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Hall sues his former consultant

It’s not really an election season if there isn’t at least one WTF story to make us all shake our heads.

Ben Hall

Ben Hall

Houston mayoral candidate Ben Hall sued his former consultant for defamation Tuesday in connection to a radio advertisement that accuses Hall of lying to Houston voters.

The lawsuit links political strategist Justin Jordan and his company, Patriot Group Strategies, Inc., to an ad Hall’s campaign said aired on a local Radio One station, Magic 102.1.

The one-minute segment begins, “Ben Hall, this message is for you. You can no longer lie to the voters of Houston. You can no longer make up stories about owning a radio station that just aren’t true.”

According to Hall’s petition, the ad was purchased under the name Anthony Starks and a group called Historians for Truth, though the listed address and phone number were fake.

“Jordan caused a false FCC-required form to be fraudulently filled out on behalf of a non-entity called Historians for Truth,” the lawsuit says. “In addition to trying to fraudulently hide his identity, Jordan submitted for publication a radio broadcast that was intended to damage the reputation of plaintiff.”

There’s a longer version of this story in the print edition, which for some reason does not appear to be available online. Jordan, through his attorney, of course denied the allegations. I don’t have anything useful to say about this. I’m just amused. The Press, which adds a few details and is as amused by this as I am, has more.

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17 Comments

  1. Mainstream says:

    This is just a publicity stunt by a candidate who is gaining no traction.

  2. paul kubosh says:

    If he would have ran right after Mayor Parkers first term he would probably have been Mayor. She was beat very badly by the Red Light Camera Petition. It is all about timing in these races. I for one would have loved him to have been Mayor over the last four years.

    Before you hit him to hard just remember that he did support Lane Lewis and Steven Kirkland.

  3. Steve Houston says:

    PK, the reason his campaign is failing is BECAUSE of his ties to supporting democrats, I suspect everyone here remembers enough of his crazy talk from the last election even if the general population doesn’t. Telling voters that two thirds of residents in the city aren’t paying their fair share of taxes didn’t help his campaign back then so I doubt it would have nailed him the spot four years ago either. Whoever he has advising him on some major policy areas seems to be out of touch too, many of his suggestions already in place for years and others shown as failures so whatever good ideas he may have had, they were overwhelmed by his lack of political savvy previously.

  4. paul kubosh says:

    I didn’t say last election i said he should have run in the election in which she was almost forced into a run off. He would have had beat her pretty badly in that election, in my opinion.

  5. Steve Houston says:

    PK, had Hall run in the election prior, he would have made the same mistakes he made the first time, not a shred of evidence suggesting he would have run smarter by running in an earlier election. If there was anything that happened two years ago that triggered him to fail so badly external to himself, I’d be all ears to hear it but suggesting he’d have done better after such an epic fail by running earlier suggests he’d have to have knowledge of his fails to correct them.

    If Hall had garnered more than 28% of the vote in 2013 or polled better than 10% now, I’d be more prone to think he’d have had a slight chance in 2011. Unfortunately for Hall, he’s shown no ability to energize voters in his favor in either election while Parker had her hardcore supporters that neither Gene Locke, nor anyone else could overcome.

    I think it’s a shame that voter apathy results in most incumbents winning three consecutive terms but term limits has not proven to be a panacea of reform as supporters claimed it would be, those supporters only pushing it on the city and not the state or county proving where their true loyalties to the concept were. All it really does is encourage political candidates to take a short term look at city problems, coast for six years while feathering their own nests, and then shrug their shoulders as they kick the can down the road for someone else to worry about.

  6. paul kubosh says:

    Steven,

    Let me ask you an academic question? How many votes would have put her in a run off? Also who would have been in a run off against her.

    Its purely academic but I believe the Red Light Camera and resulting fiasco after the election gave her such a black eye that if Hall had run he would have been Mayor. What was it? Less than a 1,000 votes would have put her in a run off?

  7. paul kubosh says:

    In my view she is the worst Mayor that I have ever witnessed. Maybe I should give White some credit for this current economic mess I believe we are in. That would make him a close second in my view.

  8. Steve Houston says:

    PK, your question assumes a vacuum of circumstances. Had Hall run two years sooner, he would have very likely made the same mistakes as he made in 2013 and probably would have taken more votes away from the others that ran against her than take many votes away from her. As I said, Parker has a core group of followers that vote for her in every election and it is my belief that those people amount to more people than voted for Hall in 2013.

    In a runoff situation, the most likely voters remain core followers and that small percentage Charles has outlined in the past. Knowing that Hall received just over 25% of the vote in 2013, less than half what Parker received, and most polls list him as getting far less than that number this time, there is just no logical reason to suggest Hall would have done better by running sooner. In 2011, there were a couple of straight white guys running, a black man, a Latino, and another woman; ample opportunity for a conservative like Wilson to get more than 11% if Parker was as vulnerable as some think. Had a better candidate like Paul Bettencourt run, I still don’t think he’d have beaten her in the runoff, fewer people voting strengthens those with a core constituency like Parker, and there are always fewer voters in a runoff.

