Lampson, lawsuits, slaughterhouse

Nick Lampson

Nick Lampson’s stump speech highlights his accomplishments as a “successful public servant and businessman.” The fact check of his  résumé, however, reflects many things that differ from the impression of events that he boasts.

At a recent candidate forum, Lampson spoke of how he lowered costs after being elected the Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector in 1978. What he neglects to mention of the reality of the situation is how, under his leadership and control, the office failed on multiple occasions to provide an accurate tax roll for the county, affecting the financial reporting and responsibilities of the Jefferson County government and 14 other taxing entities that contracted with the office to manage their tax rolls, according to a court ruling that called Lampson’s “contemptuous and contumacious” failure to correct his “failure to perform ministerial duties” detrimental to the community.

The South Park Independent School District, and subsequently the Beaumont ISD, had to sue Lampson and his office for failing to do the job they were contracted to do. During the proceedings of that case, Jefferson County Auditor Jerry Ware, summoned to testify in the case styled South Park Independent School District v Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector Nicholas V. Lampson, showed Lampson’s office to be completely incapable of providing the most basic of its responsibilities in a timely manner. Among the tasks Ware testified to Lampson’s failure to perform was, “that the bank statements didn't reconcile, which was a serious problem within itself. The changes that were made to the values, the lack of internal controls, issuing unidentified, unnumbered receipts and temporary receipts.”

Ultimately Lampson was forced by court order to do his job. The court, in its findings, stated that Lampson’s failure to perform such non-discretionary “ministerial” duties as specifically described in the contract Lampson was bound to with Jefferson County’s tax entities constituted, in law, a refusal because of his “unreasonable delay. Also, the school district had suffered irreparable harm by such failure and refusal. Hence, any remedy other than mandamus could not redress this harm adequately and realistically.”

When a lower court ordered Lampson to provide the financial information needed, instead of getting the job done, Lampson appealed the decision to the Texas Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals concurred with the lower court in its ruling and admonished Lampson.

Lampson, on Monday, Oct. 15, at the Nederland Chamber candidate forum spoke of his current position as vice president of a healthcare company employing over 400 in Southeast Texas.

What Lampson omits in his stump speech is his recent partnership with current employer, Muhammad Tahir Javed, and their attempt to put a Halal slaughterhouse named Riceland Farms in Port Arthur, which, according to Lampson when asking for a tax abatement for the venture, said they would “process 10,000 goat and sheep and 800 cattle a week but there would be no smell to the neighbors.”

Lampson also failed to mention the controversial President of Riceland Healthcare’s stint on adjudicated felony probation for theft, and admonishments from the federal government for peddling carcinogens to minors.

According to public data that was not subject to expunction, Lampson’s employer, sometimes partner and longtime friend, “Tahir” Javed was sentenced to serve five years of deferred probation beginning in January 1992, while Lampson was Tax Assessor, for felony theft dating back to September 1990 when he was party to over $30,000 dollars in video cameras being stolen from Suburban TV and resold from Javed’s convenience store at 6590 College Street. Despite the five-year deferred adjudication order, Javed only served a little more than two years of the court-ordered supervised release.

Omitted as well from Lampson’s campaign slogans and rhetoric, but still available in the archive records of newspaper reports, Lampson’s wife alleged “unfair Republican attacks” as the reason his Jefferson County Home Healthcare business owed the federal government over $200,000 in Medicare-related fees for a business he operated while still serving as the county’s Tax Assessor-Collector. The couple reported in an interview with a Galveston newspaper at the time that they would have to find a buyer for the company to satisfy the debt, but officials argued that the incident was more likely Medicare fraud than simple omission. By the time an audit of Lampson’s company resulted in the government seeking monetary recovery, Lampson was sitting as a Congressman that voted on Medicare policy. 

Lampson had started the fledging business providing home health services in 1993 with a partner while still serving as the elected Tax Assessor-Collector for Jefferson County, using the Jefferson County name for the private enterprise. When he decided to run for Congress, all the paperwork was moved to report under his wife, Susan. Nick Lampson’s term as Jefferson County Tax Assessor-Collector ended in 1996 when he was elected to Congress.

The subsequent audit of Lampson’s business showed he owed Medicare $67,036 for the nine- month period ending March 31, 1997, and another $124,000 to $134,000 was owed from August 1995. 

While Nick Lampson touts his experience in private business and as a public servant as the reason Jefferson County voters should elect him Jefferson County Judge on Nov. 6, others disagree. Miriam Johnson, the person Lampson was told to hire to clean up the mess in the Jefferson County Tax Office, according to Commissioners Court records in 1984, and who served the county for over 25 years, 19 as Tax Assessor-Collector, has endorsed Jeff Branick to  remain Jefferson County Judge.