be forwarded to county court. Owner contacts JP4 and advises that they never appealed the eviction. Subsequently it is revealed through my investigation that the name was forged as well as the two listed sureties. I went back through the JP4s previous appeals and found another with the same issues. The preacher Lewis was the king pin here."
Jones, who does not face a general election opponent and will succeed McKinney (who was appointed to fill the term when Bubba Curry resigned to take a constable’s job in Tarrant County) in January, said he found the majority of homes in Honeysuckle Estates were sold to straw buyers.
Things in common, Jones said, that he found in the Honeysuckle Estates investigation:
· The mortgage broker was the same on all of the transactions
· All residents had incomes of less than $30,000 (gross)
· All residents were black with "excellent" credit scores
· Virtually all of the houses in Honeysuckle Estates went into foreclosure
Jones, meanwhile, said McKinney submitted forms to the Texas agency that regulates peace officers that will virtually make it impossible for him to get rehired before January.
Though McKinney said he couldn’t get into details, Jones was quick to say the issue isn’t a matter of who’s covering for whom, but the lack of work ethic by McKinney, who finished third in the three-way sheriff primary.