Beaumonters haven’t heard the last in the fight for $3.2 million taken from BISD contract electrician Calvin Walker by the U.S. Department of Justice, money seized when Walker faced federal prosecution for submitting doctored invoices to the local school district for payment in 2012. Walker’s wife, Stacy, wants time to claim the money for herself and has been given until April 18 to find a new attorney since the couple’s attorney, Dick DeGuerin, recused himself from her case.
DeGuerin filed the initial request on Stacy Walker’s behalf, alleging the electrician’s wife “has a community interest in the annuities and has informed the court that she would not agree to judgment that would divest her of interest in the annuity.” DeGuerin submitted to the court that Stacy would need “at least two weeks” to find another lawyer to represent her in the ongoing court battle, as DeGuerin’s continued representation of Calvin Walker “presents an actual conflict of interest.”
Last week, the Walkers were in federal court seeking the release of interest collected on the forfeited funds, alleging that the Walkers had not released their rights to the money. Federal judge Keith Giblin ruled against the Walkers’ assertions, but did release $200,000 to the Walkers based on a prior agreement between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Calvin Walker made in 2012. Giblin also ruled that BISD had no standing to place a claim on the forfeited funds since BISD failed to acknowledge ownership of the money they were seeking.
BISD’s first play for the Walker money was initiated in September 2012, when attorneys for the district claimed “BISD assisted the U.S. Attorney’s Office to gather information, witnesses for prosecution of this matter. Beaumont ISD seeks to claim payment for attorney fees and costs associated with the intended prosecution of Calvin Walker.”
In an amended filing presented on behalf of BISD by attorney Melody Chappell, the district asserted, “Beaumont ISD has no evidence outside of what is being claimed by the United States to allege ownership in the funds currently seized from Calvin and Stacy Walker. The United States now insists that Beaumont ISD make statements to which it has no personal knowledge or that it believes to be against the evidence provided by its representatives at trial and to investigators for the United States.”
In January 2014, Chappell again amended BISD’s request for the money, adding, “BISD would show that it was an innocent owner … because it did not know of the crime giving rise to the forfeiture, and, therefore, its ownership interest in the property may not be forfeited.”
According to Judge Giblin, “BISD had plenty of chances to claim restitution in this case if they had felt that it was appropriate.”