A real estate investor accused of bribing the Texas attorney general has been ordered to pay over $180,000 in fines and spend 10 days in jail for contempt of court in Travis County.
The case is one of many that Nate Paul, a friend and campaign donor of Attorney General Ken Paxton, faces as he fights multiple bankruptcies and legal battles with creditors.
He and Paxton are the targets of an FBI investigation launched in late 2020 when Paxton’s aides went to local and federal authorities, claiming the second-term Republican abused his office and took bribes from Paul.
According to a letter from a staff attorney for Travis County District Judge Jan Soifer obtained by Hearst Newspapers, Paul is being punished for ignoring a court order, then later lying about it under oath. The court is fining him $181,760, and his confinement is set to begin March 15.
“Mr. Paul’s flagrant lies to the court while under oath were pervasive and inexcusable, and served to deliberately thwart the functions of the court in enforcing its injunction,” a staff attorney for Soifer wrote on her behalf. “Mr. Paul’s actions are part of a pattern of non-compliance with court orders.”
The conflict at the heart of the case goes back to 2011 when the nonprofit invested a portion of its endowment in Paul’s companies and a share of his properties. The nonprofit later accused the companies of breaching their contract by refusing to make certain financial disclosures.
Soifer approved an arbitrator’s $1.9 million judgment against Paul in July 2021, ordering that Paul’s companies shut down.
That was when Soifer issued the injunction that Paul flouted, which was meant to prevent him from moving or getting rid of assets to hide them from the court.
Paul appealed the district court’s decision in late 2021, but the panel of appellate judges affirmed the district court ruling against him. Court records indicate Paul’s attorneys plan to request a rehearing on that decision by the full court.
According to the letter from the district judge’s office, despite the injunction, Paul made at least two unauthorized transfers totaling just over $1 million. Paul was required by the injunction to file monthly sworn reports to the court showing all money transfers greater than $25,000, but he failed to report them, the letter said.
Paul later committed perjury by offering false testimony while being questioned by opposing counsel and Soifer, the letter from her office said. He lied about making the transfers, as well as about his own personal bank accounts, even when confronted with evidence of the accounts.
Chester said Paul lied at two separate court hearings in November 2022. At the first one, Chester presented Paul with his own bank statements, and Paul claimed he could not recognize them.
The court recessed for a week to allow Paul time to collect and bring in the bank records himself, so there would be no question of authentication. But at the next hearing, Paul also “completely lied about what bank accounts he had” and claimed he only had $6,000 to his name even though he lives a very luxurious lifestyle,” Chester said.
“The whole thing was very not-believable and showed utter disregard for the court,” Chester said.
If you’ve ever watched a TV show or movie based on some hot piece of longstanding intellectual property – say, a Marvel movie or The Mandalorian or Lord of the Rings, that sort of thing – you surely are aware that no matter how much you may think you know about the subject matter or the characters and their backstories, there’s so much more out there that not only do you not know it, you don’t even know enough to know that you don’t know it. There is Deep Lore that can only be fully understood by the most robust of nerds, who have spent their lives reading the books and comics and blogs and Wikipedia pages and fan fiction and watching the movies and bootleg videos and listening to the podcasts and on and on and on. You live in 2023, you know what I’m talking about.
Well, I’m here to tell you that the story of Nate Paul and his connections to Ken Paxton and all of the twists and turns and cul-de-sacs and rabbit holes associated with them are too deep and byzantine for even the likes of me to get my arms around. Suffice it to say that there’s more to this story than I can adequately summarize from this Chron article or this Trib story which is more expansive and would have required almost a complete copy-and-paste job to make sense here. Read them both, read through all of my Nate Paul-tagged posts, starting with these two – you can tell by the title of the first one that you’re already in a story in progress – and try your best to keep up. Just know that at the end of the day, Ken Paxton is a huge sleazeball who hangs around with a bunch of other sleazeballs, and sleazeballing is his core competency. The rest – so, so much of the rest – is details. And, God willing, the basis of an eventual federal indictment.