  9. Steve Houston says:

    As far as worse mayors, I’ve seen mayors arrested for drugs, involved in scandals of a level surpassing anything Houston has to offer, or so plain incompetent that Parker looks like an angel by comparison. That doesn’t mean I agree with many of her decisions, certainly not as many as Steve Costello has during his term on council, but we’ll all have a chance to vilify the next mayor very soon no matter who it is or what they do.

    I was joking around with some friends about the candidates the other day, we came up with a mayoral tribute song along the lines of the Nails’ “88 Lines About 44 Women”. It practically wrote itself…

  10. Paul Kubosh says:

    I meant Houston Mayors….and as far as 2011 votes

    Lets see she got 59,156 which equals 50.83% of the votes.

    Total votes cast 116,385. If you divide that by 2 you get 58,193. So if another 1,928 people would have voted for say Jack O’Conner then the total vote count would have been 118,313 which would have given her a total percentage of 49.99% of the vote. She missed it by 1928 votes. If I new the election was going to be that close I would have bussed my clients to the polls and put her in a run off myself.

    http://www.harrisvotes.com/HISTORY/20111108/cumulative/cumulative.htm

  11. Steve Houston says:

    PK, I get that but what is the point of getting someone like that in a runoff they almost can’t lose in? Hall entering might have bled off votes from Wilson, Herrera, or Simms (sp?) but he did not seem to increase voting in 2013 and doesn’t seem to be a firebrand at getting the vote out now, with an actual contrary position on a major ordinance, so expecting more votes strictly because of him in 2011 seems a stretch.

    As Kuff points out, most of these elections are decided by a relatively small number of people, even your red light camera vote decided by less than the amount of under votes. In a city with over 2.2 million people, just those registered is less than half that…

  12. paul kubosh says:

    All my comments are based on 2011. Not now. His ability to win in my opinion was based more on Parkers weakness at that time rather than Hall’s strength. I will always believe Ben Hall would have won that election if he had entered say in the summer of 2011. I would have thrown everything I had behind him if he would have ran. Oh well it wasn’t to be.

  13. Katy Anders says:

    What are the chances that he has a future in city politics if he doesn’t make the runoff?

    He doesn’t strike me as a Chris Bell, who seems perfectly happy to be a professional losing candidate for office.

  14. paul kubosh says:

    Katy,

    He has always been involved in City Politics for a very long time. He hasn’t never been an elected official but he has always been involved. The man owns a radio station.

  15. Steve Houston says:

    PK, in the bigger picture, Parker hasn’t lost an election in 18 years while Hall has never won an election. In the 2011 race, he toyed with running, as did Paul B., yet neither generated much interest. Your belief that Hall would have done better based on her suggested weakness presupposes he wouldn’t melt down like he did in 2013 as well as you would have done something different yet you took no such action, and if you did in 2013, your influence could only work with what you had.

    Since winning the runoff in 1997, I don’t think Parker has ever scored less than 50k votes. In the general election, Hall would have also been running against all those other people too, a few perennial candidates like Wilson unlikely to lose many votes to Hall. I’m not belittling your belief, just curious why you feel so strongly that had he run, what you would have done differently to 1) get Hall into the runoff against all those who ran and 2) how he would have won against Parker in a runoff when his own campaigns have never netted him as many votes on his best day as Parker has on her worst day in nearly 20 years.

    Now if Hall magically wins tomorrow or even scores the runoff, so be it. Putting too much emphasis on polling is silly but claims that Parker was particularly vulnerable when so few people voted in a given year has the appearance of wishful thinking and rose colored glasses.

  16. Paul Kubosh says:

    You are mistaken on “neither generated much interest”. While I am not really sure who you are I do know who you are not. You were not in any of those meetings. People begged Ben Hall and Paul B. to run. They had a lot of interest in 2011. As far as Hall winning the election in 2011 welllll that is all academic now. I will leave you with this…..

    In my opinion………

    Parker was so beat up after the Red Light Camera election fiasco that she came within 1928 votes of being put into a run off with a bunch no names. If she was ever going to get beat it would have been that year.

    P.S. Even though her name wasn’t on the ballot she told Mike and I that she would beat us at the ballot box. She did not. She then got the election thrown out but we made her eat it and repeal the ordinance. I don’t think that had ever been done in Houston before. I will be so glad when she is gone.

    Don’t forget to vote.

  17. Steve Houston says:

    PK, fair enough but I suspect we differ in what we consider “much interest”. I’m not talking about a handful of kingmakers encouraging anyone at all to run for office, I’m talking about voters in general. Until elected county and state positions are covered by term limits, guys like Bettencourt are less likely to run for a limited city position when he can set his eyes on a bigger prize.

    And I agree with you in part on Parker’s vulnerability back in 2011 but given how poorly Hall did in 2013 and has done since then, there is just no reason to suggest he’d have been able to drag more people to the polls to vote for him. Then, in a runoff, her core supporters for years would likely have beaten whoever did make it there with her, neither Dave Wilson nor Jack O’Connor unknowns compared to the people that ran against her and Hall in 2013.

    But you get your wish in that she is soon gone for parts unknown. I’m not her big defender by any means and have beaten her up scores of times over what I consider foolish decisions or short range thinking but worst mayor, a great many would disagree with you (including me). I’m headed to vote now and honestly wish every single eligible voter cast votes regardless of the outcome.