Texans for Lawsuit Reform Roadshow

Jim Grace is out on the TLR PR tour. I have now heard Grace speak twice about his lobby client, TLR. On Tuesday, this roadshow had a scheduled stop at the establishment Greater Houston Pachyderm club. A few weeks ago, Grace’s roadshow stopped at an SD 17 Conservative Leaders meeting – a cooperative attempt with TLR to bolster the establishment, TLR-backed candidate, Mano DeAyala. Placing Perez between Mano DeAyala and Grace was designed to benefit DeAyala. TLR got to open and close. Make no mistake, DeAyala is a captured TLR candidate.

Grace emphasized that the business courts and Fifteenth Court of Appeals were necessary to circumvent the progressive Travis County judges. Remember that the alleged whistleblowers have sued the Attorney General’s Office in Travis County. Pay attention to where Grace states that TLR is focused solely on civil justice reform and not criminal courts. Yet, TLR has endorsed and given $15,000 a piece (so far) to the three Court of Criminal Appeals judges who have stripped the Attorney General of his ability to prosecute ballot fraud cases in the State of Texas.

This is from the SD 17 Conservative Leaders meeting:

My first question to Grace was about Denis Calabrese. Denis has long been the architect of TLR’s agenda and worked closely with Grace. Many grassroots conservatives may think of the Dicks (Weekley and Trabulsi) when it comes to TLR, but be assured that Denis has always been the architect behind the scenes at TLR. 

I asked Grace about Denis’s long history with TLR and his subsequent departure to the Arnold Foundation and imprisonment.

This is from the Greater Houston Pachyderm meeting:

Around 2010, Calabrese left TLR to lead the Arnold Foundation as its CEO, working directly with John and Laura Arnold. You may have read the Free Beacon’s recent article on John Arnold, the new Soros. Calabrese worked at the Arnold Foundation for a number of years. There, he worked with Lesley Briones (she was the general counsel). 

One day a few years ago, the FEDS showed up at the Arnold Foundation. They were investigating Calabrese. Eventually, Calabrese went to federal prison on a plea bargain – attempt to evade or defeat tax.

Immediately after the plea bargain was entered, the Arnolds sued Calabrese for fraud and obtained a default judgment. Interestingly, the Arnolds were represented by Murray Fogler, the lawyer who also represents Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez and argued for the release of Harris County Jail inmates. 

On January 31, 2020, a default judgment was entered against Calabrese for $8,572,377. Afterwards, on March 10, 2022, the Arnolds filed a Motion to Compel document production from TLR and Dick Weekley. By May 2, 2022, the judgment was “fully and completely satisfied by money payments to Plaintiff.” Who wants to be a millionaire?

Let’s quickly recap those facts:

July 19, 2019Calabrese pleads guilty to attempted tax evasion
January 31, 2020Default judgment entered against Calabrese for $8,572,377 
March 10, 2022Arnolds seek to compel document production from TLR and Weekley
May 2, 2022Judgment “fully and completely satisfied by money payments” to the Arnolds

Who is Denis Calabrese to Dick Weekley and TLR? Well, it is not an understatement to say that Weekley relies on Calabrese for everything – he is Weekley’s fixer, consigliere. Calabrese is all things messaging – for TLR, TLR endorsed candidates, and all TLR related entities/organizations. When Calabrese went to the Arnold Foundation, his job was to spread some of that TLR magic and create a similar advocacy organization for positions that were important to the Arnolds – like bail reform. 

The Arnolds have extended their tentacles throughout government for all types of progressive issues. Many of the people you see in county government today are connected to the Arnolds. And many of the problems that you see around town are connected to the Arnolds. Like, for example, the decriminalization of most misdemeanors and some felonies. And, treating the criminal justice system like the social work system. All of these ideas set off a major violent crime spree in Harris County. 

What is TLR? This organization has been in operation since 1994. The stated purpose: “to keep litigation in its traditional and appropriate role in society.” Basically, TLR spends an absolute fortune on electing favorable candidates and calls in those favors, as needed. TLR presents itself as a pro-business, chamber of commerce type organization and takes money from many unsuspecting businesspeople. 

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.

During the impeachment farce, many of us we very concerned about what would happen in the Senate. Why, you ask? Elizabeth Blakemore, wife of Allen Blakemore, consultant to many senators including Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, is a fundraising consultant for TLR. 

Grace focused on TLR’s legislative success. Imagine that – give thousands upon thousands of dollars to legislators and they pass your bills. Of importance to TLR this past session were House Bill 19 (creation of specialty business courts with judges appointed by the governor) carried by Andrew Murr and Senate Bill 1045(creation of a statewide court of appeals called the Fifteenth Court of Appeals) carried by Joan Huffman. 

I took the chance to ask Grace about these bills, their bill authors, and their history. Remember, Senate Bill 1045 was sent to the governor on May 23, 2023 and House Bill 19 was sent to the governor on May 30, 2023 – three days after the fraudulent impeachment. I asked Grace about the “coincidence” that Murr carried the mantle on TLR’s bills and on the impeachment of Ken Paxton (after TLR spent millions of dollars against him). Remember: Jeff Mateer, one of the so-called whistleblowers, admitted that he was in contact with Richard Trabulsi of TLR when he resigned.

Grace emphatically claimed that TLR did not have anything to do with the impeachment hoax. Sure. 

There were several Republican judicial candidates in attendance – all endorsed by TLR. Always interested to see how much these judges actually know. I was entertained. If you are not asking questions of people that have at least half the audience staring at their shoes, why ask? 

This is a lot to soak in. I have been following this saga since 2016 when the ODonnell bail bond litigation was originally filed in Harris County. The Arnolds matched $10 million given by the Zuckerbergs to start this effort. The litigation that followed set off a crime bomb in Houston, the likes of which we’ve never seen. All Harris County residents have been impacted by this effort that seemingly was guided by the guy who started TLR. The attacks against Paxton have TLR’s fingerprints all over them. It had always been a wonder why Denis went to work for TLR after he left federal prison. Our state house has continued to undermine all efforts to undo the damage caused by the bail bond litigation. Many of the candidates supported by TLR have attacked General Paxton, who has worked to save Harris County from the ODonnell bail bond litigation and Rodney’s Consent Decree. It is no coincidence that, when Denis Calabrese was asked under oath in a deposition about how he met the Arnolds, his answer was Dick Weekley.

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